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March 5, 2009

The Largest Workforce in the World

Crowdsourcing is a relatively new term which refers to contract work which is outsourced to a large community of people through an open call. Generally, it's a tool for tapping into human knowledge and expertise to provide data for web applications. Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a web service which works through crowdsourcing, publishing HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks) which can be claimed and completed by Workers for small cash payments.

Nathan Eagle, a research scientist at MIT and the Santa Fe Institute, is launching a cell phone-based system similar to Mechanical Turk. The txteagle system will distribute tasks via cell phones, with the goal of employing people in poorer parts of the world. Its charter is "Empowering the largest knowledge workforce on Earth." Sample tasks include translation of phrases to other languages, rating the relevance of search results, and transcribing audio clips.

According to Eagle, the goal for txteagle is to start small and measure how well the model works before expanding. Through grant money, he would like to start service in Rwanda, Kenya, Bolivia, and the Dominican Republic within the next year.

Posted by BlogAuthor1 at March 5, 2009 4:15 PM
category: Human Creativity

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