Crowdsourcing and the Sharing Economy

If you are still uninformed (or unconvinced) of the power of crowdsourcing, let me tell you about a vastly important frontier recently opened to mobile phone gamers: cancer research.

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According to Kadhim Shubber of Wired.co.uk, the smartphone game “GeneGame” is revolutionizing the analysis of genetic data for cancer research. Scientists have compiled decades of data for cancer research, but it’s taking far too long for scientists to get through it all.

Hidden in that data, some of which originates from studies carried out in the 1970s, could be information that points researchers towards new treatments for cancer.

The solution? Make the images part of a game, and let the players pick out anomalies and classify tumors. The crazy part is that it works. The game cut down the time it was taking scientists to analyze the images from eighteen months to three months.

Once known primarily for its marketing virtues (think Coca-Cola and Verizon commercials,) the world’s economy is turning to crowdsourcing for much more than just marketing. Individuals are turning to the internet to participate in what is called a “sharing economy.”

For example, instead of using big corporations to find a vacation home for rent, travelers can rent a private abode through sites like Airbnb. You can rent private cars through RelayRides and even sign up to run errands for your neighbor at TaskRabbit. The world is full of apartments, cars, and able-bodied people. Crowdsourcing and the sharing economy lets anybody turn their property or abilities into an income source.

Ghost blogging sites like Verblio (formerly BlogMutt) participate in the crowdsourcing model as well, tapping the resource of internet-surfing freelance writers to provide regularly updating website content for small businesses. So far, we know that crowdsourcing works for internet marketing, personalized and less expensive vacation experiences, and running local errands. Now, with cutting-edge science thrown in the mix, who knows what is next?

There are millions of business owners, writers, and citizen scientists in the world ready to contribute to tasks both big and small. Crowdsourcing is an economic and cultural revolution.

Editor’s Note: One of the coolest things about getting your blogs written for you is learning new things. I’m the CEO of a crowdsourcing company, so it’s not a stretch to say I know more about crowdsourcing than most people. Well, I had never heard of this effort to cure cancer with crowdsourcing. I loved getting this post. If you’d like to have that kind of treat in your inbox once per week for only $89 per month, give us a try. (For an explanation of this series of posts, please see here.) – Scott

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