The Open Mind Initiative:
Large-scale knowledge acquisition from non-experts via the web

David Stork, Ricoh Innovations and the Open Mind Initiative

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University January 16, 2004

The Open Mind Initiative is a web-based collaborative framework for collecting large knowledge bases from non-expert contributors. Such knowledge bases are vital for a wide range of 'intelligent' software such as speech and handwriting recognizers, commonsense reasoners, and natural language understanding systems. This talk begins by examining several important trends that underly Open Mind:

Next we contrast the Open Mind approach with traditional data mining, and then describe ongoing projects collecting common sense, natural language and handwriting recognition knowledge bases. Our largest project, Open Mind common sense, has collected over a million simple assertions from over tens of thousands of non-expert contributors.

Important considerations are speeding the collection of data (by interactive learning techniques and motivating contributors) and ensuring data quality (by identifying and filtering unreliable or even 'hostile' contributions). We discuss the importance of the human-machine interface as well as the role of game interfaces.

The talk concludes with a vision of future directions and opportunities.

David G. Stork is Chief Scientist of Ricoh Innovations as well as Consulting Professor of Electrical Engineering and Visiting Lecturer in Art and Art History at Stanford University. His primary interests lie in pattern recognition, machine learning, neural networks and novel uses of the internet; he is the creator and leader of the Open Mind Initiative. He sits on the editorial boards of four international journals and his five books include HAL's Legacy: 2001's computer as dream and reality (MIT Press) for general audiences and the second edition of Pattern Classification with R. Duda and P. Hart (Wiley).


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