Play games, save lives

Guest blogger Christopher Gayle writes about how BALANCED Media | Technology is making that possible

By Christopher A. Gayle, MD

What if each time you or your kids played a video game, you were helping find treatments for drug-resistant cancer or helping diagnose and treat the leading cause of blindness? What if networking individual computers resulted in lower cost and shortened development cycles in the discovery of new treatments for illness such as Covid-19? What if while watching a documentary about climate change, you could contribute to actual climate research, or help detect and prevent coastal erosion? What if by playing a video game you could learn about the workings of the human body to fight illness while actually fighting illness?

And, what if you could do all of this without being an expert in or having knowledge about any of it?  At BALANCED Media | Technology, where we bring purpose to play, we have turned those “what-ifs” into “done that.”

In the world today, there are 2.6 billion gamers who spend more than 1 billion hours a day gaming online. Linking games with real-world data and problems taps into the tremendous resource of gamers’ intuition and their computers’ power, turning hours of idle entertainment into hours of purposeful play. BALANCED does this through crowdsourcing and human computational gaming (HCG) using its HEWMEN® platform to facilitate the processing of data and training of artificial intelligence (AI).

From the early 20th century, researchers in the field of collective intelligence have shown that groups can outperform individuals when making decisions and predictions. Crowdsourcing involves participants taking an active role in performing tasks or lending computer power for long-running computations. Citizen science projects employ crowdsourcing wherein members of the public contribute to research despite not being formally trained experts in the area of study. BALANCED draws upon gamers for its crowdsourcing projects as this community tends to be socially minded and is geared to problem solving. Gaming by its very nature keeps players engaged, thereby providing long-term and enthusiastic participation.

Computers perform certain tasks, such has high-level computation, much more efficiently than do humans. Humans perform certain tasks, such as pattern recognition, much more efficiently than do computers. HEWMEN seamlessly integrates the strengths of humans with the strengths of computers. HEWMEN’s ability to embed real data into the gameplay loop of any game and marry that data to AI algorithms, allows players of the game to train and improve the algorithm by just playing the game. The gamers do not even perceive their contribution to science and discovery. Here are just a few examples:

 

  • The 8 CELL: An “in-development” interactive video game set within the human body where players are immersed in exploration and discovery. While battling cancer in the game, players are actually sorting medications that show promise in the treatment of real resistant, recurrent cancer.
  • Eye in the Sky Defender: Built around retinal scans, this game and HEWMEN combine HCG with distributed computing to facilitate human guided AI to improve an automated algorithm used to diagnose and track treatment effectiveness of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the world.
  • Omega Cluster and Rocks and Runes: These games help improve a machine-learning AI used in actual research to find new medicines faster in the fight against cancer.
  • HEWMEN Cell: This app, though not a game, allows users to donate idle computing power of their devices to run digital experiments to find medications effective in the treatment of Covid-19.

 

What if we lived in a world in which every moment spent gaming unlocked solutions to real-world problems? We do – BALANCED Media | Technology.

Christopher A. Gayle, MD is co-founder, senior vice president, and chief medical officer of BALANCED Media | Technology. He is a board-certified physician, respected educator, and author.

Christopher A. Gayle, MD