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Crowdsourcing Makes an API For Human Intelligence

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the if-intelligence-were-common-we'd-all-have-it dept.

AI 123

holy_calamity writes "A startup called MobileWorks claims to offer human-level intelligence to any piece of software, with APIs for image, text or speech processing that crowdsource tasks to workers in India. Unlike Amazon's Mechanical Turk, jobs can be sent in by software without human help and can also be completed in 'real time' with a turnaround of a few seconds. The company claims that for problems like OCR and image recognition it makes more sense to find ways to use human intelligence than developing complex custom algorithms." Not a bad plan — sounds like they've lifted a page from the business model of captcha-cracking spammers.

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API for Outsourcing? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248292)

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I repeat: you nigga is stupid.

Re:API for Outsourcing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248348)

Neat! The cut-up method lives on!

Re:API for Outsourcing? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248380)

That's what you get for crowdsourcing your first post.

Crap.

Same as other crowdsourcing.

Re:API for Outsourcing? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248564)

Real talk...

Somebody seems to have misappropriated Governor Perry's speech-writing application.

Re:API for Outsourcing? (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248684)

Dude haven't you read about the attention deficit computers are causing, you think i can read all that text?!

Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (4, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248318)

that crowdsource tasks to workers in India.

Say, I have this great idea for harvesting more cotton by "crowdsourcing" the task to imported workers from Africa...

Or does this "merely" mean that child labor has "shifted paradgms" from a reason to boycott a company, to a patentable business method?

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248440)

Doing a dull job voluntarily for a salary you agree to is not the same as slavery or abuse.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248460)

Right, you do have a lot of bargaining power when your whole family is dying of hunger.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweatshop [wikipedia.org]

I'm sure the workers all agreed to their salary.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248544)

Then they can go starve, or try and hunt an animal for food in the woods. They are not chained and whipped while told to crowdsource tasks. It is not an inborn human right to have someone give you food to eat.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (2)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248792)

Interestingly, there's quite a lot in the UN Declaration of Human Rights [un.org] but food only comes under Article 25, talking about maintaining an adequate standard of living. None the less, it's still in there.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248918)

I think we should add the right to cable TV (with HBO) and the right to free beer. What? Simply declaring that you have the right to something doesn't make it magically appear? Fine, let's start arresting people that violate my rights to whatever I want. ME! ME! ME! MINE! MINE! MINE! WAHHHHH!!!

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248794)

Yea, a government making sure its citizens don't starve is socialist commie thinking, all hail the free market, saviour of the world.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248964)

Yea, a government making sure its citizens don't starve is socialist commie thinking, all hail the free market, saviour of the world.

If you don't work and nobody gives you any food because you're just a lazy piece of shit, you starve. I see no problem.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (2)

S77IM (1371931) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249180)

What if there are no woods because they've been logged, and no hills because they've been strip mined, and no fields because they're private property, and no beach to fish because it's been turned into condos for foreigners? Or, what if there are woods, but not enough animals there to support you and the other 142 million people who want to eat them too?

  -- 77IM

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37250008)

Then there are lots of people with jobs doing all those things. Why are you sitting on your lazy ass?

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248556)

This is a tricky topic. Are people better off in an abusive employment relationship than in none at all? The fact that anyone agrees to enter one seems to suggest "yes", but there are all sorts of ways an employer might have indirect control over the other factors in their workers' lives which contribute to the duress which compels them to work. It's fraught with moral hazards. :(

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250794)

Very true. Bottom line is that it takes two things to make a decent work available. An economy that makes it worthwhile employing people, and legislation to make sure that working conditions and levels of pay are reasonable.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (2)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248754)

You would have to assume the kind of workers being hired for this work have literacy and numeracy skills that mark them out as being above the physical-labor-sweatshop conditions that you're referring to there. The most likely employees for this work are middle-class mothers with some education background - at least high school - and with some free time while raising the kids. Who are you to begrudge someone to earn a little money for their time?

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (2)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249066)

So, I take it you have a better plan for how to take large amounts of money from developed countries (which are generally democracies, ruled by the stingy masses), and give them to people who need it?

Remember 20 years ago, when Taiwan was a sweatshop, and all your cheap plastic toys came from there? Now they are as well off as Hong Kong (i.e. close to the US in living standards, without the US's fucked up health system).

India might take longer to close the gap, but it will happen. Countries that don't trade with richer countries (say, North Korea) will take far longer to develop.

It *is* a very complex thing, though. But you can be pretty certain that anyone who says "Globalization is slavery" is even *more* wrong than the fools who say "More trade is always better".

In this case, the work is relatively safe, isn't causing much pollution, and isn't stripping finite resources. Compared to what mining companies do in poor countries, it seems like a good kind of trade.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37251450)

Taiwan (and mainland China after them, and Japan before them) developed industry, and infrastructure, and education, and science that come with it. Sure, people wanted money from exporting industrial products, but the real trick was that they have developed things that are usable locally.

India has a huge chunk of its "export" in things that no one really can use locally, but foreigners can pay for -- call center script monkeys that basically shoo customers away without formally denying support, ultra-low-reliability software development, etc. It produces nothing but a stream of people trying to get into countries where those "services" are consumed (and then disappointment at seeing that no one wants to pay for it once they are there).

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248612)

You've made two claims there that you have no evidence for.

1. That they're doing this voluntarily. Acquiescing to coercion and deprivation is not volition, no matter how much the abuser wants it to be.

2. That they agree to the salary. Ask people if they think their pay is fair. Most will say it is not, but what choice do they have?

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (3, Insightful)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248674)

You've made two claims there that you have no evidence for.

1. That they're not doing this voluntarily.

2. That they don't agree to the salary.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249018)

An AC made the original assertion, "Doing a dull job voluntarily for a salary you agree to is not the same as slavery or abuse."

Blair1q countered by pointing out that the AC has no evidence that the workers are doing the job voluntarily or that they agree with their wages.

You can't then counter that by saying, "but they might!"

Burden of proof lies with those who make the initial argument, not with those you happen to disagree with.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249174)

Wrong, burden of proof lies on whoever makes the least likely assertion.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249268)

AC was replying to the implication that crowdsourcing is analogous to slavery, or that this involves child labor, without any evidence or data to substantiate the claim. AC's point was that these guys are getting paid for a job they signed up for - Blair1q seemed to imply this was not the case.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249710)

It seems that people never get taken advantage of in your world. I used to believe that I would get a fair deal if I worked hard, and learnt the hard way that that is not so, because sociopathy seems to be a trait of management. Strange how the "Just World" hypothesis works.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37250092)

AC's point was that these guys are getting paid for a job they signed up for - Blair1q seemed to imply this was not the case.

By that logic, I should be able to whore out any woman for my profit. She keeps 20% and I keep the rest as a consultant fee for obtaining clients for her.

Wait, that would be illegal, wouldn't it? I believe the term for this position is not entrepreneur, but pimp.

Or do you support this?

Yes, there is a logical fallacy in the initial argument, but your counterargument has just as many. Just because someone consents to work, doesn't mean that they will not be exploited or abused. I can appreciate that you want a burden of proof, but I think you need to re-examine your stance as far as what you advocate for.

Every year it seems another one of "you" crawls out of the woodwork, astroturfing for an idea that doesn't happen in reality. Every year, I get to hear about how "fair" it is that people have a choice between starving or working in horrible conditions, yet the same people making this claim are so quick to point out how "life's not fair". Really, I'm tired of the semantical bullshit used to cover up what you really are - a closet fascist, and a poorly disguised one at that.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

chord.wav (599850) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248492)

+1 Make parent sticky please.

Crowdsourcing: Slavery 2.0 with a social component, taken to the cloud. You don't even have to own your slaves anymore, we take the burden of having to feed and shelter them from you! Also, it's much more scalable, you don't know how well your cotton field is going to do, so you can start with one and scale up blazing fast when you need more! And you only pay for what you use from them.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249092)

It's done on a computer, why not disguise the worker's end of the project as a game? Then you make a Facebook app out of it. Instead of working for money, they get points. With enough points they can dress up their little cartoon character in some virtual swag and do other things in associated mini-games. Of course this is done while keeping in mind to exploit the other aspects of social media and some people's competitive nature. Also if you package it just right, not only can you get free labor but you might even be able to fool people into paying you to do your work.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37250220)

Orson Scott, whatever are you doing on Slashdot rehashing your old books?

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37251362)

If you were able to make a game enjoyable enough and successful enough to be able to do this you will make far more money selling said game then from crowd sourcing aspect of it.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37251418)

Good business model, Is there any patent on that?

If you didn't post as AC your post could be used as prior art, you may have missed a business of a lifetime.

(Almost for sure that somebody will try a stunt like that one of this days... if is not already on the move)

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

snero3 (610114) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248514)

Agree, your point is really well written.

I would mod you up but I don't have mod point. Hmm maybe that is a job for "MobileWorks"

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248538)

If you notice, dildo chipped, cracked or stained, throw it away! Be careful not to put toys in the vagina after the Pooper, was not my first. It 'best to use a condom with toys, and even vegetables such as cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant and pumpkin.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (5, Informative)

prayag (1252246) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248584)

I will just leave this here http://www.mobileworks.com/fairtradework.html [mobileworks.com] Full disclosure: I am one of the founders.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248626)

I will just leave this here http://www.mobileworks.com/fairtradework.html [mobileworks.com] [mobileworks.com] Full disclosure: I am one of the founders.

If not just a PR talking point, then I sincerely wish you the best of luck.

I see this as a much too slippery slope to tread lightly, though.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (3, Informative)

prayag (1252246) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248670)

It's not. We believe that paying fair wages would improve the quality of the work which is a very import value proposition for us.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249364)

If this is anything like Digital Divide Data [digitaldividedata.org] , then I wish you the best of luck. We studied the HBR case study [hbr.org] (sorry, paywall) in one of my MBA classes, the prof was friends with one of the founders, they are doing good things.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249368)

What is a "fair wage?" Locale, currency and quantity thereof per hour only, please.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

prayag (1252246) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249600)

Yes. We take care of all of the above. Locale, currency etc.

I don't believe that was the question. (4, Interesting)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249774)

If you are going to make a statement of fair trade and wages, it should be a trivial task to state that in precise terms. It is a fair question to ask, what a typical quantity of hours and remuneration your company considers "fair" in a given locale, say, Delhi, where roughly 300 INR / day (roughly 6 USD) is the legal minimum wage for labor requiring a secondary or higher education. If you cannot directly speak to that in terms that can be reconciled with the local prevailing labor standards, your vague marketing language assurances on the topic are quite worthless.

Re:I don't believe that was the question. (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250718)

From the page he gives, the system is under development. Quantifying a fair wage taking into account locales and currency is far from a trivial problem. So it seems quite reasonable that the answer isn't yet finalised and it's something they want to announce when they're ready.

Whilst you're right that there's nothing we can judge here until those details are announced, the tone of your message does seem to be rather negative. The desire to pay fair wages is something that should be encouraged, not something that should cause one to be treated with suspicion over. When (and if) this is a going concern, and the details are known, then is the time to judge.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249936)

ERROR 666 -- an expression of type double or int per time unit was expected, but type "string of political BS" was provided.

Error message generated by Slashsource (TM)--ouch! Taco, quit beating me.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250278)

I'd feel better about it if you quantified anything. There ain't many companies around who do -not- claim to pay fair wages, but there's widely differing opinions about what is "fair".

Your "pricing" page says nothing about prices, and you "fair wages" page says absolutely nothing about wages. Without a firm public commitment, it's impossible for prospective customers to judge your estimate of fair.

So, what is "fair" wages to you ?

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248672)

Isn't the second quote that he makes enough many to survive month by month?

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

prayag (1252246) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248720)

He is talking about his first job. MobileWorks is like a second job for him which he can do from anywhere.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

thiswillbegreat (2448736) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249152)

Well, that is definitely a step in the right direction. What processes are in place to ensure that people are actually doing the work well? That's a big problem with Mechanical Turk.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

prayag (1252246) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249280)

First of all treating your workers fairly, providing them support and helping them if they are stuck. We have a number of algorithms in place on top of that to make sure that the answers are high quality.

Solution to underemployment (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249570)

You are going to have a very difficult time convincing advocates of "fair trade" that the solution to economies rife with fractional employment and piecework is more fractional employment and piecework.

Re:Solution to underemployment (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250764)

For poor people we call it "fractional employment and piecework"
For the working class we call it contracting.
For the middle class we call it consulting or freelancing.

Surely the classic problem in the third world is not the mechanics of payment for work done. It's that they are poor because there is little work and/or the work is poorly paid. New fair trade initiatives DO incrementally tackle these problems regardless of whether they are piece work, hourly paid or salaried.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249726)

I don't trust shapeshifters.

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250322)

Well, since you chose to advertise here, you can perhaps answer several questions.

How do you define the "sustainable" word that appears on your page? What does it mean, technically, in monetary terms? Minimum wage? X% over minimum wage? "Enough to sustain a person at poverty line +X% if he works 8 hours a day for us"? Or something else? Since you brag about it, you owe us some explanation. Without it your website looks like so much buzzword-compliant PR.

Are you considered an employer to the people who are "crowdsourcing" behind your API? By their government? Are you taxed on par with everyone else over there? Are you paying any kind of benefits on behalf of your "sustainably" employed workers, or do you free ride on whatever the local taxes are covering?

You mention you employ "engineers" and "medical students". If your project is indeed "sustainable", you should ensure not only that the people you hire can live "sustainable" lives (which, in the absence of other definitions basically means not starve to death), but pay enough so that their society as a whole can recoup the marginal expense for education, etc. on every dollar of revenue that you're paying them. When you say "sustainable" and claim "social mission", how do you factor those social costs into the wages that you pay?

How you determine what is "fair"? Do you just put a "task" and a "wage" and let people hire themselves? How do you manage shortage or excess of labor?

Your site mentions that your service helps people "develop" skills. From reading the page, which is rather thin on detail, it seems you claim to do so because you "keep the workforce happy". Excuse me, but that sounds like so much bullshit and PR. Can you give specific examples beside the "trickle-down" logic that you assume?

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250334)

the problem is the scale, checking it up that people use it for financing their little girls education instead of using their little girls for the work is expensive and nigh impossible.

quick tip: that fair trade work page is cliche to the max with NOTHING OF SUBSTANCE, so if you're serious about the fairness add up some examples of actual pay for what kind of work. I mean, if you're not going to just sell captcha busting at floor bottom slavery prices.. More importantly, if it's not such slave work and the tasks are fit for daylight, where do I sign up as a crowd sourced worker?

Re:Why not Chinese prisoners? Even cheaper! (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249432)

that crowdsource tasks to workers in India.

Say, I have this great idea for harvesting more cotton by "crowdsourcing" the task to imported workers from Africa...

Or does this "merely" mean that child labor has "shifted paradgms" from a reason to boycott a company, to a patentable business method?

Of course this business model could be abused to exploit people, but would this one be more likely to result in abuse than tech support or clothing manufacture?

Doesn't sound very promising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248344)

I've had the misfortune of calling tech support centers located in India. These people had trouble following the simple scripts they were no doubt provided. That's a basic case of reading what's shown on a screen. How can we expect them to do tasks that are more complex than that?

Re:Doesn't sound very promising. (4, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248494)

Tech support wasn't much better when it was done in the US, in the 1980's. You got the same morons but they cost ten times more. The problem is not India, it's the type of person who lands a job in tech support.

Re:Doesn't sound very promising. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248652)

That's not true at all. I first got into PCs in the 1980s. My background was in physics, rather than computing, so there was a lot I didn't know. Furthermore, the Internet as we know it today didn't exist then, so calling tech support was often the only option.

I can think of at least 8 times that I called various companies' American tech support lines for hardware and software problems, and got help right away, without waiting on hold forever, and without going through a script of stupid questions. I vividly recall one time when I had to call a compiler vendor about a bug in their compiler, within minutes the tech had confirmed the problem, and he actually called me back the next day with a workaround. That was well into the 1990s.

This just doesn't happen today. You're lucky if you don't sit on the phone for hours on end. Then you end up getting somebody claiming to be named "Steve", although he has a very heavy Hindi accent. He walks you through numerous useless diagnostics steps that don't help at all. Finally he says, "Sir, I am unable to be of help to you today. I will be promptly transferring you to second level support." Then the line goes dead because he "accidentally" hangs up.

Re:Doesn't sound very promising. (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248698)

I have to agree. The 80's and early 90's tech support was superb compared to today. I was often able to get a completely new compiled app from the vendor within 4-6 hours of reporting an issue with them. Even calling Microsoft was easy and you were likely to actually get to talk to the coders involved with the product itself on the phone if you did your due diligence at determining the problem.

Re:Doesn't sound very promising. (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248904)

Heck, back in the late 70s I called up Microsoft with an question about BASIC and Gates answered the phone and the question.

Can't say THAT ever happened again.

Re:Doesn't sound very promising. (1)

thePuck77 (1311533) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250562)

Did he ask you if you actually paid for it?

Re:Doesn't sound very promising. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249668)

This is Steve, and I am about to pitch a cow with my anger over your bad characterization of my good service you stupid fat man.

Re:Doesn't sound very promising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249514)

Sometimes it's the type of person that calls into tech support as well. Communication is a two way street. Both sides have to be open to the act for it to be successful.

Re:Doesn't sound very promising. (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 2 years ago | (#37251124)

I had the fortune of calling an Asian tech support center for my work (dunno where the center actually is). Apart from a very heavy accent there were no big hurdles. He knew what he was doing and fixed it fast. The next question was solved over MS Communicator (the official chat program here) and thus the accent problem disappeared.
These were some IT related requests.

Now's the time to ask ourselves... (1)

MoleyGhost (1065694) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248362)

Are we Emergents, or are we Qeng Ho?

Re:Now's the time to ask ourselves... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249418)

We are DEVO.

Great unless... (1)

brim4brim (2343300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248366)

You don't want your data actually being seen by someone somewhere which is the case in many business applications I would think.

Re:Great unless... (1)

prayag (1252246) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249474)

We recommend developers to divide data into very small micro-tasks that makes sure that the quality is high and takes care of the privacy concerns. This is what we do in applications we develop in-house.

Re:Great unless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37250712)

Please stop dodging every attempt to obtain actual information from you while pimping your product in every third comment. You've done nothing but shit PR and spin all over this page.

Temporary Solution (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248368)

This is only really a viable solution while labor is cheap. As soon as labor gets more expensive so do costs. It won't take much to make it cheaper to hire part time minimum wage help to solve the same problems...

Re:Temporary Solution (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37251546)

Solution: keep people in poverty, prevent local economy from developing, pay local elite generously so they will help you to enslave the rest of the population.

termination (1)

weedwhacker (1146417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248390)

will kill -9 still work if they run astray?

Scaling (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248400)

Sort of defeats the purpose though, doesnt it? The reason you would want software to do OCR is that the software is (almost) infinitely scalable. Humans are not. And if you are trying to break a captcha or something like that, even *a few seconds"(though I find their claim a bit dubious) still severely limits your effectiveness vs. smart software that can do it in a few microseconds.

Very obvious, very wrong (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248420)

Kinda obvious innit? You could easily have a normal website which from time to time pops up a question or whatever which you could answer for 5c or whatever. Easy job for poor people to do.

But this is not technology is supposed to work innit?

"innit" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248654)

Maybe you can crowdsource your post to India to make it readable next time!

Douglas Adams Correct (4, Insightful)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248428)

People will never be replaced by robots, because people are cheaper and you don't need to fix them when they break

Re:Douglas Adams Correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248800)

Actually... healthcare is probably more expensive than fixing a mechanical instrument. You can put bids out for the lowest repairer while in the medical field prices are jacked higher to maintain a constant level of income to the health care industry.

Re:Douglas Adams Correct (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249072)

You would be right, if our rulers gave a rat's ass about our health. I don't know what country you live in, but in the good ole US of A, roughly half our government is devoted to torpedoing the wildly popular public options while deregulating the private companies so that they can rape us even more in the future.

We're going back to the Gilded age. If you're not in the top 1%, you are disposable. Work till you can't work no more, then kindly find a hole to die in.

Re:Douglas Adams Correct (1)

trickyD1ck (1313117) | more than 2 years ago | (#37251040)

God forbid you take responsibility of your health.

Re:Douglas Adams Correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37251310)

Says the rich guy.

Re:Douglas Adams Correct (1)

S77IM (1371931) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249104)

Who needs healthcare? Just replace your aging human with one of the newer, higher-efficiency models that become available every year.

  -- 77IM

Re:Douglas Adams Correct (2)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249916)

India will catch up in this area too...they're already the diabetic capital of the world [upenn.edu] , importing American style lifestyle diseases at a good clip. All they're really missing now is a good corn industry subsidy so that they can make everything with high-fructose corn syrup in it!

Re:Douglas Adams Correct (1)

PmanAce (1679902) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249090)

That is called sick days...and guess who pays? ;)

Re:Douglas Adams Correct (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249310)

Lots of sick days for outsourced employees in the developing world, eh?

Re:Douglas Adams Correct (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249650)

In the US, the employee does!

Re:Douglas Adams Correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249162)

People will never be replaced by robots, because people are cheaper and you don't need to fix them when they break

I wish I had mod points. You deserve it sir or ma'am

(Captcha was 'Chromium')

Re:Douglas Adams Correct (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250362)

People will never be replaced by robots, because people are cheaper and you don't need to fix them when they break

hahahahahahahaahah. but people who build robots build other things cheaper and better. see ford vs. vw.

sounds like they've lifting?! (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248444)

really timothy? really?!!!!

maybe you should crowdsource your spelling and grammar checking to India.

Re:sounds like they've lifting?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37250256)

He did. That's the problem.

Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248452)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbows_End

Great shades of Diamond Age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248512)

Neal Stephenson, thou art our Prophet...

I, for one, look forward to being hired as the voice for Nell's copy of the Guide.

human intelligence (-1, Offtopic)

nagidr (1986846) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248560)

it makes me happy to know there is still some advantages to use human intelligence than developing complex custom algorithms cheap phones for sale [cheapphonesforsale.org]

We Can Recognize It For You Wholesale (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248628)

No need to remember anything anymore. Sorry, Phil.

But I'm just ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248742)

... a communications channel to my gut bacteria [slashdot.org] .

One Problem (1)

SCVirus (774240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248840)

The website states it pays 'Fair Trade' wages. I'll wait for the version that pays 'market' wages, and passes the slavings on to you.

Future-proof (1)

Clifton Beach (809210) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249038)

An interesting aspect of this concept is that it is fairly future-proof. Without changing the API, the company can change seamlessly the internal processes:
First getting humans to do tasks that are difficult for computers (like audio transcripts).
As computers improve in capability the humans can check the transcripts performed by computers, and use the feedback to improve further the capability of the computers.
And finally let the computers do the task without supervision and/or sell the software that has been developed to do it.

solve capcha api? (1)

typo-lfm (2449572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249442)

So this seem designed for breaking capchas. Are they going to try to restrict the OCR function or ???

Re:solve capcha api? (1)

prayag (1252246) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249478)

We vet tasks (and developers) before they are posted to the live crowd.

Manna, by Marshall Brain (1)

femto (459605) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249504)

In what way is MobileWorks different to this [marshallbrain.com] ?

It sounds a little cruel (1)

jprupp (697660) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250508)

But a worker that accepts one of these positions probably has nothing better, as as the saying goes: better crowdsourcing than no-sourcing.

Interesting development (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37251682)

A couple of years ago I was involved with a project doing large-scale digitalization on old texts; we found that having it typed up by humans in India was more accurate than the OCR software we had available. We developed some software to streamline this process (mainly a dedicated editor that provided the markup we needed without unneccessary clutter).

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