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Explicit crowdsourcing

Volunteer crowdsourcing

This is the most obvious and classic form of crowdsourcing, but recourse to volunteers could quickly reach its limits faced with the proliferation of projects. Furthermore, nothing indicates that future generations of pensioners, who are sometimes a significant portion of contributors, will have the same interests.

Page from an old thesis saved at the National Veterinary School of Toulouse for which OCR correction is proposed (via Wikisource)

Figure 5.1. Page from an old thesis saved at the National Veterinary School of Toulouse for which OCR correction is proposed (via Wikisource)

Paid crowdsourcing

The primary users of the largest paid crowdsourcing platform, Amazon Mechanical Turk Marketplace, are American research laboratories. This platform brings together those offering and those seeking online work, generally in the form of microtasks. With it, crowds of workers worthy of the largest multinationals, with diverse profiles, among more than 500,000 Internet users permanently available in nearly 200 countries, particularly the USA and India, are to be recruited in a few minutes time, without administrative procedures, at costs freely determined by supply and demand [IPE 10]. It thus allows the realization of jobs that would have required years of thankless work before, done by “bum outs”, in half a day. As for the workers on the platform, they are free to work where they want, when they want, as much as they want, for whom they want, based on their own interests, to be employer and employee in turn, and to work for a client rather than a boss.

The name “Amazon Mechanical Turk Marketplace” is cleverly inspired by an automatic chess player thought up in the 18th Century that was supposedly gifted with artificial intelligence when, in fact, a human was hidden behind it. In the same way, behind the results that are believed to be done by powerful algorithms, there may, in fact, be crowds of hidden humans, particularly through paid crowdsourcing.

“Turkischer Schachspieler” by Karl Gottlieb von Windisch. 1783. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Figure 5.2. “Turkischer Schachspieler” by Karl Gottlieb von Windisch. 1783. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

 
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