The humans behind Mechanical Turk?s artificial intelligence (now available without having to pay to read it)
Manish Bhatia, a 29-year-old IT worker in New Delhi, recently married. To make some extra cash to support his new lifestyle, he knows where to turn: completing tasks on Amazon?s Mechanical Turk, an online marketplace for chores that are done by people sitting in front of a computer.
One of the chores Mr Bhatia worked on through Mechanical Turk involved identifying ?pins? for Pinterest, the online pinboard. He would be shown a photo ? or pin ? and then choose other pins that were similar to it, enabling Pinterest?s artificial intelligence engines to get better at predicting the pins a user will like.
?We are the intelligence behind that artificial intelligence,? Mr Bhatia says with a hint of pride. ?I feel excited to be a part of it, [even though] you might be just a small cog in the whole wheel.?
?Amazon sells us as an algorithm,? says Kristy Milland, who runs an online forum for Turkers and has been working on the platform since 2010. ?We are not even real human intelligence, we are fake fake intelligence, which is offensive.?