How humans & machines can team up to solve big problems

Sean Gourley of Quid at Structure:Data 2012

(c) 2012 Pinar Ozger. [email protected]

In the same way a microscope helps augment the innate ability of the human eye, Quid is trying to create tools to augment how we as humans process unstructured data and visualize it, said Sean Gourley, co-founder and CTO of Quid, on stage at Structure:Data 2012 Wednesday.
“We still don’t have a tool to see the very, very complex,” Gourley said. An example of this complex problem, he said, is understanding gigantic global conflicts like the situation in Afghanistan.” For that, he said, “we need a ‘macroscope’,” a term he defines as a combination of ┬ábig data and algorithms as well as the ability to create visualizations of that data.
The visualizations are key — they are the part necessary in order for humans to be able to process the information. “Ultimately, a human has to be in the loop for the most difficult problems” to be solved, he said.
Continuing his Afghanistan example, he demonstrated how Quid can help people process unstructured data from news sources through visualizations that show how the data is connected and who is talking about what.
It’s this combination of humans with machines that can actually make a difference in solving problems, Gourley argued.
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