The MIT Media Lab online application Place Pulse (presented at Ars Electronica 2011) aims to make quantitative estimates of fuzzy qualities by crowdsourcing binary choices from the public: if you visit pulse.media.mit.edu, you are shown two photos and asked to select the one referring to the “hotter” (safer, healthier, wealthier etc.) place. This way, MIT researchers hope to detect hidden patterns behind the actual state of cities and our perception of it. For example, based on the 430,000 votes received in a few weeks, the top 10 safer images refer all to Austrian cities, and the bottom 10 refer to Boston and New York. This and much more is explained in a very good post on FastCo.Design blog by Susan Labarre. Nice reading.

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