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PulaCloud: Using human computation to create income for poor and solve problems for rich

KenyaUnited States
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Scaling strategies launched within the past 6 months:
Franchising, Licensing, Accreditation
Large Scale Partnerships
Open Sourcing
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Globally, brains are wasted as the poor are not linked to the information economy. Simultaneously, the cost of human computation is prohibitively high in developed countries. PulaCloud links the untapped human computation capacity of the developing world with wicked problems in the developed world

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could harness the untapped global brainpower and make it accessible on your mobile device for pennies?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

We need a Henry Ford type innovation in the field of human computation. One-off, stand-alone examples of successful applications are abundant. But noone has stepped forward to create the 'industrial assembly line' of interchangeable parts in the field of human computation. What Henry Ford did for manufacturing - we need to do for the information economy. Untapped human computation is a immense source of potential wealth for local communities.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We need the 'assembly line' for human computation. For manufacturing, we know what can be done with a planer, a lathe, RFID tags, etc. For human computation, we lack 'unit operations' and we lack 'rules for assembly'. Other areas that are lacking include QA/QC. And we lack a user-friendly interface where those with money and problems well suited to human computation solutions can 'input' their requests to the global brain.


Invited for presentation at the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative on Art, Science, Engineering, and Medicine Frontier
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

A researcher at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center wanted to create a curated database of biochemical pathways constructed from images contained in the peer-reviewed, archival literature. As a first step in the process of dbase creation, a team of rural villagers were recruited from an existing collaborative study site in Western Kenya. Using netbooks powered by a solar panel and 2G cellular data streaming, the villagers earned approximately $10,000 while screening approximately 100,000 published images. The US-based researcher considered the project a tremendous success as the fidelity of screened images was above 95%. The villagers used more than half of the earnings to pay for additional schooling. Truly win-win project.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Researchers in developed countries need a platform where they can submit their requests - most researchers don't even consider how to use human computation to complete complex tasks. The success of PulaCloud will open up access to a previously untapped, bountiful resource of global human computation. The poor in developing countries need employment, and the information economy offers one potential avenue to link the brains and innovation of the poor and the success of the rich. PulaCloud is a win-win project for humanity.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We need to find the right team members to create: 1) the interchangeable parts of the human computation assembly line; 2) to share with researchers in developed countries 'what' can be done with massive human computation; and 3) to create a user interface for rich people to access the global human brain for pennies.
Funding: How is your project financially supported?: 
bequests - 50%
grants or contracts - 50%

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

PulaCloud will work best as a company. We need to drive this forward in the for-profit sector.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

A number of small-scale startup efforts are considering this space. But none have created a successful model - yet.

Founding Story

See the YouTube video.


See the YouTube video.