Wired: A Bot Panic Hits Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

Wired: A Bot Panic Hits Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. “FOR THE PAST week, psychologists all over America have been freaking out. The cause of their agita was an observation by a psychology graduate student from the University of Minnesota named Max Hui Bai. Like many researchers, Bai uses Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform, where individuals sign up to complete simple tasks, such as taking surveys for academics or marketers, and earn a low fee. On Tuesday, August 7, he posed a simple question in a Facebook group for psychology researchers: ‘Have anyone used Mturk in the last few weeks and notice any quality drop?’”

Wired: The Quest To Recreate The Olympics With Mechanical Turk

Wired: The Quest To Recreate The Olympics With Mechanical Turk. “SHAMIK GHOSH HAD been picking up tasks on Amazon Mechanical Turk for several months when he logged on in winter 2010 and saw a perplexing request: Someone wanted him to act out a series of Winter Olympic sports—snowboarding, ice hockey, figure skating, etc.—and they were offering to pay him $3.50 for every video that he uploaded to YouTube. Given that conceptualizing, filming, and uploading a video would take 10 minutes at most, that came out to an hourly wage of about $21—an immense sum for the microtask platform, where the average wage as of 2017 was $2/hour. And unlike most tasks on Mechanical Turk, this one actually seemed … fun.”

Wired: Amazon’s Turker Crowd Has Had Enough

Wired: Amazon’s Turker Crowd Has Had Enough. “Today, MTurk is more important than it’s ever been. Its crowd-work model has been adopted by Silicon Valley’s biggest companies to train AI algorithms, spot fake news, and keep violent content off of social media. In the long run, AI might take these jobs over—but right now humans are very much needed for tasks like cleaning and categorizing data. Turkers know they’re in demand, and some are losing patience with Amazon. For over a decade, activist-minded Turkers have been rallying for change, with little success. Meanwhile, other platforms in the gig economy have begun inching toward improvement—just in the past few months, Uber has added in-app tipping, and Postmates and Lyft have come out in support of legislation to help develop portable benefits programs for workers. Many Turkers feel that it’s long past time for a crowd work overhaul.”

TechRepublic – Inside Amazon’s clickworker platform: How half a million people are being paid pennies to train AI

This is a long article, but I think it’s worth your time. From TechRepublic: Inside Amazon’s clickworker platform: How half a million people are being paid pennies to train AI. “[Kristy] Milland is one of more than 500,000 “Turkers”—contract workers who perform small tasks on Amazon’s digital platform, which they refer to as “mTurk.” The number of active workers, who live across the globe, is estimated to run between 15,000 and 20,000 per month, according to Panos Ipeirotis, a computer scientist and professor at New York University’s business school. Turkers work anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours a day.”

Who Are The Workers Behind Amazon’s Mechanical Turk?

Who are the workers behind Amazon’s Mechanical Turk? Actually, it’s kind of depressing. “Data collected by Pew from February of this year say that 51 percent of Mechanical Turkers have a college degree, compared with 36 percent of the adult U.S. workforce. Additionally, 52 percent of Turkers make less than $5 per hour on a job (the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour), and 39 percent earn between $5 per hour and $7.99 per hour.”