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)

30 August 2011 Posted by | Crowd Sourcing | , , | Leave a comment

Update on the Southeast Asia Information Market for Western Publishers

International Market Updates: Middle East and Southeast Asia, a webinar was hosted by the Society of Scholarly Publishing and the Association of American University Presses last week.  I had the honor of presenting on Southeast Asia.  Includes details on the market for online and print books and journals, and databases in Southeast Asia.  And detailed information about the institutional information markets in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.
The following is my PowerPoint presentation.


Special thanks to Nick Weir-Williams, Publishing Technology, for organizing the webinar!

20 December 2010 Posted by | Academic Publishing, Patent Copyright Intellectual Property IP, Scholarly Communication | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spain and Finland Say: It Is My Legal Right To Have Internet Access

On October 14, Finland announced a new law that makes access to the Internet a legal right. By July 2010, a 1Mb Internet connection must be available to every Finlander, and it jumps to a 100 Mb broadband connection in 2015.

Then on Nov 17, Spain declared Internet access a legal right, too.

I expect to see most of the European Union follow suit over the next couple years.

While most people in Finland and Spain already have online access, guaranteeing that everyone has access at a controlled fair price will have a deep impact on the development of infrastructure, public services, and a socioeconomic watershed effect into daily life. The long term side effects are barely imaginable.

If developing, impoverished countries are given the same “rights of online access” the improvements to quality of life and learning will be colossal!



1 December 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: