An Introduction to Amazon Mechanical Turk
What is Amazon Mechanical Turk?
In the late 18th century, a Hungarian nobleman named Wolfgang von Kempelen created an extraordinary automaton called the Mechanical Turk. This life-sized wooden mannequin was dressed in robes and a turban, and it played chess against famous opponents like Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte. Audiences were astounded by the Turk, as it seemed to make intelligent decisions using artificial intelligence. However, the secret behind the Mechanical Turk was a chess master hiding inside the machine.
Today, while computers excel at tasks like storing data and performing calculations, they still struggle with simple tasks that humans find easy, such as identifying objects in photographs. Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is a platform that bridges the gap between humans and machines. It allows computer programs to delegate tasks to human workers, who then complete these tasks and provide the results.
How Can Amazon Mechanical Turk Help?
MTurk offers a service that allows businesses and developers to integrate human intelligence into their applications. By leveraging a network of human workers, requesters can utilize human capabilities, such as identifying objects, evaluating beauty, or translating text. This approach empowers developers to create applications that rely on both machine and human intelligence.
For businesses and entrepreneurs, MTurk provides access to a global network of human intelligence. It eliminates the need to establish a network of skilled workers and allows projects to be completed cost-effectively and efficiently. By turning fixed costs into variable costs, MTurk opens up new possibilities for completing tasks that were previously impractical.
Moreover, MTurk offers an opportunity for individuals to earn money in their spare time. With just a computer connected to the internet, anyone can browse available tasks, complete them, and earn rewards. It’s a flexible way to utilize existing skills and earn income on one’s own terms.
Mastering Amazon Mechanical Turk
Ensuring High-Quality Results
Requesters have several measures in place to ensure high-quality results from Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs). They can review and approve completed HITs before making payment, ensuring satisfaction with the work. Additionally, requesters can require workers to complete qualification tests to assess their skills. These qualifications allow requesters to choose workers with specific abilities, ensuring that tasks are completed by qualified individuals.
Who Completes Tasks on Amazon Mechanical Turk?
Workers on MTurk are individuals who complete tasks using their existing skills and on their own schedule. To participate, workers need a computer with an internet connection and must be at least 18 years old. Workers search for and accept HITs, complete them, and receive rewards once their work is approved by the requester.
Broad Range of Tasks
Amazon Mechanical Turk allows virtually any task that can be performed on a computer connected to the internet. While the platform originated from Amazon’s internal need for human judgment and intelligence, it evolved into a unique service that enables requesters to integrate human intelligence into their applications. It’s a versatile tool that empowers requesters to create innovative applications incorporating human intelligence as a critical component.
Flexible Payments and Usage
For requesters who require tasks to be completed, the approved HITs result in payments to workers. Amazon Mechanical Turk ensures a seamless payment process by automatically displaying worker earnings on their dashboard and earnings pages. Earnings can be transferred to virtual U.S. bank accounts or Amazon.com gift card balances on a regular schedule. With this convenient system, workers receive fair compensation for their efforts.
Insights and Billing
Leveraging AWS Billing
By linking an Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) requester account to an AWS account, users gain several advantages. With AWS billing, MTurk fees can be included on the AWS bill, making it easier to track expenses. This integration also allows for consolidated billing for multiple MTurk accounts, streamlining financial management. Invoicing is sent via email monthly and can also be downloaded from the Billing Console.
Using the AWS API Advantage
MTurk offers Requester-facing APIs and SDKs, enabling the creation and management of HITs programmatically. AWS account registration provides Requesters with IAM credentials, which are necessary to access the APIs. Although MTurk API usage is not tracked on the AWS bill, having an AWS account is a requirement for calling MTurk APIs.
Best Practices for Creating HITs
Creating HITs on the Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) platform can be accomplished through the user-friendly Requester website. This powerful tool allows Requesters to design, publish, and manage HITs seamlessly. For more specialized projects like surveys, it may be necessary to create Custom Qualifications to include or exclude specific workers. Additionally, utilizing Premium Qualifications can help narrow down worker attributes to suit specific HITs.
Ensuring Reliable Results with Qualifications
Requesters can rely on Qualifications to ensure consistent and reliable results. By creating and assigning Qualification Types, requesters can assess worker skills and limit access to specific HITs accordingly. The robust worker qualification process enables requesters to build teams of workers with desired capabilities, ensuring high-quality outcomes.
Mitigating Risk and Ensuring Data Privacy
When working with sensitive or personal data, it’s crucial to prioritize privacy and data protection. Amazon Mechanical Turk is a public marketplace, and HITs containing personal or sensitive data are not suitable for the platform. Requesters are responsible for evaluating content and ensuring compliance with privacy guidelines. It’s essential to use MTurk only for legitimate research purposes and avoid collecting personally identifiable information from workers.
Discover the World of Amazon Mechanical Turk
Amazon Mechanical Turk is a vibrant marketplace that connects human intelligence with cutting-edge technology. It offers a wide range of applications for businesses, entrepreneurs, developers, and workers alike. Whether you need to complete tasks, integrate human intelligence into your applications, or earn money on your own terms, Amazon Mechanical Turk has something to offer. Join this global network and unlock new possibilities!