Programming the Masses with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

Some notes I took while watching Jeff Barr’s presentation at XTech:

  • Mass social-engineering: Hacking people by assigning them tasks.
  • You can request certain skills/knowledge. Can you request geographical location? religious/political affiliation?
  • Limited by cost? Might be able to buy large amounts of people/tasks by the stay-at-home workers, etc.
  • Amazon only requires that users agree to abide by their license, and hands off responsibility for obeying local and international laws to the users.

Two classes of people likely do Turk-tasks:

  1. The minority will be those with very specialized knowledge, doing analysis for high pay.
  2. The majority will be poor and uneducated, doing tasks that require little or no skills, for low pay.

The key is finding axes of maximum paradigmatic effectiveness: Images or documents that elicit a gut-level reaction in the receiver, thereby planting a seed for consciousness change.

  • Read and analyze negative/positive materials
  • View images that contain embedded or subliminal messaging

Could do this for whatever your particular cause or goal: political, religious, lifestyle (eg: vegan-ism) and marketing.

Also, it might be an interesting platform for doing market-research.