A few simple tasks like pattern recognition or interpreting a customer request as an order or complaint people still can do better than computers. HumanGrid has developed a platform (which is currently beta tested) for intermediating these micro-tasks to people.
The Darmstadt based company will provide a variety of services which easily can be plugged into existing business processes. The idea is to break down complex problems into smallish tasks which even can be done by humans and which are routed to a large number of internet users around the globe. People accomplish these tasks and get paid. To ensure quality the work is monitored through filters and peer review.
Applications are amongst others:
Transcription of texts
Optical Character Recognition
Meta Data Verification
Rating of Slogans
Rating of Product Names
The idea of de- and reconstructing the workforce like this is not new, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk has been doing the same for two years now. But Mechanical Turk is only available in the US and it seems to be more like a social experiment than a game changing platform pushed to the mainstream (currently only about 500 companies are offering tasks.) The window of opportunity is open.
On a sidenote: It would be interesting to compare the self-descriptions of HumanGrid and MechanicalTurk. While Mechanical Turk is rather descriptive and contains some elements of geek humor (e.g. the concepts ‘artificial artificial intelligence’ or ‘human intelligence tasks’) the frontpage of HumanGrid almost bursts with trendy terms like Peer Production, Networked Collective Intelligence, Wisdom of Crowds, Micro-Outsourcing, Social Engineering, Web 2.0 or Crowdsourcing and easily would fill more than one ticket in Web 2.0 bullshit bingo. But we will leave that to a student in comparative literature.
The company was founded by Alexander Linden – who previously has been working as Research Vice President with Gartner where he was responsible for topics like Semantic Web Technologies, Pattern Recognition, Data Mining and diverse other knowledge management technologies – and Angelika Linden. They recently have been awarded 30,000 Euro as first prize in Darmstadt based startup competition start2grow.
Company blog: Blog
(This article originally was written for blognation Germany. Since blognation is gone I have reposted it here)