Amazon Mechanical Turk

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pages: 502 words: 107,510

Natural Language Annotation for Machine Learning by James Pustejovsky, Amber Stubbs

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Amazon Mechanical Turk, bioinformatics, cloud computing, computer vision, crowdsourcing, finite state, game design, information retrieval, iterative process, natural language processing, pattern recognition, performance metric, sentiment analysis, social web, speech recognition, statistical model, text mining

Each of these methods can be performed within the MATTER cycle—they still require coming up with an annotation goal, finding a specification, and defining guidelines for how the annotation will be applied, but the guidelines here aren’t the traditional approach of writing an instruction manual and having the annotators read and apply what they learn. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk One approach to crowdsourcing is this: rather than hire a small number of annotators to annotate a corpus at relatively high wages, the annotation task is divided into very small tasks, which are then distributed over a large number of people for very small amounts of money per task. The most widely used resource for this at the moment is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk), where researchers (or businesses) create Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) which are then posted on something like a job board, and Turkers (as the workers are called) have the option to take on a task, and get paid for completing it.

“Annotating expressions of opinions and emotions in language.” Language Resources and Evaluation 39(2–3):165–210. References for Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk/Crowdsourcing Aker, Ahmet, Mahmoud El-Haj, M-Dyaa Albakour, and Udo Kruschwitz. 2012. “Assessing Crowdsourcing Quality through Objective Tasks.” In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC’12), Istanbul, Turkey. Filatova, Elena. 2012. “Irony and Sarcasm: Corpus Generation and Analysis Using Crowdsourcing.” In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC’12), Istanbul, Turkey. Fort, Karën, Gilles Adda, and K. Bretonnel Cohen. 2011. “Amazon Mechanical Turk: Gold Mine or Coal Mine?” Computational Linguistics 37(2):413–420. Kittur, E.H. Chi, and B. Suh. 2008. “Crowdsourcing user studies with Mechanical Turk.”

representative sampling, importance of, The Ideal Corpus: Representative and Balanced resources for existing, Background Research–NLP Challenges revising distributions/content of, Corpus Distributions and Content size considerations with, The Size of Your Corpus size, comparing with other corpora, Existing Corpora TimeML, building for, and evolution of, Building the Corpus crowdsourcing (of annotation tasks), The Infrastructure of an Annotation Project, Crowdsourcing Annotation–User-Generated Content, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, Games with a Purpose (GWAP)–Games with a Purpose (GWAP), User-Generated Content Games with a Purpose (GWAP), Games with a Purpose (GWAP)–Games with a Purpose (GWAP) Mechanical Turk (MTurk), Amazon’s Mechanical Turk user-generated content, User-Generated Content D DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), Related Research Data Category Registry (DCR), Annotation format standards data preperation for annotation, Preparing Your Data for Annotation–Writing the Annotation Guidelines, Metadata, Preprocessed Data, Splitting Up the Files for Annotation metadata and the potential for bias in, Metadata preprocessed data, advantages/concerns with, Preprocessed Data splitting files for annotation/testing, Splitting Up the Files for Annotation data sparseness problem, Naïve Bayes Learning dataset, Assembling Your Dataset (see corpus, corpora) DCR (Data Category Registry), Annotation format standards decision tree, Classification decision tree learning, Decision Tree Learning–Decision Tree Learning development corpus, Train and Test the Algorithms over the Corpus development-test set, Train and Test the Algorithms over the Corpus directed acyclic graph (DAG), Kinds of Annotation distributed method of annotation, The Infrastructure of an Annotation Project document annotation, Model the Phenomenon document classification, What Is Natural Language Processing?

 

pages: 366 words: 94,209

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business process, California gold rush, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, centralized clearinghouse, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, IBM and the Holocaust, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, medical bankruptcy, minimum viable product, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, passive investing, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social graph, software patent, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, trade route, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, unpaid internship, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar

The CEO of the CrowdFlower crowdsourcing platform, Lukas Biewald, explains that these platforms are “bringing opportunities to people who never would have had them before, and we operate in a truly egalitarian fashion, where anyone who wants to can do microtasks, no matter their gender, nationality, or socio-economic status, and can do so in a way that is entirely of their choosing and unique to them.”40 Crowdsourcing platforms, such as Amazon Mechanical Turk, pay people to perform tiny, repetitive tasks that computers just can’t handle yet. Workers log into one of the platforms from home or an Internet café and then choose from a series of tasks on offer. They might be paid three cents each time they identify the subject of a photo, transcribe a sentence from a video lecture, or list the items in a scanned receipt. These are invariably mundane tasks—the sorts of data entry that wouldn’t even exist were so many business processes not already tied to computer databases, and ones that will certainly be carried out by computers themselves sooner than later.

For employers, it’s a perfect realization of the industrial ideal: anyone can request work, do so anonymously, never meet the employee, and reject the results without ever paying. The labor force isn’t simply replaceable; it’s in constant flux, perpetually changing and responsible for its own training and care. As digital labor scholar and activist Trebor Scholz has pointed out,41 in crowdsourcing there’s no minimum wage, no labor regulation, no governmental jurisdiction. Although 18 percent of workers on Amazon Mechanical Turks are full-time laborers, most of them make less than two dollars an hour. Amazon argues that the platform is all about choice and empowerment, that workers can “vote with their feet” against bad labor practices. But when even minimum-wage jobs aren’t available to many workers today, they are empowered to make only one choice or none at all. The other answer—one I’ve argued myself—is for displaced workers to learn code.

Amazon then leveraged its monopoly in books and free shipping to develop monopolies in other verticals, beginning with home electronics (bankrupting Circuit City and Best Buy), and then every other link in the physical and virtual fulfillment chain, from shoes and food to music and videos. Finally, Amazon flips into personhood by reversing the traditional relationship between people and machines. Amazon’s patented recommendation engines attempt to drive our human selection process. Amazon Mechanical Turks gave computers the ability to mete out repetitive tasks to legions of human drones. The computers did the thinking and choosing; the people pointed and clicked as they were instructed or induced to do. Neither Amazon nor its founder, Jeff Bezos, is slipping to new lows here. The company is simply operating true to the core program of corporatism, expressed through new digital means. Amazingly, as of this writing, anyway, Amazon itself operates at a loss.

 

pages: 327 words: 103,336

Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, discovery of DNA, East Village, edge city, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, happiness index / gross national happiness, high batting average, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, interest rate swap, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, medical malpractice, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, oil shock, packet switching, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, planetary scale, prediction markets, pre–internet, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, school choice, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, ultimatum game, urban planning, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

colleague Winter Mason and I conducted a series of Web-based experiments in which subjects were paid at different rates to perform a variety of simple repetitive tasks, like placing a series of photographs of moving traffic into the correct temporal sequence, or uncovering words hidden in a rectangular grid of letters. All our participants were recruited from a website called Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, which Amazon launched in 2005 as a way to identify duplicate listings among its own inventory. Nowadays, Mechanical Turk is used by hundreds of businesses looking to “crowd-source” a wide range of tasks, from labeling objects in an image to characterizing the sentiment of a newspaper article or deciding which of two explanations is clearer. However, it is also an extremely effective way to recruit subjects for psychology experiments—much as psychologists have done over the years by posting flyers around college campuses—except that because workers (or “turkers”) are usually paid on the order of a few cents per task, it can be done for a fraction of the usual cost.21 In total, our experiments involved hundreds of participants who completed tens of thousands of tasks.

And BuzzFeed—a platform for launching “contagious media”—keeps track of hundreds of potential hits and only promotes those that are already generating enthusiastic responses from users.8 As creative as they are, these examples of crowdsourcing work best for media sites that already attract millions of visitors, and so automatically generate real-time information about what people like or don’t like. So if you’re not Bravo or Cheezburger or BuzzFeed—if you’re just some boring company that makes widgets or greeting cards or whatnot—how can you tap into the power of the crowd? Fortunately, crowdsourcing services like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (which Winter Mason and I used to run our experiments on pay and performance that I discussed in Chapter 2) can also be used to perform fast and inexpensive market research. Unsure what to call your next book? Rather than tossing around ideas with your editor, you can run a quick poll on Mechanical Turk and get a thousand opinions in a matter of hours, for about $10—or better yet, have the “turkers” come up with the suggestions as well as voting on them.

Communication technologies, like e-mail, cell phones, and instant messaging now implicitly trace out social networks among billions of individuals, along with the flow of information among them. Online communities such as Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, and World of Warcraft facilitate interactions among people in ways that both promote new kinds of social activity and also record it. Crowdsourcing sites like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk are increasingly being used as “virtual labs” in which researchers can run psychological and behavioral experiments.12 And Web search, online media, and electronic commerce are generating ever-increasing insight into the intentions and actions of people everywhere. The capability to observe the actions and interactions of potentially billions of people presents some serious issues about the rights and privacy of individuals, and so we must proceed with caution.13 Nevertheless, these technologies also exhibit enormous scientific potential, allowing us for the first time in history to observe, in high fidelity, the real-time behavior of large groups, and even societies as a whole.

 

pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

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23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Oct. 31, 2013. experianplc.com/investor-centre.aspx. 216 “detail about behaviors and proclivities”: Woodrow Hartzog and Evan Selinger. “Big Data in Small Hands.” 66 Stanford Law Review Online 81. Sept. 3, 2013. stanfordlawreview.org/online/privacy-and-big-data/big-data-small-hands. 219 Nandini Balial background and Rabbit experience: Author interviews with Nandini Balial. July and August 2014. 226 Mechanical Turk earnings: Jeremy Wilson. “My Grueling Day as an Amazon Mechanical Turk.” Kernel. Aug. 28, 2013. kernelmag.com/features/report/4732/my-gruelling-day-as-an-amazon-mechanical-turk. 228 “a cloud-computing cross”: Quentin Hardy. “Elance Pairs Hunt for Temp Work with Cloud Computing.” Bits, a blog on NYTimes.com. Sept. 24, 2013. bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/24/elance-pairs-hunt-for-temp-work-with-cloud-computing. 228 Mechanical Turk survey: Panos Ipeirotis. “Demographics of Mechanical Turk.” Stern School of Business.

Occasionally a job requires someone to go out into the physical world to confirm that a restaurant is still open or to photograph a store display so that the multinational company paying for it knows that it (and thousands of other displays like it, scattered around the country or the world) is set up properly. Usually, a would-be worker signs up, enters some information, and allows the site to connect to her social-media profiles in order to confirm her identity. Jobs then start to come down the pipe—some services allow workers to bid for jobs, with the lowest price usually winning out—and the worker goes off and performs the task for a few cents or a few dollars. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, with its optimistically named “Human Intelligence Tasks,” offers some of the most menial work: copying receipts, drawing triangles, mimicking facial expressions, clicking on random URLs—all of it presented with as little contextual/explanatory information as possible. A Mechanical Turk worker might be kept busy, he might even be mildly entertained, but he would be lucky to earn minimum wage.

Twitter’s fleet of Mechanical Turk workers are accomplishing much the same sleight of hand, providing the illusion of seamless, automated competency, concealing the fact that company is relying on cheap, remote labor. As Ayhan Aytes describes it, “In both cases, the performance of the workers who animate the artifice is obscured by the spectacle of the machine.” Amazon calls this “artificial artificial intelligence.” In an added dose of perverse irony, Twitter’s Mechanical Turk workers are, in all likelihood, helping to train the machine-learning algorithms that Twitter hopes will eventually replace them. As with a number of other menial tasks common to the micro-work field, the human is there to complete the smallest unit of work that can’t be done by a computer. But the data gleaned from these human workers will be used to inform the future generation of automated systems that will replace human workers or shunt them to even smaller bits of work.

 

pages: 72 words: 21,361

Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution Is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy by Erik Brynjolfsson

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Amazon Mechanical Turk, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, business process, call centre, combinatorial explosion, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, first square of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, hiring and firing, income inequality, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labour mobility, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, minimum wage unemployment, patent troll, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, shareholder value, Skype, too big to fail, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy

New platforms leverage technology to create marketplaces that address the employment crisis by bringing together machines and human skills in new and unexpected ways: eBay and Amazon Marketplace spurred over 600,000 people to earn their livings by dreaming up new, improved, or simply different or cheaper products for a worldwide customer base. The Long Tail of new products offered enormous consumer value and is a rapidly growing segment of the economy. Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Marketplace make it easy for people with ideas for mobile applications to create and distribute them. Threadless lets people create and sell designs for t-shirts. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk makes it easy to find cheap labor to do a breathtaking array of simple, well-defined tasks. Kickstarter flips this model on its head and helps designers and creative artists find sponsors for their projects. Heartland Robotics provides cheap robots-in-a-box that make it possible for small business people to quickly set up their own highly automated factory, dramatically reducing the costs and increasing the flexibility of manufacturing.

Tying health care and other mandated benefits to jobs makes it harder for people to move to new jobs or to quit and start new businesses. For instance, many a potential entrepreneur has been blocked by the need to maintain health insurance. Denmark and the Netherlands have led the way here. 15. Don’t rush to regulate new network businesses. Some observers feel that “crowdsourcing” businesses like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk exploit their members, who should therefore be better protected. However, especially in this early, experimental period, the developers of these innovative platforms should be given maximum freedom to innovate and experiment, and their members’ freely made decisions to participate should be honored, not overturned. 16. Eliminate or reduce the massive home mortgage subsidy. This costs over $130 billion per year, which would do much more for growth if allocated to research or education.

 

pages: 606 words: 157,120

To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism by Evgeny Morozov

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive bias, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, disintermediation, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, future of journalism, game design, Google Glasses, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Nicholas Carr, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Graham, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, pets.com, placebo effect, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, smart meter, social graph, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

Well, this exception is no more: BinCam, a new project from researchers in Britain and Germany, seeks to modernize how we deal with trash by making our bins smarter and—you guessed it—more social. Here is how it works: The bin’s inside lid is equipped with a tiny smartphone that snaps a photo every time someone closes it—all of this, of course, in order to document what exactly you have just thrown away. A team of badly paid humans, recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk system, then evaluates each photo. What is the total number of items in the picture? How many of them are recyclable? How many are food items? After this data is attached to the photo, it’s uploaded to the bin owner’s Facebook account, where it can also be shared with other users. Once such smart bins are installed in multiple households, BinCam creators hope, Facebook can be used to turn recycling into a game-like exciting competition.

Take the fake novelty of a term like “crowdsourcing”—supposedly, one of the chief attributes of the Internet era, an idea that gave us that great source of didactic knowledge, Wikipedia. “Crowdsourcing” is certainly a very effective term; calling some of the practices it enables as “digitally distributed sweatshop labor”—for this seems like a much better description of what’s happening on crowdsource-for-money platforms like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk—wouldn’t accomplish half as much. But effective euphemisms come with trade-offs; they don’t always capture the historical complexity of the processes they purport to describe. Didn’t the British government turn to “crowdsourcing”—in 1714!—to solve the “longitude problem” and solicit proposals for how to better navigate at sea? Didn’t the Smithsonian Institution—in 1849!—turn to a network of over six hundred volunteer observers (in Canada, Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean) to submit monthly weather reports (published in 1861 as the first of a two-volume compilation of climactic data)?

Thus, others have inquired if Britney is a “hot mess,” whether she is “dead” or “ugly,” and—my favorite—whether she is a “three-headed alien” (which, on further investigation, turns out to be the title of a book). Britney Spears is a public figure, and the controversy here seems moot at best. But suppose that an enemy of yours, in a deliberate effort to smear your reputation, starts paying users to search for your name followed by the word “pedophile.” An army of eager contributors, recruited through sites like Craigslist and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, are now generating enough search volume to make this new query replace a few other, more positive terms associated with your name. Now, everyone who searches for your name is also informed that you might be a pedophile—and, remember, you have no way to appeal, for Google’s algorithms are in charge, and they never get things wrong. It’s hard to say if Bettina Wulff, Germany’s former first lady, has been the victim of a similar crowdsourced hit job, but in September 2012 she sued Google for “autocompleting” searches for her name with terms like “prostitute” and “escort.”

 

pages: 286 words: 82,065

Curation Nation by Rosenbaum, Steven

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, future of journalism, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, means of production, PageRank, pattern recognition, postindustrial economy, pre–internet, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, social web, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh

The idea is to offer freelancers relatively low pay to create content but to let them choose the topics that interest them so that they can work on their own preferred subjects and on their own schedules. The need to access human skills on demand was what convinced the folks at Amazon to create a service known as Mechanical Turk. The name Mechanical Turk is based on a “robot” that dates back to 1769, when a nobleman astonished Europe by building a mechanical chess-playing automaton that was able to beat human opponents. The Turk toured Europe and overcame brilliant challengers such as Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte. The secret behind the Mechanical Turk was a human chess master cleverly concealed inside the cabinet. It was a trick. Today Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is founded on the premise that there are still many things that human beings can do that computers can’t. For example, Amazon needed to scrub through its entire collection of JPEG CD covers to make sure that the image of the Rolling Stones was the correct image on the site’s item page.

Happily, almost all of them agreed to be interviewed for this project. Many of those interviews were conducted in person, and rather than take notes, the conversations were recorded and then transcribed. The rest of the interviews were conducted via Skype, and those too were transcribed. In both cases the transcriptions were turned around almost magically by a team of online workers known as Turkers, who are members of an Amazon service called Mechanical Turk. I talk more about Mechanical Turk in chapter 6, so I won’t repeat the details here. Suffice it to say that the ability to have a Skype interview at 5 p.m. and have a transcript in your in box at 9 a.m. the next morning is for this author an awe-inspiring experience. The world moves quickly now. I didn’t want to weight things down in the text with footnotes and endnotes and such; in many cases when I quote people, their words are coming directly from interviews I conducted with them.

dailyfinance.com, April 13, 2010. http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/who-knows-you-better-your-credit-card-company-or-your-spouse/19436105 Conclusion http://www.comscore.com INDEX About.com Abrams, Dan Abrams, Floyd Abu Dhabi Media Accidental curation Acheson, Lila Bell Addis, Steve Addis/Creson AdSense Advertising AdSense fees affiliated marketing changes in consumer conversations and on curated networks micronets and nature of commerce and sponsorships trends in (See also Brands and branding) Advertising Age Adweek Affiliated marketing Affiliate Summit Aggregation balance of power and criticism of curation versus Flipboard multimedia reaggregation video aggregators All Things Digital Alvey, Brian Amazon Mechanical Turk American Association of Museums Anderson, Chris AOL Armstrong, Tim Arora, Samir Arrington, Michael Artist Direct Associated Content Associated Press Atari AT&T AVC.Blogspot.com Avid editing equipment Axel Springer Baer, Jay Baltimore Museum of Art Bankoff, Jim Barnett, Rob BBC Beckland, Jamie Berra, Yogi Bhargava, Rohit Bicycling magazine Big Apple Circus Biondi, Frank Bionic journalism Bit.ly BitTorrent Blau, Andrew Blippy Blip.tv Blogger.com Blogging BlogHer Blogmaverick.com Bloomberg Company Blurry-edged privacy Boing Boing Bough, Bonin Boyle, Susan Brands and branding adaptation in changes in consumer conversations and content creation and content strategy and public relations in.

 

pages: 375 words: 88,306

The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism by Arun Sundararajan

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, call centre, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, corporate social responsibility, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, distributed ledger, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, housing crisis, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, job automation, job-hopping, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lyft, megacity, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, Zipcar

Task Economies In the past, hiring thousands of workers to carry out small tasks wasn’t feasible because of the high administrative costs of such a structure. Today, smaller and smaller tasks can increasingly be outsourced with minimal transaction costs to crowds of workers connected to digital platforms. An early example of this form of “taskification” can be seen in the popular Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, which connects millions of workers around the world to customers who have broken down projects into simple tasks with compensation ranging from a few pennies to a couple of dollars. One might wonder if a platform like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, which seems to be, like Spare5, largely used for simple tasks like image tagging and survey responses, can make a dent in how the vast majority of the economy’s productive work is done. For example, will we see complex consulting projects or sales activities being broken down and offered on these platforms for people to contribute to in their spare time?

An especially compelling example comes from a recent prototype, built by Devin Fidler of the Institute of the Future, called iCEO, “a virtual management system that automates complex work by dividing it into small, individual tasks.”24 Fidler’s system demonstrates how the complex work we typically associate with senior managers can be instead done by software that parcels tasks to workers on oDesk, Elance, and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk workers. For example, iCEO was given the project of creating a 124-page research report for a Fortune 50 client. As Fidler describes it: We spent a few hours plugging in the parameters of the project, i.e. structuring the flow of tasks, then hit play. For instance, to create an in-depth assessment of how graphene is produced, iCEO asked workers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to curate a list of articles on the topic. After duplicates were removed, the list of articles was passed on to a pool of technical analysts from oDesk, who extracted and arranged the articles’ key insights.

 

pages: 502 words: 107,657

Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die by Eric Siegel

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, backtesting, Black Swan, book scanning, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, call centre, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data is the new oil, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Google Glasses, happiness index / gross national happiness, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, placebo effect, prediction markets, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, risk-adjusted returns, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, Steven Levy, text mining, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

See artificial intelligence (AI) airlines and aviation, predicting in Albee, Edward Albrecht, Katherine algorithmic trading. See black box trading Allen, Woody Allstate AlphaGenius Amazon.com employee security access needs machine learning and predictive models Mechanical Turk personalized recommendations sarcasm in reviews American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) American Public University System Ansari X Prize Anxiety Index calculating as ensemble model measuring in blogs Apollo 11 Apple, Inc. Apple Mac Apple Siri Argonne National Laboratory Arizona Petrified Forest National Park Arizona State University artificial intelligence (AI) about Amazon.com Mechanical Turk mind-reading technology possibility of, the Watson computer and Asimov, Isaac astronomy AT&T Research BellKor Netflix Prize teams Australia Austria automobile insurance crashes, predicting credit scores and accidents driver inatentiveness, predicting fraud predictions for Averitt aviation incidents Aviva Insurance (UK) AWK computer language B backtesting.

A small human chess expert who did not suffer from claustrophobia (chess is a long game) hid inside the desk, viewing the board from underneath and manipulating the mannequin’s arm. Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin had the pleasure of losing to this wonder of innovation—I mean, this crouching, uncomfortable imposter. In the modern-day equivalent, human workers perform low-level tasks for the Amazon Mechanical Turk, a crowdsourcing website by Amazon.com that coordinates hundreds of thousands of workers to do “things that human beings can [still] do much more effectively than computers, such as identifying objects in a photo . . . [or] transcribing audio recordings.” Its slogan is “Artificial Artificial Intelligence.” (This reminds me of the vegetarian restaurant with “mock mock duck” on the menu—I swear, it tastes exactly like mock duck.)

 

pages: 368 words: 96,825

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta-analysis, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Oculus Rift, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, rolodex, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator

For example, a while back I wanted to determine whether Time magazine cover articles have gotten more negative during the past sixty years. At first I had my executive assistant start in 1945 and group articles into positive, neutral, or negative categories. After a day’s work, she had barely put a dent in the problem. That’s when I decided to turn to the crowd. By offering $0.05 per categorization, I got the entire 65 years’ worth of issues, roughly 3,000 in total, done for under $200. I used Amazon’s site Mechanical Turk (www.mturk.com) to get those magazine covers analyzed. While MTURK isn’t all that useful for more complicated jobs, it is where to go to get simple, quick tasks done fast. Aggregation and classification jobs tend to be popular uses. Aggregate photographs of red trucks, for example, or write product descriptions, or perform sentiment analysis exercises on thousands of Tweets. Requesters (you) post tasks known as HITs (human intelligence tasks) while workers (called providers) browse among existing tasks and complete them for a monetary payment.16 Another microtask site that I’ve previously relied upon (and with great result) is Fiverr (www.fiverr.com), an online marketplace offering microtasks starting at $5.

pagewanted=all&_r=0. 8 “Stats,” Kickstarter, https://www.kickstarter.com/help/stats. 9 Doug Gross, “Google boss: Entire world will be online by 2020,” CNN, April 15, 2013, http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/15/tech/web/eric-schmidt-internet/. 10 “Global entertainment and media outlook 2013–2017,” PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2013, https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/global-entertainment-media-outlook/. 11 Freelancer Case Study based on a series of AIs. 12 Quoted from AI: Matt Barrie. 13 Tongal Case Study based on a series of AIs with James DeJulio. 14 reCAPTCHA and Duolingo Case Study based on a series of AIs with Luis von Ahn. 15 During the completion of this book, a Bay Area startup called Vicarious wrote an AI program able to solve (i.e., read) CAPTCHAs with an accuracy of 90 percent. As mentioned earlier, “crowdsourcing” is an interim solution until such AI comes fully online. This is a relevant example of that point. 16 “FAQ—Overview,” Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon.com, Inc., 2014, https://www.mturk.com/mturk/help?helpPage=overview. 17 “What is Fiverr?,” Fiverr.com, 2014, http://support.fiverr.com/hc/en-us/articles/201500776-What-is-Fiverr-. 18 Unless otherwise noted, all Matt Barrie quotes come from a 2013 AI. 19 AIs with Marcus Shingles, 2013–2014. 20 AI with Andrew Vaz. 21 “About Us,” Freelancer.com, 2014, https://www.freelancer.com/info/about.php. 22 AI with Barrie. 23 Ibid. 24 AI with James DeJulio, 2013. 25 AI with Barrie. 26 Ibid. 27 “Vicarious AI passes first Turing Test: CAPTCHA,” Vicarious, October 27, 2013, http://news.vicarious.com/post/65316134613/vicarious-ai-passes-first-turing-test-captcha.

 

pages: 215 words: 55,212

The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing by Lisa Gansky

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, banking crisis, barriers to entry, carbon footprint, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, diversification, Firefox, Google Earth, Internet of things, Kickstarter, late fees, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart grid, social web, software as a service, TaskRabbit, the built environment, walkable city, yield management, young professional, Zipcar

Whether you’re looking for a ride to the airport, a recommendation for good eats, or a dog sitter, FriendlyFavor will help you reach out to your “peeps”—your trusted network of friends, family, and colleagues. And it’s efficient. Instead of sorting through endless e-mail threads, FriendlyFavor sends an appeal to your peeps using your existing e-mail lists and then archives any responses (Think Evite). The Web site also helps you repay the favor with an exchange of services, gift certificates, or charitable donations. Amazon Mechanical Turk: Marketplace for work. https://www.mturk.com crowdSPRING: Offers affordable graphic design and writing services to small businesses by connecting consumers with creative professionals. http://www.crowdspring.com FriendlyFavor: Request tool that enables users to ask, offer, and manage favors online. http://www.friendlyfavor.com Guru: Members find freelancers at Guru’s online service marketplace.

 

pages: 230 words: 61,702

The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data by Michael P. Lynch

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Mechanical Turk, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bitcoin, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, crowdsourcing, Edward Snowden, Firefox, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, Internet of things, John von Neumann, meta-analysis, Nate Silver, new economy, patient HM, prediction markets, RFID, sharing economy, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, WikiLeaks

Here’s how it works: nonprofits and businesses post prize competitions for solutions to challenges. These can run the gamut—from retail product positioning to early detection mechanisms for inflammatory bowel disease. The prizes themselves vary in size, with some topping nearly a million dollars but many being significantly less. InnoCentive is only one example of how crowdsourcing can work, of course. Other famous examples include Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, which allows companies (and scientific researchers) to outsource specific tasks to a huge network of “Turkers” to perform tasks that humans are still better at than computers, such as image identification and translation. Still another is Threadless, an organization that assigns a crowd of T-shirt designers the job of selecting (and creating) new T-shirt designs. Challenge-specific prizes, like those used by InnoCentive, have been useful sources of innovation in scientific research for centuries.

But while Rifkin’s collaborative vision might be appealing, the death of capitalism—and exploitative versions of it—is hardly near. Take crowdsourcing as an example. Instead of an economy of skilled laborers that require resources to train, equip and compensate, crowdsourcing makes it possible for companies to distribute and generate knowledge without the expense of hiring those experts. This isn’t necessarily more “democratic.” But it is more capitalistic. Even some of the most active workers for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk can make very little, two to five dollars an hour. This may seem reasonable if you think of such laborers as amateurs—doing such work in their “spare time.” But as Brabham has convincingly argued, the idea of the “amateur crowd” is largely a myth. Turkers working for Amazon are generally highly educated professionals working in areas of the world where financially rewarding employment for those skills is significantly less than elsewhere (hence the attraction of Turk).

 

pages: 629 words: 142,393

The Future of the Internet: And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, c2.com, call centre, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, illegal immigration, index card, informal economy, Internet Archive, jimmy wales, license plate recognition, loose coupling, mail merge, national security letter, packet switching, Post-materialism, post-materialism, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert X Cringely, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, software patent, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, wikimedia commons

InnoCentive Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.innocentive.com/faqs.php (last visited Sept. 30, 2007) (“If your solution is selected as ‘best’ by the Seeker, prior to receiving a financial award you must transfer your intellectual property rights in the solution.”). 22. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, http://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome (last visited Sept. 30, 2007); see also Posting of Elinor Mills to Tech News Blog, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk Lets You Make $$$, Sort Of, http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9782813-7.html (Sept. 21, 2007, 12:35 PDT). Index accessibility, 29, 72–73, 77, 93, 131, 188, 232 accountability, 32, 162–63 acoustic separation, 122 adaptability, 71–72, 93, 125 Adler, Michael, 110 advertising industry, 56 affordance theory, 78 amateur innovation, 26, 27 Amazon.com, 214; differential pricing by, 204–5; Mechanical Turk, 246; “mouse droppings,” 217, 219; and user ratings, 146, 147, 151, 215 AMD, Telmex Internet Box, 59 Anderson, Chris, 85 Anderson County, Tennessee, jailcams in, 209–10 anonymity, 33 Answers.com, 145 antiabortion activism, 215 AOL (America Online), 174; adding new features to, 23, 106–7; control exercised by, 3, 7, 57, 81, 82; and dumb terminals, 101–2; and hyperlinks, 89; and PlayMedia, 104; walled gardens of, 29, 89, 254n7 Apache Web server, 192 APIs (application programming interfaces), 124, 184–85, 215 Apple Computers: Apple II personal computers, 1–2, 3; business model of, 17; Dashboard, 272n55; data gathering by, 160; iPhone, 1, 2–3, 5, 101, 106, 182; iPod, 1, 101, 233; iTunes, 105, 121, 197; VisiCalc, 2; word processing software of, 17 appliance model, 17 appliances: consumer information technology in, 13; contingent, 107; intended for individual use, 18; ownership of, 106; regulability of, 107, 125; remote updates of, 106–7; security worries with, 106–7, 123–24, 150; smarter, 107; tethered, 3, 4, 5, 8–9, 59, 101–3, 106, 107.

Our generative technologies need technically skilled people of goodwill to keep them going, and the fledgling generative activities above—blogging, wikis, social networks—need artistically and intellectually skilled people of goodwill to serve as true alternatives to a centralized, industrialized information economy that asks us to identify only as consumers of meaning rather than as makers of it. Peer production alone does not guarantee collaborative meaning making. Services like InnoCentive place five-figure bounties on difficult but modular scientific problems, and ask the public at large to offer solutions.20 But the solutions tendered then become the full property of the institutional bounty hunter.21 Amazon’s Mechanical Turk has created a marketplace for the solving of so-called human intelligence tasks on the other side of the scale: trivial, repetitive tasks like tracing lines around the faces in photographs for a firm that has some reason to need them traced.22 If five years from now children with XOs were using them for hours each day primarily to trace lines at half a penny per trace, it could be a useful economic engine to some and a sweatshop to others—but either way it would not be an activity that is generative at the content layer.

 

pages: 903 words: 235,753

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, performance metric, Peter Thiel, phenotype, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator

Similarly, the role for HFT algorithms is indeterminable, even though they do not speak at us they do speak for us, and we can assume that if similar forms of weaponized mathematics become more normative, then the plural and partial nature of any individuated human User subject interest and position may be that much harder to keep straight. In the ongoing technologicization of intelligence, we see cute slippages of position between humans and machines. For example, the original mechanical turk in the eighteenth century was a chess-playing machine, apparently an automaton exhibiting human intelligence, but in fact operated from afar by a human User. Today Amazon Mechanical Turk restages this arrangement, not just for chess but for any menial task the User can devise. Behind the browser are at least half a million “workers” who complete piecemeal tasks for micropayment.47 We see not AIs appearing as if they were human, but humans appearing as if they were AIs. As it's been since Karel Čapek's “universal robots” introduced on the stage in 1921, the robot not only mimics the human, but provides a portrait of the human as an object viewable to itself from the outside, and with the human negotiates an ongoing dance of reciprocal idealization.

If we follow the thread of Alex Rivera's Sleep Dealer (2008), a film in which California's agriculture is served by drone pilot/robot fruit pickers working remotely from behind the sovereign wall separating the United States and Mexico, it is not unreasonable to imagine a further logistic dehumanization of Fresno's on-site population.21 Perhaps the costs of piloting agricultural labor will be held down by global wage arbitrage, pickers in Tijuana competing with pickers in Jakarta and Juneau to provide fast and cheap results. That is, formal national jurisdiction may have far less to do with the economics of Cloud feudalism than with whichever Cloud Polis, enclave platform, or urban camp happens to counts a given worker as one of its Users. The elevation of labor systems like Amazon's Mechanical Turk, TaskRabbit, and Uber to infrastructural scale suggests several paradoxical and even contradictory outcomes, both positive and negative. One of these is well summarized as: “I'm really looking forward to a future in which service employees are leased Google Glass so they can complete courses in for-profit trade schools while simultaneously earning health care vouchers instead of actual currency and Soylent instead of actual food.”22 We should add, however, that the lease terms on that Glass set are conditional on whether the User actually won the bid to pilot-pick avocados.

 

pages: 398 words: 86,855

Bad Data Handbook by Q. Ethan McCallum

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset allocation, barriers to entry, Benoit Mandelbrot, business intelligence, cellular automata, chief data officer, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, conceptual framework, database schema, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Flash crash, Gini coefficient, illegal immigration, iterative process, loose coupling, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, recommendation engine, sentiment analysis, statistical model, supply-chain management, text mining, too big to fail, web application

That let us move high-probability photos to the front of slideshows, rather than just having two categories. Conclusion We’re still using the results of the competition very successfully in our product today. I hope this walk-through gave you an idea of how to work effectively with outside machine-learning experts, whether through a contest like Kaggle or through a more traditional arrangement. * * * [73] “Kaggle: making data science a sport.” (http://www.kaggle.com/) [74] Amazon Mechanical Turk: “Artificial Artificial Intelligence.” (https://www.mturk.com/) [75] scikit-learn: machine learning in Python (http://scikit-learn.org/) Chapter 17. Data Traceability Reid Draper Your software consistently provides impressive music recommendations by combining cultural and audio data. Customers are happy. However, things aren’t always perfect. Sometimes that Beyoncé track is attributed to Beyonce.

 

pages: 380 words: 118,675

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, airport security, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, game design, housing crisis, invention of movable type, inventory management, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, late fees, loose coupling, low skilled workers, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, optical character recognition, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Rodney Brooks, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, Skype, statistical arbitrage, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, Tony Hsieh, Whole Earth Catalog, why are manhole covers round?

To their surprise, Bezos then actually developed a version of Project Agreya inside Amazon. He renamed it Mechanical Turk, after an eighteenth-century chess-playing automaton that concealed a diminutive man—a chess master—who hid inside and guided the machine’s moves. About two dozen Amazon employees worked on the service from January 2004 to November 2005. It was considered a Jeff project, which meant that the product manager met with Bezos every few weeks and received a constant stream of e-mail from the CEO, usually containing extraordinarily detailed recommendations and frequently arriving late at night. Amazon started using Mechanical Turk internally in 2005 to have humans do things like review Search Inside the Book scans and check product images uploaded to Amazon by customers to ensure they were not pornographic. The company also used Mechanical Turk to match the images with the corresponding commercial establishments in A9’s fledgling Block View tool.

Bezos liked the name for its historical association but agreed to let the communications staff and Mechanical Turk team brainstorm alternatives. They seriously considered Cadabra, an allusion to magic and the original corporate name of Amazon. But in the end, Bezos shrugged off the concerns and said that he personally would bear the responsibility for any backlash. Mechanical Turk quietly launched in November 2005. Now any Internet user could perform what Amazon called human-intelligence tasks, typically earning a few cents per job. Other companies could list jobs on the Mechanical Turk website, with Amazon taking a 10 percent cut of the payments.11 One of the first applications, from a company called Casting Words, paid workers a few cents per minute to listen to and transcribe podcasts. Mechanical Turk gave Bezos another opportunity to demonstrate Amazon’s ability to innovate outside of its core retail business and show off his own curious attempts to crystallize abstract concepts.

 

pages: 407 words: 103,501

The Digital Divide: Arguments for and Against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Netwo Rking by Mark Bauerlein

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, citizen journalism, collaborative editing, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, disintermediation, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, meta-analysis, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, pets.com, Saturday Night Live, search engine result page, semantic web, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social graph, social web, software as a service, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technology bubble, Ted Nelson, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, web application

The Web as a whole is a marvel of crowdsourcing, as are marketplaces such as those on eBay and craigslist, mixed media collections such as YouTube and Flickr, and the vast personal lifestream collections on Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook. Many people also understand that applications can be constructed in such a way as to direct their users to perform specific tasks, like building an online encyclopedia (Wikipedia), annotating an online catalog (Amazon), adding data points onto a map (the many Web-mapping applications), or finding the most popular news stories (Digg, Twine). Amazon’s Mechanical Turk has gone so far as to provide a generalized platform for harnessing people to do tasks that are difficult for computers to perform on their own. But is this really what we mean by collective intelligence? Isn’t one definition of intelligence, after all, that characteristic that allows an organism to learn from and respond to its environment? (Please note that we’re leaving aside entirely the question of self-awareness.

Another striking story we’ve recently heard about a real-time feedback loop is the Houdini system used by the Obama campaign to remove voters from the Get Out the Vote calling list as soon as they had actually voted. Poll watchers in key districts reported in as they saw names crossed off the voter lists; these were then made to “disappear” from the calling lists that were being provided to volunteers. (Hence the name Houdini.) Houdini is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk writ large: one group of volunteers acting as sensors, multiple real-time data queues being synchronized and used to affect the instructions for another group of volunteers being used as actuators in that same system. Businesses must learn to harness real-time data as key signals that inform a far more efficient feedback loop for product development, customer service, and resource allocation. >>> in conclusion: the stuff that matters All of this is in many ways a preamble to what may be the most important part of the Web Squared opportunity.

 

pages: 525 words: 116,295

The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives by Eric Schmidt, Jared Cohen

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bitcoin, borderless world, call centre, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, Elon Musk, failed state, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, Google Earth, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, invention of the printing press, job automation, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, market fundamentalism, means of production, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, offshore financial centre, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Singer: altruism, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, The Wisdom of Crowds, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day

Skilled young adults in Uruguay will find themselves competing for certain types of jobs against their counterparts in Orange County. Of course, just as not all jobs can or will be automated in the future, not every job can be conducted from a distance—but more can than you might think. And for those living on a few dollars per day, there will be endless opportunities to increase their earnings. In fact, Amazon Mechanical Turk, which is a digital task-distribution platform, offers a present-day example of a company outsourcing small tasks that can be performed for a few cents by anyone with an Internet connection. As the quality of virtual interactions continues to improve, a range of vocations can expand the platform’s client base; you might retain a lawyer from one continent and use a Realtor from another. Globalization’s critics will decry this erosion of local monopolies, but it should be embraced, because this is how our societies will move forward and continue to innovate.

 

pages: 422 words: 131,666

Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back by Douglas Rushkoff

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, banks create money, big-box store, Bretton Woods, car-free, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, computer age, corporate governance, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, don't be evil, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, financial innovation, Firefox, full employment, global village, Google Earth, greed is good, Howard Rheingold, income per capita, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, market bubble, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, peak oil, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, price stability, principal–agent problem, private military company, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, RFID, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, social software, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, union organizing, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Victor Gruen, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Y2K, young professional

A central-office computer monitors exactly who is where and when, opening doors for those who have clearance. While implantation isn’t yet mandatory for existing laborers, the additional and convenient access to sensitive materials it affords makes voluntary implantation a plus for worker recognition and advancement. Increasingly, we find ourselves working on behalf of our computers rather than the other way around. The Amazon Mechanical Turks program gives people the opportunity to work as assistants to computers. Earning pennies per task, users perform hundreds or thousands of routine operations for corporate computers that don’t want to waste their cycles. There are credits available for everything from finding the address numbers in photos of houses (three cents a pop) to matching Web-page URLs with the product that is supposed to appear on them (a whopping nickel each).

 

pages: 190 words: 53,409

Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy by Robert H. Frank

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, attribution theory, availability heuristic, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, deliberate practice, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, experimental subject, framing effect, full employment, hindsight bias, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop, income inequality, invisible hand, labour mobility, lake wobegon effect, loss aversion, minimum wage unemployment, Network effects, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Richard Thaler, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, side project, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, ultimatum game, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, winner-take-all economy

Falsely believing themselves to be more skillful apparently induced a powerful sense of entitlement to claim the lion’s share, while falsely believing themselves to be less skillful had much less of an effect. My very able research assistant Yuezhou Huo designed a simple survey that sheds additional light on how focusing on the importance of external factors can affect people’s willingness to contribute to the common good. She began by asking subjects recruited online from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk worker pool7 to recall a good thing that had recently happened to them. She then asked one group to list external factors beyond their control that contributed to the event, a second group to list personal qualities or things they had done personally, and a control group to simply list reasons that the good thing had happened. Subjects in each group were paid 50 cents for signing up and promised an additional $1 for completing the experiment.

 

pages: 179 words: 43,441

The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, collaborative consumption, conceptual framework, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of work, global value chain, Google Glasses, income inequality, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the steam engine, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, life extension, Lyft, megacity, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, precariat, precision agriculture, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, reshoring, RFID, rising living standards, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, software as a service, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, The Spirit Level, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Table 2: Examples of professions most and least prone to automation Source: Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, University of Oxford, 2013 It is interesting to note that it is not only the increasing abilities of algorithms, robots and other forms of non-human assets that are driving this substitution. Michael Osborne observes that a critical enabling factor for automation is the fact that companies have worked hard to define better and simplify jobs in recent years as part of their efforts to outsource, off-shore and allow them to be performed as “digital work” (such as via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, or MTurk, service, a crowdsourcing internet marketplace). This job simplification means that algorithms are better able to replace humans. This job simplification means that algorithms are better able to replace humans. Discrete, well-defined tasks lead to better monitoring and more high-quality data around the task, thereby creating a better base from which algorithms can be designed to do the work.

 

pages: 284 words: 79,265

The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date by Samuel Arbesman

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Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Wiles, bioinformatics, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, Clayton Christensen, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, David Brooks, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Galaxy Zoo, guest worker program, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, index fund, invention of movable type, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, life extension, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Nicholas Carr, p-value, Paul Erdős, Pluto: dwarf planet, randomized controlled trial, Rodney Brooks, social graph, social web, text mining, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation

In courts, intent is what matters, and not unconscious muscle memory, so if you do this on a legal document, you’re generally fine. I decided to conduct a simple experiment to actually get a handle on people’s factual inertia. To do this, I used a Web site created by Amazon called Mechanical Turk. The label Mechanical Turk derives from a well-known hoax from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Turk was a complex device that was displayed all throughout Europe. While appearing to be a chess-playing automaton, the Turk actually had a person in a hidden compartment, controlling the machine. In homage to this, Amazon named its online labor market—a clearinghouse for simple tasks humans can easily perform but computers cannot—Mechanical Turk. These tasks include things like labeling photographs when they are posted, and Turkers, as the laborers are called, will often solve these problems for pennies.

 

pages: 369 words: 80,355

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger

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airport security, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, book scanning, Cass Sunstein, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Debian, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of journalism, Galaxy Zoo, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, linked data, Netflix Prize, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pluto: dwarf planet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Republic of Letters, RFID, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, slashdot, social graph, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

“DARPA would have you believe that it’s the brilliance of modern-day social networks that led an MIT-based team to win its red balloon challenge this weekend” when it was just that MIT offered to split the money.16 That objection misses the point: Without the network, the offer of money would have gone nowhere. Indeed, some of the most powerful ways to crowdsource expertise involve paying people. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, launched in 2005, enables vast numbers of people to work on small, distributed tasks for a small amount of money per transaction. (It’s named after an eighteenth-century chess-playing “machine” that beat almost all comers, including Napoleon and Ben Franklin, by concealing a human chess expert within it.) Businesses have used Mechanical Turk to get thousands of online images labeled, find duplications in yellow-page listings, and rate the relevancy of a search engine’s results.

 

pages: 500 words: 145,005

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard H. Thaler

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Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrei Shleifer, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Atul Gawande, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Madoff, Black-Scholes formula, capital asset pricing model, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, endowment effect, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, George Akerlof, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, impulse control, index fund, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, late fees, law of one price, libertarian paternalism, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market clearing, Mason jar, meta-analysis, More Guns, Less Crime, mortgage debt, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, New Journalism, nudge unit, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel

Apparently there was a program that was training the unemployed to be telephone interviewers, whatever that entails, and they needed questions for the trainees to ask. If we faxed a bunch of questions each Monday morning, they would fax us back the responses Thursday night. That gave us Friday and the weekend to figure out what we had learned from the week’s questions and to write some new ones for the following week. Today this sort of research can be done online using services like Amazon’sMechanical Turk,” but back then weekly access to a random sample of a few hundred residents of Ontario (and later British Columbia) was an incredible luxury. We were able to try out lots of ideas, get quick feedback, and learn in the best possible way: theory-driven intuition tested by trial and error. Here is an example of the kind of question we were asking: A hardware store has been selling snow shovels for $15.

 

pages: 484 words: 104,873

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, debt deflation, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, High speed trading, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labour mobility, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, McJob, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, performance metric, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, reshoring, RFID, Rodney Brooks, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce

* In addition to his work in genetic programming, Koza is the inventor of the scratch-off lottery ticket and the originator of the “constitutional workaround” idea to elect US presidents by popular vote by having the states agree to award electoral-college votes based on the country’s overall popular-vote outcome. * If you find this type of work appealing but lack the requisite legal training, be sure to check out Amazon’s “Mechanical Turk” service, which offers many similar opportunities. “BinCam,” for example, places cameras in your garbage bin, tracks everything you throw away, and then automatically posts the record to social media. The idea is, apparently, to shame yourself into not wasting food and not forgetting to recycle. As we’ve seen, visual recognition (of types of garbage, in this case) remains a daunting challenge for computers, so people are employed to perform this task.

See artificial intelligence (AI) “AI winters,” 231 Alaska, annual dividend, 268 algorithms acceleration in development of, 71 automated trading, 56, 113–115 increasing efficiency of, 64 machine learning, 89, 93, 100–101, 107–115, 130–131 threat to jobs, xv, 85–86 alien invasion parable, 194–196, 240 “All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines” (Carr), 254 all-payer ceiling, 168–169 all-payer rates, 167–169 Amazon.com, 16–17, 76, 89 artificial intelligence and, 231 cloud computing and, 104–105, 107 delivery model, 190, 190n “Mechanical Turk” service, 125n AMD (Advanced Micro Devices), 70n American Airlines, 179 American Hospital Association, 168 American Motors, 76 Andreesen, Marc, 107 Android, 6, 21, 79, 121 Apple, Inc., 17, 20, 51, 92, 106–107, 279 Apple Watch, 160 apps, difficulty in monetizing, 79 Arai, Noriko, 127–128 Aramco, 68 Ariely, Dan, 47n Arrow, Kenneth, 162, 169 art, machines creating, 111–113 Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), 231–233 dark side of, 238–241 the Singularity and, 233–238 artificial intelligence (AI), xiv arms race and, 232, 239–240 in medicine, 147–153 narrow, 229–230 offshoring and, 118–119 warnings concerning dangers of, 229 See also Artificial General Intelligence (AGI); automation; information technology Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (Stanford University), 6 artificial neural networks, 90–92.

 

pages: 685 words: 203,949

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin

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airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anton Chekhov, big-box store, business process, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Eratosthenes, Exxon Valdez, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Golden Gate Park, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, impulse control, index card, information retrieval, invention of writing, iterative process, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, life extension, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, pre–internet, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Skype, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, ultimatum game

But reCAPTCHAs pair the unknown words with known words; they assume that if you solve the known word, you’re a human, and that your guess on the unknown word is reasonable. When several people agree on the unknown word, it’s considered solved and the information is incorporated into the scan. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is typically used for tasks that computers aren’t particularly good at but humans would find repetitively dull or boring. A recent cognitive psychology experiment published in Science used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to find experimental participants. Volunteers (who were paid three dollars each) had to read a story and then take a test that measured their levels of empathy. Empathy requires the ability to switch between different perspectives on the same situation or interaction. This requires using the brain’s daydreaming mode (the task-negative network), and it involves the prefrontal cortex, cingulate, and their connections to the temporoparietal junction.

 

pages: 426 words: 105,423

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

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Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, call centre, clean water, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, follow your passion, game design, global village, Iridium satellite, knowledge worker, late fees, Maui Hawaii, oil shock, paper trading, passive income, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, wage slave, William of Occam

FogBugz on Demand: http://www.fogcreek.com/FogBUGZ/IntrotoOnDemand.html. It’s a “bug tracker” aimed at software development companies, but I use it every day for both personal and business tasks. It’s almost like a VA, as you can route your mail through it and it will help you sort it and keep track of it. It has great features to track e-mails, and there’s a free version for two users (me + VA!). —RB CARTER A really useful service is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. With a small investment in time or money, a business that requires hundreds of people doing small bits of defined work becomes possible for extraordinarily low work-per-unit costs. Examples include the search for Steve Fosset (literally thousands of people looked at satellite photos that would have overwhelmed SAR agencies) and a trouble-ticket business that utilizes qualified labor all over the world (see Amazon.com/webservices).

 

pages: 372 words: 89,876

The Connected Company by Dave Gray, Thomas Vander Wal

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Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, Berlin Wall, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, complexity theory, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, Googley, index card, interchangeable parts, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, loose coupling, market design, minimum viable product, more computing power than Apollo, profit maximization, Richard Florida, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, Vanguard fund, web application, WikiLeaks, Zipcar

Platforms are support structures that increase the effectiveness of a community. What is a Platform? A platform is a support structure that increases the effectiveness of a community. Some platforms are public. For example, a local farmers’ market or swap meet clusters sellers together so they can attract more buyers. Like local swap meets, eBay and Craigslist provide platforms for people to buy and sell used goods or unique items. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk provides a marketplace for buyers and sellers of human labor at a micro scale—tiny bits of work for tiny bits of money. The Internet is another public platform. So is the Global Positioning System (GPS) that allows you to track your location by satellite. Companies can provide platforms that are more restricted in their use. For example, platforms may be available only to employees.

 

pages: 421 words: 110,406

Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy--And How to Make Them Work for You by Sangeet Paul Choudary, Marshall W. van Alstyne, Geoffrey G. Parker

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrei Shleifer, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, chief data officer, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, data is the new oil, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, Haber-Bosch Process, High speed trading, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, market design, multi-sided market, Network effects, new economy, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pre–internet, price mechanism, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, Snapchat, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, the payments system, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, winner-take-all economy, Zipcar

The division of labor into smaller and smaller units of work, which Adam Smith recognized as a key to the productive capability of organizations almost three centuries ago, is likely to continue, powered by increasingly smart algorithms that are capable of breaking down a complex job into tiny, simple tasks to be handled by hundreds of workers, then reassembling the results into a unified whole. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk already applies this logic to many assignments. The trend toward freelance work, self-employment, contract labor, and nontraditional career paths will also continue to accelerate. The Freelancers Union estimates that one in three American workers already does some freelance work; that percentage is likely to increase in the years to come. Of course, this will be a mixed blessing. Many people who want flexibility and freedom to set their own working hours and conditions—artists, students, travelers, working moms, the semi-retired—will thrive in this new environment.

 

pages: 369 words: 90,630

Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want by Nicholas Epley

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affirmative action, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Cass Sunstein, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, friendly fire, invisible hand, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, payday loans, Peter Singer: altruism, pirate software, Richard Thaler, school choice, the scientific method

The next seven lines show the estimated amount of wealth inequality for a variety of different groups, all of whom underestimate the actual amount of inequality. The last seven lines show what these respondents thought was the ideal amount of inequality in the United States; all of them, by large margins, think a more equitable distribution would be more ideal. I thank Mike Norton for sending me these results. 4. I conducted this survey online in the fall of 2012, using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. This is an online crowdsourcing site that coordinates the use of human intelligence for all sorts of tasks that computers are currently unable to perform. It also allows researchers to conduct survey experiments like this one with a reasonably representative sample of respondents. 5. Ashmore, R., and F. Del Boca (1981). Conceptual approaches to stereotypes and stereotyping. In D. Hamilton (ed.), Cognitive processes in stereotyping and intergroup behavior (pp. 1–35).

 

pages: 606 words: 87,358

The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization by Richard Baldwin

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, call centre, Columbian Exchange, Commodity Super-Cycle, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, domestication of the camel, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial intermediation, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Henri Poincaré, imperial preference, industrial robot, invention of agriculture, invention of the telegraph, investor state dispute settlement, Islamic Golden Age, James Dyson, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, paper trading, Pax Mongolica, profit motive, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, Second Machine Age, Skype, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, telerobotics, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, trade route, Washington Consensus

This would be nothing more than an amplification of what is already happening. “Microwork” or “micro-outsourcing” is the ability to get individuals to perform small, disjointed tasks as part of a larger project with all the work taking place over the Web. Virtual presence will make the fractionalization and offshoring much easier to coordinate. Think of it as micro-outsourcing on steroids; for example, something like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk but far more pervasive. Of course, the offshoring of simple, modular services is an old story. All sorts of back-office tasks have been offshored or outsourced already. This could go much further. Leading providers of services ranging from banking to legal advice pay large numbers of expensive people to sit in expensive buildings in expensive cities since in-person interactions matter.

 

pages: 291 words: 81,703

Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, brain emulation, Brownian motion, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deliberate practice, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, Freestyle chess, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Khan Academy, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, meta-analysis, microcredit, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, reshoring, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the trick was to sneak a human chess player inside a machine and pretend to have created a technological marvel—a machine that played a good game of chess. This formed the basis of a sensational traveling exhibition called a Mechanical Turk, which hid a human inside—in a nontransparent manner—using principles now associated with magicians. (If you are wondering, the name of Amazon’s current Mechanical Turk service, which combines man and machine to perform programming tasks, is based on this history.) The machine “operated” from 1770 until its destruction by fire in 1854, although it was exposed as a fake at least as early as 1820. It was originally designed to impress Queen Maria Theresa of Austria, and the contraption is said to have defeated both Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte at chess.

 

pages: 396 words: 117,149

The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World by Pedro Domingos

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3D printing, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Arthur Eddington, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, Black Swan, Brownian motion, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, constrained optimization, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, Douglas Hofstadter, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, future of work, global village, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, information retrieval, job automation, John Snow's cholera map, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, mandelbrot fractal, Mark Zuckerberg, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, NP-complete, P = NP, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, planetary scale, pre–internet, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight

And it’s the reason why social science research is such an uphill battle: if all you have is a sample of a hundred people, with a dozen measurements apiece, all you can model is some very narrow phenomenon. But even this narrow phenomenon does not exist in isolation; it’s affected by a myriad others, which means you’re still far from understanding it. The good news today is that sciences that were once data-poor are now data-rich. Instead of paying fifty bleary-eyed undergraduates to perform some task in the lab, psychologists can get as many subjects as they want by posting the task on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. (It makes for a more diverse sample too.) It’s getting hard to remember, but little more than a decade ago sociologists studying social networks lamented that they couldn’t get their hands on a network with more than a few hundred members. Now there’s Facebook, with over a billion. A good chunk of those members post almost blow-by-blow accounts of their lives too; it’s like having a live feed of social life on planet Earth.

See Artificial intelligence (AI) AIDS vaccine, Bayesian networks and, 159–160 Alchemy, 246–259, 309 Markov logic networks and, 246–250 shortcomings, 255–259 tribes of machine learning and, 250–255 alchemy.cs.washington.edu, 250 Algorithms classifiers, 86–87 complexity monster and, 5–6 defined, 1 designing, 4–5 further readings, 298–299 genetic, 122–128 overview, 1–6 structure mapping, 199–200 See also Machine learning; individual algorithms AlphaDog, 21 Amazon, 198, 266, 291 A/B testing and, 227 data gathering, 211, 271, 272 machine learning and, 11, 12 Mechanical Turk, 14 recommendations, 12–13, 42, 184, 268, 286 Analogical reasoning, 179, 197 Analogizers, 51, 53, 54, 172–173 Alchemy and, 253–254 case-based reasoning, 197–200 dimensionality, 186–190 Master Algorithm and, 240–241 nearest-neighbor algorithm, 178–186 similiarity and, 179 support vector machines, 53, 190–196 symbolists vs., 200–202 Analogy, 175–179, 197–200 AND gate, 96 AND operation, 2 Anna Karenina (Tolstoy), 66 Apple, 272 Aristotle, 58, 64, 72, 178, 243 Artificial intelligence (AI) human control of, 282–284 knowledge engineers and, 35–36 machine learning and, 8, 89–90 ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) design, 49 Asimov, Isaac, 232, 280 Assumptions ill-posed problem and, 64 of learners, 44 learning from finite data and, 24–25 prior, 174 simplifying to reduce number of probabilities, 150 symbolists and, 61–62 Atlantic (magazine), 273–274 AT&T, 272 Attribute selection, 186–187, 188–189 Attribute weights, 189 Auditory cortex, 26 Autoencoder, 116–118 Automation, machine learning and, 10 Automaton, 123 The Average American (O’Keefe), 206 Average member, 206 Axon, 95 Babbage, Charles, 28 Backpropagation (backprop), 52, 104, 107–111, 115, 302 Alchemy and, 252 genetic algorithms vs., 128 neural networks and, 112–114 reinforcement learning and, 222 Bagging, 238 Baldwin, J.

 

pages: 497 words: 144,283

Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, 9 dash line, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, capital controls, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Hyperloop, ice-free Arctic, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, LNG terminal, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, megacity, Mercator projection, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, Panamax, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-oil, post-Panamax, private military company, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, spice trade, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day

THE GLOBAL DIGITAL WORKFORCE At any given time, my wife and I might be employing a Filipino during a typhoon, an Indian during a power outage, a Ukrainian during a war, a Tunisian during an upheaval—and even once a Malaysian unfortunately named Saddam Hussein—to manage our schedules or do Internet searches. They all work on short-term, delivery-based tasks via Upwork, the largest of the mushrooming number of virtual work portals (alongside Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and Freelancer.​com) that collectively provide at least 100 million people with more income than they would otherwise have. While Silicon Valley technology companies employ fewer workers than their industrial-age counterparts such as General Motors, their global services platforms facilitate portable and digital work for the connected masses whether posting advertisements, verifying addresses, photographing for registries, comparing prices for companies, or performing other basic tasks.

 

pages: 292 words: 85,151

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

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23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, ethereum blockchain, Galaxy Zoo, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loose coupling, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, p-value, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator

When Proctor and Gamble needs to know how and where its merchandise is being placed on Walmart shelves around the world, it can use Gigwalk’s platform to instantly deploy thousands of people who are paid a few dollars to walk into Walmart and check the shelves. Results come in within an hour. Staff-on-demand initiatives similar to Gigwalk are springing up everywhere: oDesk, Roamler, Elance, TaskRabbit and Amazon’s venerable Mechanical Turk are platforms where all levels of work, including highly skilled labor, can be outsourced. These companies, which represent just the first wave of this new business model, optimize the concept of paying for performance to lower customer risk. For talented workers, working on and getting paid for multiple projects is a particularly welcome opportunity. But there’s another angle as well: an increase in the diversity of ideas.

 

pages: 265 words: 69,310

What's Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy by Tom Slee

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4chan, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, citizen journalism, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, David Brooks, don't be evil, gig economy, Hacker Ethic, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South of Market, San Francisco, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, ultimatum game, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, Zipcar

 

pages: 379 words: 109,612

Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future by John Brockman

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asperger Syndrome, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, British Empire, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Douglas Engelbart, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of writing, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta-analysis, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Schrödingers cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, social graph, social software, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

Nowadays open-source development moves around in the infosphere and is being improved constantly on whatever side of the planet happens to be in sunshine (and often on the other side as well). There is grandeur in this new way of computer life, where the normal sleep-wake cycle is replaced by the constant churning of silicon and mind. But there is much inherent danger in it as well. Take a look at Amazon’s aptly named Mechanical Turk, and you’ll find an alternative Website where largely profitable enterprises in developed countries offer short-term, badly paid computer jobs to the third world’s poor. For a few pennies, they propose a number of thankless assignments ironically called “human intelligence tasks” that require completing forms, categorizing images, or typing handwritten notes—anything computers still cannot do.

 

pages: 349 words: 95,972

Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford

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affirmative action, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Basel III, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Broken windows theory, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, crowdsourcing, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Erdős number, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, Frank Gehry, game design, global supply chain, Googley, Guggenheim Bilbao, high net worth, income inequality, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Paul Erdős, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Turing test, urban decay

Amazon was saved by a clever finance director, who had arranged a cash flow cushion, and some cobbled-together joint ventures. It had been close. As Brad Stone writes, “Amazon survived through a combination of conviction, improvisation, and luck.”14 Most companies would have retrenched at that point. Instead, over the next few years, Amazon launched products as disparate as the Kindle (which immediately and repeatedly sold out, as Amazon struggled to manufacture it), Mechanical Turk (an unsettlingly named global clearinghouse for labor, which pioneered crowdsourcing but was criticized as being a sweatshop), the Fire Phone (widely reviewed as ugly, weird, and disappointing), Marketplace (where competitors to Amazon would use Amazon’s own product listings to advertise their own cheaper alternatives), and Amazon Web Services. AWS in particular was a bold stroke—a move into cloud computing in 2006, four years ahead of Microsoft’s Azure and six years ahead of Google Compute.

 

pages: 742 words: 137,937

The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard Susskind, Daniel Susskind

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23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Bill Joy: nanobots, business process, business process outsourcing, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, Clapham omnibus, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, disintermediation, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, James Hargreaves, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, lump of labour, Marshall McLuhan, natural language processing, Network effects, optical character recognition, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, Skype, social web, speech recognition, spinning jenny, strong AI, supply-chain management, telepresence, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, young professional

 

pages: 339 words: 88,732

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, Filter Bubble, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, full employment, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, informal economy, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, law of one price, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, payday loans, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, software patent, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telepresence, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

It took a large problem (finding the duplicates among millions of pages), broke it down into many small tasks (are these two pages duplicates?), sent the tasks out to a large group of people, collected their responses, and used them to make progress on the problem (eliminating the duplicates). The software was originally intended only for internal use, but in November of 2005 Amazon released it to the public under the name Mechanical Turk, in honor of a famous eighteenth-century chess-playing ‘robot’ that turned out to have a human inside it.25 The Mechanical Turk software was similar to this automaton in that it too appeared to accomplish tasks automatically, but in reality made use of human labor. It was an example of what Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos called “artificial artificial intelligence,” and another way for people to race with machines, although not one with particularly high wages.26 Mechanical Turk, which quickly became popular, was an early instance of what came to be called crowdsourcing, defined by communications scholar Daren Brabham as “an online, distributed problem-solving and production model.”27 This model is interesting because instead of using technology to automate a process, crowdsourcing makes it deliberately labor intensive.

 

pages: 320 words: 87,853

The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information by Frank Pasquale

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Atul Gawande, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, bonus culture, Brian Krebs, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, financial innovation, Flash crash, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, High speed trading, hiring and firing, housing crisis, informal economy, information retrieval, interest rate swap, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, kremlinology, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Mark Zuckerberg, mobile money, moral hazard, new economy, Nicholas Carr, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, precariat, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, risk-adjusted returns, search engine result page, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steven Levy, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, two-sided market, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, WikiLeaks

But note Matt Yglesias on how this ultimately helped Apple, and the fundamental lesson: nobody gets displaced, it’s just a clash of titans over market share. Matthew Yglesias, “A Great iOS Google Maps Product Vindicates Apple’s Strategy,” Slate MoneyBox (blog), December 13, 2012, http://www.slate.com /blogs /moneybox /2012/12/13/ios _google _maps _if _it _s _great _thank _apple _s _strat egy.html. 213. Labor experts have sharply criticized Amazon’s labor practices both online (at its Mechanical Turk platform) and its warehouses. Trebor Scholz, ed., Digital Labor: The Internet as Factory and Playground (New York: Routledge, 2013). 214. Norman Solomon, “If Obama Orders the CIA to Kill a U.S. Citizen, Amazon Will Be a Partner in Assassination,” Alternet, February 12, 2014, http://www.alternet.org/print /news-amp-politics/if-obama-orders-cia-kill-us -citizen-amazon-will-be-partner-assassination. 215.

 

pages: 299 words: 91,839

What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis

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23andMe, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Anne Wojcicki, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business process, call centre, cashless society, citizen journalism, clean water, connected car, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, don't be evil, fear of failure, Firefox, future of journalism, Google Earth, Googley, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Mark Zuckerberg, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, peer-to-peer lending, post scarcity, prediction markets, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, social software, social web, spectrum auction, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, web of trust, Y Combinator, Zipcar

He sells his retail services to other merchants, sending them customers online and taking a cut, in some cases warehousing and shipping their inventory and charging for the services. He also took the computer infrastructure he had to build and offered it to any company as a low-cost, pay-as-you-go service: computing power, storage, databases, and a mechanism for paying programmers. Countless companies now use Amazon Web Services as their backend, foregoing or at least forestalling investments in computers and software. Amazon has also created the infrastructure for an on-demand workforce called Mechanical Turk (named after a phony chess-playing automaton from 1769 that had a human chess master hidden inside). Companies post a repetitive task to be done and anyone can earn money—as little as one cent per task—by verifying the address in a picture, for example, or categorizing content. It’s a flexible marketplace for labor. With all these services, Amazon is supporting a wave of entrepreneurial effort.

 

pages: 391 words: 105,382

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr

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Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Kevin Kelly, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator