The Sheep Market

Ever since Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service launched, I’ve been wondering if it would really take hold. If you haven’t heard of it, the Mechanical Turk, which gets its odd name as an homage to an old chess-playing automaton, is a human-in-the-loop web utility offered by Amazon. Want to transcribe some handwritten notes? It’s hard for a computer, but easy for a person, and Amazon has taken all the hassle out of hiring someone for $0.05 worth of work.

But still, how many people would really do it? Apparently not many people are actually taking advantage of the service. On the other hand, I recently came across the best evidence yet that the Mechanical Turk has a future.


Someone has put up the money for people around the world to draw 10,000 sheep. Little badly drawn cartoons of sheep facing left. All on display at The Sheep Market. To the list of things computers find difficult, add pointless doodles. (via Karim via Ben Hyde)