In this blog we have talked about the amazon affiliate program , the Kdp platform or the famous createspace tool , all of them dedicated to monetize our different creations whether they are web content or our publications taken to physical books or in e-book format
To the set of tools that Amazon puts at our disposal to help us monetize our work (obviously in exchange for a percentage of 10% for the use of the platform), we will add a fourth tool based on crowdfunding, the Mechanical Turk platform , the which allows people to receive a small compensation for specific actions.
No doubt we should be surprised by the strange name of Mechanical Turk , which owes this to the character Wolfgang von Kempelen that left the Europeans stunned by creating a “fake” mechanical automaton named Turk because he apparently played chess using “artificial intelligence” to beat practically any opponent (it is said that he came to win Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte).
We talked about a fake automaton behind the life-size wooden mannequin that sat behind a small closet where it housed a network of mechanisms: cogwheels and springs that “made” his invention work and, above all , hid a well-hidden chess expert in its interior: hence Mechanical Turk has a very appropriate name, because although apparently results are obtained from machines, in reality they are obtained from hundreds of thousands of humans who do the work in parallel and sometimes in minutes .
We see how Mechanical Turk is a crowdsourcing platform to which companies, universities and research centers turn for labor (cheap) where plaintiffs publish simple tasks for registered users (around 500,000) as workers, always through a computer and providing them with the necessary tools.
The platform offers compensation to users who complete these microtareas or in English HIT (Human Intelligence Tasks) , that is human intelligence tasks proposed by companies that do not have personnel to carry them out and that thanks to this platform are possible because it has virtually available microtrailers who can perform these tasks in clear change of “micropayments”
In each HIT, at least the following concepts are specified:
- Definition of the task
- Desired output (especially its format)
- How the work items are displayed
- Amount of remuneration
- Everything relevant
If we ask about that microtareas we refer to tasks that a machine can not do today as for example:
- Transcriptions of locutions to text
- Opinions about products
- Processing of photographs or videos (label objects select the best, audit images based on content, classify objects, etc)
- Verification or data cleanups
- Information gathering
- Data processing
Regarding the compensation, these microtareas is a function of complexity, but unfortunately they are not very high ( in fact there is a documentary that deals with the precariousness of these workers), since they can range between 2 and 20 cents of dollar per completed task .
If the work is of quality you can access offers with a higher compensation; if not, whoever carries out the order has the right to deny them the money. Amazon, on the other hand, takes a commission of 10% of the total paid by the employer.
Apart from these “office” tasks there are very interesting examples that have used or use this platform as they are experiments in social sciences, artistic and educational research or even in the search for missing persons
At the sw level, Amazon also offers an Application Programming Interface ( API ) for web services for developers to use to send tasks to the Amazon Mechanical Turk website, approve completed tasks and incorporate responses to their applications.
For these types of applications, the transaction looks similar to any remote procedure call: the application sends the request and the service provides the results.