Undoubtedly, the most outstanding achievement of the Internet is access to vast amounts of a wide variety of information. Today, in order to make a scientific discovery, it is not at all necessary to sit in an advanced laboratory or pore over books in a library: the Internet and the computer have made science available to every PC user. Thanks to this, a new profession was born - “civil scientist”.
For example, a mechanic from Australia, Andrew Gray, managed to discover an entire star system after analyzing data obtained from the Kepler space telescope. Gray is one of millions of "citizen scientists", an ordinary person with a genuine interest in science. Already now, "civic" scientific projects are helping professional scientists to significantly expand the boundaries of human knowledge.
For example, the Zoonvers platform, developed at the University of Oxford, allows almost any Internet user to participate in scientific research from the comfort of their home. Zoonvers is running the Milky Way Project with thousands of volunteers helping scientists classify images from space.
In particular, they were entrusted with the study of infrared images from the Spitzer space telescope and images obtained by satellite observatories. As a result, the volunteers helped astronomers discover the "yellow balls" - a special class of space objects that is a transitional link from the embryos of stars to newborn stars.
A snapshot of yellow balls from the Spitzer telescope
Civilian scientists can work in almost any field of science, for example, organizing pictures or graphs, after having received a short lesson from professionals. As practice has shown, it is much easier to train an interested person than a computer, even with the most advanced machine learning programs.