Human Based Computation Games

This interesting set of games are called human-based computation games or games with a purpose (GWAP)1. There are good examples to be found on Wikipedia.

Another way to think about these games is crowdsourcing, e.g. crowdsourcing biochemistry. Another take that emphasises the serious end point of having fun is the notion of games for good.

The key is finding roles for humans that at the moment machines are not that good at. So you end up with a complementary role for player and machine to produce an outcome that neither could achieve on their own. Some examples:

foldit a game of collaborative science. This game challenges players to use their human intuition of 3-dimensional space to help with protein folding algorithms. The Wikipedia entry above gives a good account of the major games.

Others include: EteRNA; Phylo; Phrase Detectives; OnToGalaxy; EyeWire; Artigo.

Adrien Treuille is an important figure here.