We envision this resource as Project Houston, a mixed computer/human-computation service for distressed people. Overwhelming situations cause enormous societal and economic costs: violence, suicide attempts, hunger, lack of transport, homelessness, failure to access care, and job loss. When unaddressed, these problems tend to intensify, piling misery upon misery. They especially touch those least equipped to solve their problems including: the elderly infirm, people with mental illnesses, the isolated, ex-prisoners and youth. Individuals do not always have the appropriate expertise to address these problems but could benefit from access to the expertise of others.Es handelt sich bei dieser Idee nicht um einen Witz oder, falls doch, um einen wirklich aufwändig inszenierten Witz (PDF).
Project Houston would address these issues by using state of the art sensing, speech analysis, and natural language understanding to detect distress and offer help. Once help is requested, it would provide triage and first-level care using crowd-sourced, computer supported composite personalities, bringing together the various traits needed to support the person. By semi-automatically assembling dynamic teams of volunteers, along with low and high level specialists, Project Houston could provide immediate 24-hour assistance. With computer-supported persistent memory and response integration enhanced by continuous machine learning, Project Houston could provide a consistently kind and patient personality even if the “crowd” changes completely over time in response to an escalating problem until the problem is resolved – just like mission control.