Can gamification be harnessed to serve the greater good, such as solving scientific problems? In 2011, the team behind Foldit - a crowd-work game developed at the University of Washington - made headlines for unlocking the secrets of a key protein in the fight against HIV. What had stumped scientists for 15 years was solved in 10 days by 40,000 people playing a game online. In this talk, Seth Cooper, Creative Director of Foldit, discusses the use of games as an architecture to put the combined power of humans and computers toward solving problems that neither could solve alone. Seth will provide both an analysis of the success (and early missteps) of Foldit, as well as a view of a future in which humans and machines, working together through gamification, will change the economics and outcomes for business, science, government and society."
Seth Cooper is the creative director of the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington. He received his PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Washington, advised by Zoran Popović. His current research focuses on using video games to solve difficult scientific problems. He is the co-creator and lead designer and developer of Foldit. He has also done research in real-time animation for games, often in the mocap lab. He has previously worked at Square Enix, Electronic Arts, Pixar Animation Studios and the UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory (on BOINC).
Seth Cooper, Creative Director of the protein folding game Foldit, explains that humans outperform computers in some pattern recognition tasks, which has helped scientists researching proteins involved in AIDS in monkeys.