MIT Professor Madnick has unvailed an experiment in time-critical social mobilization. The experiement is in the form of a competition, offering money to the team which first finds 5 missing knights, 3 of whom are real people, 2 of whom are computer simulated. The experiement is designed to study the dynamics of the growth of social networking. Prof Madnick hopes that his work will result in practical applications of social mobilization that can be used by police and families using networks to find missing persons.
If you want to play the game and participate in the experiment, click here for more information.
One variable that concerns me regarding the usefulness of this experiment is that it is an incentive based game. The team that finds the missing knights first will get a monetary reward. I am not sure the emotional motivations behind competition/winning would translate for use in an actual search for a missing person, which is based on very different emotions and motivations.
What do you think?