Amazon’s turk API

Brilliant API by Amazon. A month ago I signed up for Amazon Prime for book buying and I have to admit that I love the single click purchasing; I am just totally smitten with Amazon Prime. That’s such a great customer experience: find the book you want, single click and you are done. I wish airline reservations worked that way! With Mechanical Turk Amazon proves yet again its smarts.
From AmazonTurk’s description:

Today, we build complex software applications based on the things computers do well, such as storing and retrieving large amounts of information or rapidly performing calculations. However, humans still significantly outperform the most powerful computers at completing such simple tasks as identifying objects in photographs—something children can do even before they learn to speak. Amen to that.

We tackle this problem daily at Idée – with our visual search solutions. We (humans) can effortlessly recognize that we are looking at a photo of a pizza slice, an egg or a bird, computers can’t. We have come a long way with, visual search, face recognition, similarity search, searching for particular attributes but humans still beat us daily at finding and recognizing objects in photographs. What computers do amazingly well is storing and retrieving very very large amounts of data.

When we think of interfaces between human beings and computers, we usually assume that the human being is the one requesting that a task be completed, and the computer is completing the task and providing the results. What if this process were reversed and a computer program could ask a human being to perform a task and return the results? What if it could coordinate many human beings to perform a task?

Looking forward to seeing how the API will be used in the coming months. Brilliant!

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