After re-purposing CAPTCHA so each human-typed response helps digitize books, Luis von Ahn wondered how else to use small contributions by many on the Internet for greater good. In this talk, he shares how his ambitious new project, Duolingo, will help millions learn a new language while translating the Web quickly and accurately — all for free.


Luis von Ahn builds systems that combine humans and computers to solve large-scale problems that neither can solve alone.

Why you should listen

Louis von Ahn is an associate professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, and he’s at the forefront of the crowdsourcing craze. His work takes advantage of the evergrowing Web-connected population to acheive collaboration in unprecedented numbers. His projects aim to leverage the crowd for human good. His company reCAPTCHA, sold to Google in 2009, digitizes human knowledge (books), one word at a time. His new project is Duolingo, which aims to get 100 million people translating the Web in every major language.