From captchas, to labeling images, to providing basic facts, humans are helping computers to help humans...and some are having fun while doing it.
Image recognition is an easy task for people, but something computers are not yet good at.
Here is an approach to help computers get better at it, help the visually impaired understand what is in the images on a web page, and help search engines serve better image search results. You make fun games out of it, so it doesn't seem like work.
Games with a purpose...a great concept, and one that could be quite profitable if you can design a game that will solve some sort of problem that a computer can't solve on its own, yet. Depending on the problem you are solving, the data you acquire from the players of the game could be worth more than any ads you could possibly place on your site.
The following video presents the concepts behind some of these games.
Play time: 51 min, 31 sec
Luis von Ahn is an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also received his Ph.D. in 2005. Previously, Luis obtained a B.S. in mathematics from Duke University in 2000. He is the recipient of a Microsoft Research Fellowship.
Play the games:
And for a more interesting challenge, try 3form Free Knowledge Exchange and see if you can help provide solutions and answers to some of life's challenging problems and questions...or maybe get a solution to a problem or question you have. (warning: 3form is quite addictive!)
I, personally, find it more enjoyable and thought provoking than Yahoo Answers, and it provides much better answers to your questions.