Mturk - Mechanical Turk


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Turker Nation - Mechanical Turk

Recently, a newsgroup for Mechanical Turk was released. Here you can post questions and get answers about other users' trials and tribulations with the new software.

Couple things to note:
How To Get Your Money

Interesting MTurk Photos and Screenshots

Check it out.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Call for Killer-Apps

I was just trying to think about all of the different uses for a Mechanical Turk program. Let me know if you can think of some more. I would like to compile the most complete list of mturkish applications...here's some to get you started:

Currently Available-ish:

  • Obviously, Image Adjustment Programs - users choose the best image to fit a business or address. = $.03

  • Automotive Title Enhancers - users modify automotive titles and information to make it more consumer-friendly; Adwords Gurus come hither! = $.40


Coming Soon?:

  • Copy-editing - once you have some high-ranking workers, allow them to edit school papers, newspapers, blogs, what-have-you...

  • Research Papers - I'm not talking about writing them (albeit that could work too). I'm talking about "you give me a topic, I'll give references on where to find the information"...Wikipedia or Google Scholar. It's amazes me how many people do not use these sites.

  • Anything AI-related: again grammar, translations, hell...even joke-writing. I'll give you a joke for $0.10 :)


This is obviously a very truncated list, but it's bedtime, so I'll add some more tomorrow. Let me know your thoughts!

And...Here Come the Scripts!

Obviously, anyone who has tried out Amazon.com's Mechanical Turk has seen a few things they dislike about the program. However, now is the time when the real program comes together. User-defined scripts, such as the Greasemonkey Quicker Image Adjustment script that allows users to move through HITs more easily. I have already seen posts from the developers of Mechanical Turk stating they will probably integrate some of these technologies into their page. This could significantly increase the user response times and what does that mean...more money! Check it out for yourself.

Here Come the Critics

Greg Yardley has some nice commentary under Mechanical Turk = Genius where he gives his opinion concerning the new Mechanical Turk technology. Check it out.

Artificial Artificial Intelligence (AAI)

There is a History of Mechanical Turk for those of you who would like a little information about where this strange name came from.

In 1769, Hungarian nobleman Wolfgang von Kempelen astonished Europe by building a mechanical chess-playing automaton that defeated nearly every opponent it faced. A life-sized wooden mannequin, adorned with a fur-trimmed robe and a turban, Kempelen's "Turk" was seated behind a cabinet and toured Europe confounding such brilliant challengers as Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte. To persuade skeptical audiences, Kempelen would slide open the cabinet's doors to reveal the intricate set of gears, cogs and springs that powered his invention. He convinced them that he had built a machine that made decisions using artificial intelligence. What they did not know was the secret behind the mechanical Turk: a chess master cleverly concealed inside.

For more information, check out The Turk on Wikipedia.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Mechanical Turk Released!

Amazon.com recently released the Mechanical Turk, a new web service for computers to interact with humans. This ingenious idea sets the stage for a slew of programs to micro-outsource tasks to anyone anywhere. This blog will follow the Mechanical Turk as it develops and hopefully we'll see some nice spin-offs as well. We will follow news, feature enhancements, possible killer-apps, and of course, the new economy this will create :).