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Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Amazing Amazon Mechanical Turk

When I first saw people were becoming interested in the Mechanical Turk, I became immediately curious. The Mechanical Turk was originally a scam that amazed people in the mid 1700 hundreds.

It could play you chess and beat you long before computers were ever up to that task. In fact, the Mechanical Turk was there before Babbage made the first mechanical calculating machine. Some consider the Babbage machine as the first computer.

Then the Mechanical Turk was a chess player, and its opponents where deceived and beaten by a chess master that hid under the table. Having been an avid chess enthusiast, I knew of the original scam, but why where people becoming interested in this now?

Well, Amazon, has decided to place people under the table in the computer. It just seems computers in their infinite ability to store, and retrieve knowledge, and make some artificially intelligent decisions, just cannot compete with the discriminating skills lodged in the human brain.

Amazon, then asked the "what if?" question. What if we could get computers to query people? And what if we could have people interface with the computer, combining the best of computers, Amazons and the human brain.

Could this be scarier than your worst nightmare on Halloween? Can you envision a Borg emerging that would scare the pants off any Star Trek fan? Man integrated with machine could impose ideas that have only been flirted with in the science fiction realm.

Taking the first step in building this symbiosis, Amazon may be building a new era of computing, at least this could be the start. And they are willing to pay you to answer the questions that are stumping the computer. Some of the questions are child's play, easily unmasked by human intervention. Computers still haven't mastered the discriminating skills of the human brain.

There is an amazing artificial intelligence program that learns every time you query it. Its called 2o questions. Just like that childhood game we use to play, and it is good, try to match your mind against it. You might just teach the computer a thing or two while you play.


At 10:48 PM, Anonymous Gravy Beard said...

Pretty cool Bob. I never heard of this.


At 2:28 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Thanks GB.


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