Wednesday, April 04, 2012

It Recurs to Me...

I'm posting the below content because I'm about to use the Amazon MTurk marketplace to edit my article about...the Amazon MTurk marketplace. It occurs to me that one could actually write a computer program that used the MTurk API and a series of HITs to create content about anything. It would be fun to have a program that wrote a blog. I might do that after tax season. :) Anyway - here is my content:

When Amazon launched its crowd sourcing service in late 2005 it chose the name “Mechanical Turk” (a.k.a. MTurk) because like von Kempelen it uses humans to do what machines cannot. When we talk about human–computer interaction (HCI) we usually think of the computer as the “tool”. But in the world of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, the human is the tool being used by the computer application.

The service has two types of customers: “requestors” and “workers”. Requestors are people or programs that want to pay for work; workers are people who are willing to work for pay. Requestors create HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks) by using either the web interface or developer tools (API and command line tools) and specifying a title, description, required completion time, reward, and results type. Requestors can optionally require that workers “qualify” by completing boilerplate or customized certification tasks before becoming eligible to work on HITs – this is useful for highly skilled tasks and to filter out weak performers. For example a qualification task could require workers to correctly identify differences in pictures or demonstrate proficiency in written English.

Once created, HITs are published to the Amazon marketplace, where “workers” can browse and accept them, perform the work and submit their results. The requestor then reviews the results, approving or rejecting each completed HIT. Requestors only pay for approved submissions and Amazon takes a 10% additional commission on completed transactions.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I just finished a 5 pager on off-shoring versus on-shoring outsourced IT services. Even though I wrote it, I don't own the rights to it...but you can check it out here and tell me what you think. I have an Excel-based decision making tool linked in the original as well. Comments and feedback are appreciated!