John Ben DeVette's Blog

Thoughts experiences & learnings about the world of academic publishing …

Building Crowds of Humans into Software – (MIT’s) Technology Review

Building Crowds of Humans into Software – Technology Review.

MobileWorks takes the business of crowdsourcing human work (as opposed to robotic or software-processing) to the next level. Crowdsourcing in its purest form is similar to the Wikipedia not-for-profit publishing model, where anyone (with sufficient knowledge about the topic) anywhere (with a computer and internet access) in the world becomes a contributor.

I applaud MobileWorks for its smart use of mobile phone technology (must be why they put “mobile” in their corporate moniker).  As I have mentioned in previous blogs and tweets: handheld / mobile technology, especially short-messaging-service (SMS) is the primary way the developing world stays connected.  Laptops and PCs are vastly outnumbered by smartphones (phones that can access the web).  SMS from any type of phone is simply faster and often safer (especially in China where email is regularly screened) than computer-based social networking solutions.

MobileWorks pays people (primarily Indian knowledge workers) to do the tasks that robots and software find difficult, like transliterating speech or describing a photo. Their turnaround time is minutes and promises better accuracy than 1st generation for-profit crowdsourcing business sites like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Obviously, MobileWorks has teamed up with several data encoding, back office outsourcing, IT companies whose employees now keep their smart phones and iPads turned on 24/7. Win-win. Major corporations get a correct answer faster, and the Indian knowledge workers up their income while sitting in traffic (Bangalore’s favorite pastime)

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30 August 2011 - Posted by | Crowd Sourcing | , ,

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