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Author Topic: Can This Journalist Be Replaced by Software and Mechanical Turk?  (Read 2888 times)

app103

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Can This Journalist Be Replaced by Software and Mechanical Turk?
« on: February 13, 2011, 01:28:47 PM »
Quote
An experiment being conducted by an alliance of journalists and computer scientists aims to combine the distributed human brainpower of Amazon's small-task outsourcing engine, Mechanical Turk, with a software boss pre-programmed with all the logic required to stitch myriad discrete human-accomplished tasks into something resembling the work of a single person.

The project is called My Boss is a Robot, and the boffins involved include the team of Niki Kittur, a Carnegie Mellon assistant professor of Human Computer Interaction, as well as freelance science and technology writers Jim Giles and MacGregor Campbell.

The idea is simple: computer scientists have already used Mechanical Turk to create a simple encyclopedia entry about New York City. The entire process was overseen by software, not humans, and included everything from asking Turkers (as the distributed workers on Mechanical Turk are called) to come up with the topic areas the entry should cover to having them fact-check the writing of previous workers to whom those topics had been assigned.

Based on this success, it seems logical that Turkers might be able to transform a research paper into a 500 word piece of original science journalism. There are a million reasons this might not work, admit Giles and Campbell, but the exercise is meant to generate insight and discussion, whether or not it succeeds.


housetier

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Re: Can This Journalist Be Replaced by Software and Mechanical Turk?
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2011, 06:10:15 PM »
I think it is too early to expect any sort of creativity from such a program. It might perform quite well for certain tasks, but I very much doubt it will be able to go beyond.

What I mean is going from simple algebra (1+1=2) to calculus; this sort of breakthrough is yet solely in the natural human domain.

On the other hand, detecting patterns or information might work quite well.

40hz

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Re: Can This Journalist Be Replaced by Software and Mechanical Turk?
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2011, 06:42:22 PM »
I find it interesting that the Mechanical Turk is what they decided to call their project. 

If you look into the history of the famous chess playing Mechanical Turk, you'll discover it was one of the biggest hoaxes ever pulled off.

 8)
 


nharding

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Re: Can This Journalist Be Replaced by Software and Mechanical Turk?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2011, 09:19:19 PM »
Mechanical turk uses humans, and is based on the original chess playing robot. It divides tasks and gets people to complete them, who get paid from $0.01 per task. Some tasks can be pretty easy for a person (5 Google Street View images may be displayed, and you are asked to say which of them shows the target address best) which would be almost impossible for a computer.

Neil

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Re: Can This Journalist Be Replaced by Software and Mechanical Turk?
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2011, 04:35:54 PM »
mmm
Is the purpose of this experiment finding a way to eliminate the journalist from the credits so that it can easily be replaced? Resulting on being able to pay a ridiculously low wage. If the task is paid at 1 cent and takes 1 minute each task, the payment is 60 cents an hour.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Can This Journalist Be Replaced by Software and Mechanical Turk?
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2011, 05:45:01 PM »
mmm
Is the purpose of this experiment finding a way to eliminate the journalist from the credits so that it can easily be replaced? Resulting on being able to pay a ridiculously low wage. If the task is paid at 1 cent and takes 1 minute each task, the payment is 60 cents an hour.

I'll admit at first blush it does sound cruel and callous, But! If it was used properly (*Snicker*) to replace say the upper-class banking Moguls (that just boned us and the economy) ... Then by golly by gum I say that's right fair pay for the work what was done!

rxantos

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Re: Can This Journalist Be Replaced by Software and Mechanical Turk?
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2011, 07:04:56 PM »
I'll admit at first blush it does sound cruel and callous, But! If it was used properly (*Snicker*) to replace say the upper-class banking Moguls (that just boned us and the economy) ... Then by golly by gum I say that's right fair pay for the work what was done!
The problem with banks began with Reagan and de-regulation. Want a fairer economy? Bring back bank regulation. Of course it will not happen with congress and president being bought up and paid for.