May 27, 2009

Crowd Sourcing

I've been thinking about Crowd sourcing lately (Like Amazon's Mechanical Turk). Seems like an interesting way to deal with tasks that are not easy problems to solve with computers. I know that there are other sites out there, with different models, but still the same basic idea.

From a worker perspective it seems like many of the tasks are VERY low paid, which lends itself to people quickly loosing interest, and therefor not having a very reliable base of workers. So in my mind it seems like most of the current models will fail to be successful in the long run. I've been wondering what it would take to make a thriving community of both workers and requestors that would be fair and equitable for both. The key seems to be pricing, because of the low pricing, it seems that the lowest common denominator of people do the work. By providing a better way to determine costs and payments, you could create a much more equitable system that benefits everyone. Workers get more work that pays more, and requestors get a better quality of workers to complete their tasks. The question is, how does this happen?

It seems that instead of Requestors selecting the price, there needs to be some way of determining cost based on time spent, skillset needed and/or user feedback. There might also be a voting or bidding system that could fulfill some of the same purposes. I'm still trying to come up with a concrete idea . . . we'll see what happens.