Tech UPTechnologyWho are the turkers?

Who are the turkers?

Humans are still superior to machines in many, many jobs, and the so-called turkers prove it. Its nickname derives from Mechanical Turk, an Amazon service that allows people from all over the world to be outsourced to complete specific tasks. Amazon was inspired for the name by the original Mechanical Turk, an 18th-century machine created by Wolfgang von Kempelen that masterfully played chess.

After deceiving aristocrats and businessmen in Europe and the United States, Von Kempelen had to reveal his secret. Inside the automaton was hiding an excellent flesh and blood chess player who moved the pieces of the board with levers. The usefulness of Amazon's Mechanical Turk is that it makes it possible to automate tasks. If we want, for example, to tag thousands of photos or to transcribe texts, a computer can have problems, but a human cannot. If, in addition, these jobs can be distributed among several people, the efficiency increases.

These small tasks are very poorly paid for the living standards of certain countries – euro cents are charged for labeling a photograph with the elements that appear in it, for example – but in developing regions, where the cost of living is minor, they can be an important source of income.

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