Sunday, March 25, 2007

Amazon's Mechanical Turk (a.k.a. "Artificial Artificial Intelligence")

The New York Times reports today (in an article titled "Artificial Intelligence, with Help from the Humans") that CEO Jeff Bezos has created a service dubbed the "Mechanical Turk," in which humans are given lowest-bidder pay for solving problems that computers find too difficult. The Turk, as well documented by Tom Standage, was the famous 18th and 19th Century mechanical chessplayer that actually hid a human operator inside (laboring under very difficult conditions, in a cramped space with no bathroom). Bezos has also invested in a company called ChaCha which will farm out search tasks to human bidders in a process they like to call "artificial artificial intelligence." I am both disturbed by the idea of Amazon exploiting people's labor at cut-rate prices, and also saddened that I was not the one to think of it....

1 comment:

Wahrheit said...

I might give it a try, depending on how low that lowest-bidder pay is!

Worth exploring as a way to use your spare time, anyway.