Tag Archives: Amazon Mechanical Turk


Distributed work and data security: can the crowd keep a secret?

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

… any confidential information stays on the QT?

Crowd control

Six years after the launch of Mechanical Turk, crowd labor platforms have become pretty good at extracting high-quality, consistent results from workers. But in some ways, confidentiality is even more crucial than accuracy. A bad data set and you’ll probably have to rerun some tasks. Bad data security and you might end up several million dollars worse off (as Google Buzz recently learnt the hard way).

Many of the basic …

Tags: Amazon Mechanical Turk CastingWords crowd Crowdflower crowdsourcing distributed work Julian Assange microtask microwork Scott McNealy Sun Microsystems Wikileaks

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Can you crowdsource Christmas?

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

… If you blow your budget on T-shirts don’t worry, crowdsourcing can help out here too: Mechanical Turk offers payment in Amazon vouchers, which (seamless bit of linking) gives me the chance to recommend some of this year’s top crowdsourcing books.

Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirkey is a great book on the creative potential of human-computer interaction. In these heady days of Wikileaks, it’s easy to forget the wiki that started it all: Good Faith Collaboration is a …

Tags: Amazon Mechanical Turk Christmas crowd crowdsourcing crowdsourcing platform distributed work Holidays Kickstarter Opinions Peperami Simon Cowell

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Crowd Labs Incorporated

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

… like the prisoner’s dilemma and the Asian disease problem have already been tried out using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

One ingenious Harvard PhD candidate – John Horton – also used Mechanical Turk for several “field tests”, where workers undertook tasks without knowing they were in an experiment. So while people thought they were merely tagging a few photos, they had, in fact, unwittingly contributed to a paper on worker productivity. (For now we’re ignoring the obvious …

Tags: Amazon Mechanical Turk crowd Crowdflower crowdsourcing crowdsourcing platform distributed work experiments iPhone John Horton Psychology Social sciences workers

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See hear: crowdsourced subtitles for everyday life

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

… available at certain times. The Rochester research team, led by Walter Lasecki, instead rely on Mechanical Turk users to provide live translation for a fraction of the cost, day or night.

As well as helping deaf people navigate the noisy world, this crowdsourced transcription system is perfect for travelers who don’t speak the local language. The researchers plan to launch a smartphone app called Legion:Scribe this October, which will help you pay too much for souvenirs in almost any …

Tags: Amazon Mechanical Turk George Lucas Mechanical Turk Scribe Star Trek subtitles Universal Translator University of Rochester

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Crowdsourcing global development: working theories

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

… relationship with the developing world.

Take the much quoted statistic that 33% of workers on Mechanical Turk are located in India. It sounds impressive, right? Thousands of people in a developing country using Mechanical Turk to earn some much needed extra rupees. But according to a recent study by Microsoft Research India, the vast majority of Indian Turkers are college graduates with above-average household incomes. In other words, mainly middle class kids.

We like to think of paid …

Tags: Amazon Mechanical Turk crowd crowdsourcing India Madonna mechanicalturk microwork O'Reilly Radar Social sciences Spam

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