This article on crowdsourcing was first published on June 1, 2019 on LinkedIn by the author Hani Diya, co-founder and CEO at CYVYS – a Berytech Community member.
Inspired by Amazon
Back in 2011, seeing someone playing solitaire made me wonder if that person knew about Mechanical Turk, a service by Amazon allowing anyone to generate a small income by doing short tasks that machines are lousy at. I have been taken since then by the rise of crowdsourcing, the act of taking a job traditionally performed by an employee to an undefined large group of people in the form of an open call.
Amazon’s service in particular, as well as the story behind its name, has been very inspiring. It’s named after a machine built in the late 1760s that was capable of beating a human at chess. The machine called the Turk, and after years of touring the world beating luminaries, turned out to be a hoax as it was powered by human intelligence: a chess master perfectly hiding and deciding all the chess moves. Amazon’s Mturk service does the same, allowing computer code to tap into the minds of humans and solve challenging tasks such as identifying items in pictures, writing short product descriptions, transcribing audio files, and many other tasks where human accuracy and competency outperform artificial intelligence, earning the service another acronym: AAI, or Artificial Artificial Intelligence.
Alleviating Unemployment Rates
Back then and more critically now, our Middle East region has been suffering from high unemployment rates with thousands of university graduates struggling to get jobs and make a living. I saw crowdsourcing as a way to alleviate the burden and wrote a passionate blog calling for governments and NGOs to shift some energy and funds towards building nationwide crowdsourcing platforms for multiple industries since the job creation initiatives aren’t enough. The blog went unnoticed as I haven’t managed to attract the right attention. If you’re intrigued, check it out here: http://hanid.blogspot.com/
Birth of a Crowdsourcing Platform
I finally decided to light a candle and stop cursing the darkness. Along with a like-minded team, we built a crowdsourcing platform that can tap into the minds of the top ethical hackers in the Middle East and help secure the region’s digital infrastructure. Making a social impact while helping secure the cyber world is the main reason why CYVYS exists today.
With every bug we’re discovering, a company is getting more secure and an educated individual in our region is getting a better life. That’s how we feel today as we start issuing payments to those who contributed to making safer cyberspace.
About the author
Hani Diya is the co-founder and CEO of CYVYS, a cybersecurity company based in Lebanon that launched the first crowdsourcing platform for penetration testing in the Middle East.
He previously worked for Cisco, SAP and other IT service providers in the region for more than twenty years, helping customers address their top challenges using information technology.
CYVYS is the intersection of his main passions: solving big challenges using innovative technology solutions, and crowdsourcing as a mean to alleviate unemployment challenges in the Middle East.
Hani holds a B.E. in Computer and Communication Engineering from the American University of Beirut. He is also a regular speaker at cybersecurity events and is recognized as an inspiring thought leader in the field.