When people need help with day-to-day tasks they turn to family, friends or neighbours to help them out. Finding someone to help out can be a stressful waste of time. Despite an increasingly networked world, technology falls short in supporting such daily irritations. uHelp provides a platform for building a community of helpful people and supports them in finding help for day-to-day tasks.
We present uHelp, a platform for building a community of helpful people and supporting community members find the appropriate help within their social network. Lately, applications that focus on finding volunteers have started to appear, such as Helpin or Facebook's Community Help. However, what distinguishes uHelp from existing applications is its trust-based intelligent search for volunteers. Although trust is crucial to these innovative social applications, none of them have seriously achieved yet a trust-building solution such as that of uHelp. uHelp's intelligent search for volunteers is based on a number of AI technologies: (1) a novel trust-based flooding algorithm that navigates one's social network looking for appropriate trustworthy volunteers; (2) a novel trust model that maintains the trustworthiness of peers by learning from their similar past experiences; and (3) a semantic similarity model that assesses the similarity of experiences.
uHelp has been designed for the more sensitive and urgent tasks, where one might not be interested in broadcasting a request, nor will it have the time to handpick its trusted friends for a given sensitive request, such as finding a volunteer to picking up one's child from school in half an hour. Instead, the user will simply state its request, specify the rules of who can be trusted for this specific request, and press the help button. Searching for trusted potential volunteers then relies on one's social network, constructed from people's contact lists.