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Amazon Mechanical Turk

Human intelligence through an API

Access a global, on-demand, 24×7 workforce

Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) operates a marketplace for work that requires human intelligence. The MTurk web service enables companies to programmatically access this marketplace and a diverse, on-demand workforce. Developers can leverage this service to build human intelligence directly into their applications.

While computing technology continues to improve, there are still many things that human beings can do much more effectively than computers, such as identifying objects in a photo or video, performing data de-duplication, transcribing audio recordings or researching data details. Traditionally, tasks like this have been accomplished by hiring a large temporary workforce (which is time consuming, expensive and difficult to scale) or have gone undone.

MTurk aims to make accessing human intelligence simple, scalable, and cost-effective. Businesses or developers needing tasks done (called Human Intelligence Tasks or “HITs”) can use the robust MTurk API to access thousands of high quality, global, on-demand Workers—and then programmatically integrate the results of that work directly into their business processes and systems. MTurk enables developers and businesses to achieve their goals more quickly and at a lower cost than was previously possible.

On-Demand Workforce

Available when you need it. 24×7.

MTurk provides access to a marketplace of Workers whenever your business needs them. MTurk can connect you to a variety of skill sets and capabilities via a global workforce that can help you to complete your work whenever and wherever you need it.

Elastic Workforce

Pay only for what you use.

One of the difficulties that businesses face is dealing with demand spikes for certain types of work. You may have one million images that need to be tagged today, or 100,000 new catalog entries that need to be validated, but only have that need once per month. MTurk allows you to get that work done easily when you need it, without the difficulty associated with dynamically scaling your in-house workforce.

Lower Cost Structure

Turn fixed costs into variable costs.

The overhead and fixed costs associated with hiring and managing a temporary workforce can often be significant. By leveraging the skills of on-demand Workers from around the world, you can significantly lower costs while achieving results that might not have even been possible with just a dedicated team.

Quality Management

Everything you need to ensure quality results.

MTurk provides several mechanisms to help you ensure the quality of the work you receive. In addition to Worker Qualifications that let you pre-vet Workers, plurality is another mechanism to help developers maintain high quality levels. This functionality enables multiple Workers to submit answers to the same HIT. When a specific number of Workers reply back with the same answer, the HIT is automatically approved.

Enabling New Businesses

Helping you make the impossible possible.

MTurk enables developers to create applications that were previously not possible. From search results enhanced with human input, to automated image identification, to distributed content creation, to podcast-to-text transcription, companies are relying on human intelligence and MTurk to power a whole new class of applications.

Image/Video Processing

MTurk is well-suited for processing images. While difficult for computers, it is a task that is extremely easy for people to do. In the past, companies have used MTurk to:

  • Tag objects found in an image to improve your search or advertising targeting
  • Review a set of images to select the best picture to represent a product
  • Audit user-uploaded images or videos to moderate content
  • Classify objects found in satellite imagery

Data Verification and Clean-up

Companies with large online directories or catalogs are using MTurk to identify duplicate entries and verify item details. Examples of this have included:

  • Removing duplicate content from business listings
  • Identifying incomplete or duplicate product listings in a catalog
  • Verifying restaurant details such as phone numbers or hours of operation
  • Converting unstructured data about locations into well-formed addresses

Information Gathering

The diversification and the scale of the MTurk workforce allows you to gather a breadth of information that would be almost impossible to do otherwise such as:

  • Allowing people to ask questions from a computer or mobile device about any topic and have Workers return the results
  • Filling out market research or survey data on a variety of topics
  • Writing content for websites
  • Finding specific fields or data elements in large legal and government documents

Data Processing

Companies take advantage of the power of the MTurk workforce to understand and intelligently respond to different types of data including:

  • Audio editing and transcription
  • Human powered translation services
  • Rating the accuracy of results for a search engine
  • Categorizing information to match a given schema or taxonomy
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