Follow us:

Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

May 24, 2006 at 3:05 PM

The Mechanical Turk

Amazon.com has made significant investments in technology and free-shipping promotions. At the company’s annual meeting Wednesday, Jeff Bezos chose to display one of the company’s more obscure examples:

The Mechanical Turk.

The beta site is so named after the Hungarian nobleman Wolfgang von Kempelen. In 1769, this enterprising fellow built a mechanical chess-playing machine that apparently beat the powdered wigs off even the most astute chess players, including Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin. Turns out, hiding beneath the machine’s intricate innards was a very small (and very brilliant) chess player.

Now, the company is asking those to try their luck on “artificial artificial intelligence” — its own version of the Mechanical Turk. The site pays small sums for humans to perform simple tasks that computers still find hard to do.

For $0.01, for instance, you can rank your three “best mashed potatoes in Seattle.”

Someone, please pass the salt?

Comments | More in E-commerce

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►