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Duolingo and the Power of Human Computation

Luis von Ahn wants to translate the web — all of it. To call him ambitious is an understatement. In a TED Talk that was originally uploaded to YouTube in April 2011, von Ahn introduced Duolingo, a crowdsourced translation project, and boldly proclaimed that with one million users, the site could help to convert the entirety of Wikipedia into Spanish in 80 hours. Free of charge. Even with a slightly more modest prediction of 100,000 users, the task would be completed within five weeks. What von Ahn, an entrepreneur and computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was proposing, and what Duolingo is now beginning to offer in a private beta, is a crowdsourced translation service that provides every volunteer with a service of their own. What he envisions is a tool that will not just revolutionize the Internet, but education itself.

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Alistair MackayDec 19, 2011 03:39 pm GMT11262 views