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Automating Invention is Robert Plotkin's blog on the impact of computer-automated inventing on the future of invention and patent law.
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April 29, 2009
The In Crowd
In an article in the March 2009 issue of the Communications of the ACM titled "Crowd Control," Leah Hoffman looks at the growing popularity of computer crowdsourcing applications. Crowdsourcing leverages the abilities of the human mind which aren't easily replicated by computers, including visual cognition and language processing. Crowdsourcing applications distribute tasks related to these abilities, attracting workers by using online games or by paying a small fee for completion of a task.
Crowdsourcing first received widespread recognition with the publication in 2004 of James Surowiecki's best-selling book The Wisdom of Crowds. The oldest and most well-known crowdsourcing application is Amazon's Mechanical Turk, which is a web-based platform which allows 'workers' to complete micro-tasks and receive payment (which is usually also 'micro').
Consulting companies are now available to help businesses and individuals interface with Mechanical Turk. Dolores Labs, based in San Francisco, sets up Mechanical Turk tasks for clients, then validates the results for quality and meaning. For more details on how crowdsourcing works, see the ACM article.
Read an earlier post about crowdsourcing here.
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