As published today by the magazineNature, the results obtained so far show that the collective intelligence of a group of people playing online can surpass supercomputers when it comes to solving problems that require risk and long-term vision.
The operation ofFolditIt is relatively simple: each player puts their computer at the disposal of scientists (distributed computing) to calculate how a three-dimensional protein folds, one of the great current headaches for biologists. In the game, the participantscollaborate and develop strategies while manipulating simplified proteins like a puzzle.
The biggest challenge, according to Seth Cooper, one of its creators, was making the game fun while producing interesting scientific results. But the more than 50,000 players, of all ages and corners of the world, who have already triedFoldit they show that this balance has been achieved. “We take the ‘effort’ that people put into games and turn it into something productive and useful for humanity,combining the power of computers and the power of the human brain“Explains Cooper.? Is it possible that these players will one day design proteins to fight cancer, block the flu virus, or end the AIDS virus for good,” the authors venture.