ESP game

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The ESP Game is an idea in computer science for addressing the problem of creating difficult metadata.The idea behind the game is to use the computational power of humans to perform a task that computers cannot yet do (originally, image recognition) by packaging the task as a game.It was originally conceived by Luis von Ahn of Carnegie Mellon University. Google bought a licence to create its own version of the game in 2006 in order to return better search results for its online images. The licence of the data acquired by Ahn's ESP Game, or the Google version, is not clear.


Image recognition is currently (as of 2009) a task that computers are almost incapable of. Humans are perfectly capable of it, but not necessarily willing.

The applications and uses of having so many labeled images are significant; for example, more accurate image searching and accessibility for visually impaired users (by reading out an image's labels).

The idea of partnering two people to label images ensures that entered words will be accurate. Since the only thing the two partners have in common is that they both see the same image, they must enter reasonable labels to have any chance of agreeing on one.

The ESP Game as it is currently implemented encourages players to assign “obvious” labels, which are most likely to lead to an agreement with the partner. But these labels can often be deduced from the labels already present using an appropriate language model and such...
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