Milestone 1 pnpvirtualmachine

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Greetings from India.Welcome to pnpvirtualmachine's first milestone page. The concept of Crowd-sourcing is quite foreign to us and it is very fascinating.

Experience the life of a Worker on Mechanical Turk

Crowdsourcing is the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people from an online community (according to wiki). The very concept of completion of simple tasks such as liking videos ,writing a review or a short article, adding subtitles etc. which can be performed by an online community and receiving payment in return is quite fascinating.

We initially tried signing up on the Amazon Mechanical Turk site.But being of Indian nationality, the site wasn't available to us. A general idea on the concepts of principles of crowdsourcing and how the system works (HITs , income received ) were however gathered.

Access to other sites like Clickworker and Microworker were available.

As a worker, I liked the concept of piece pay being implemented here. I am allowed to work on a task of my interest whenever I want and get paid for the work I do. This freedom was a very new experience for me and allowed me to explore my interests such as creative writing and reviewing while at the same time getting paid for the work done.


Experience the life of a Requester on Mechanical Turk

As a requester, I realised that there exists a huge crowd out there that is willing to do a variety of tasks for low wages. Crowdsourcing must be considered as an alternate to directly assigning a task to an individual. A large volume of work of different levels of skill requirement may be completed simultaneously by a large number of people. This paves the way for innovation and optimal solutions.

Explore alternative crowd-labor markets

Clickworker

One positive aspect of Clickworker is that it let me input my interests in various fields. This resulted in providing a list of tasks more suited to my interests

Galaxy zoo

In this website, Microworkers are required to classify the million galaxies imaged. While did this require some pre requisite knowledge unlike the other sites, it was entertaining work. Since every volunteer could see the pictures from a different perspective, talk forums exist for the volunteers to debate and discuss the various issued involving the same. I believe the efficiency of the system can be improved by inviting some experts of the field to contribute some of their time and knowledge to arouse more interest in the project.

Readings

MobileWorks

Strengths:

One of the biggest strengths of MobileWorks is its ability to reach the workers at the bottom of the economic pyramid, through mobile phones which are a lot more accessible, than computers, in developing countries. This widens the target group immensely. The platform ensures a simple interface to ensure ease of usability even for the less educated workers.

The platform uses a simple model to ensure quality control of the output, through verifying the outputs of the same task being done by multiple workers. The concept of quality rating used to judge the performance, could be useful for the worker as well, in order for him to understand the accuracy of his work.

The payments done commensurate with quality rating which provides a simple system that rewards the work appropriately. This would be an effective way of ensuring worker’s satisfaction.


Shortcomings:

Due to the potential reach of the mobile network being very wide, it opens up the possibility of a huge diverse group of workers participating in the process. But this could lead to greater variations in the quality of the work being produced, which would require a better quality control. A more involved way of judging the accuracy of a task completed may be required.

The range of tasks that can be completed using a simple mobile phone can be restrictive and may necessitate the division of tasks to smaller micro-tasks, requiring more effort.

With greater breaking down of the task, the system could be improved through a more intelligent distribution of tasks, especially for those who do certain tasks well. For instance, tasks could be categorised based on the similarity of the work and workers who perform a category well, could be assigned other tasks from the category more often. This would require a self-adapting system of task distribution recommended for an individual.


mClerk

Strengths:

Utilises the regular SMS service to send pictures through a lesser known protocol which means anyone with a phone can access it. It replaces the need for internet connection which would be more expensive and less-accessible while exploiting the cheap usage of SMS service available

Aims to take advantage of the specific skills of the target group through local language digitization

Uses an easy payment method through phone balance recharge which would be attractive to many

Attempt to ensure constant feedback to the worker through motivational messages


Shortcomings:

The usage of images through SMS limits the picture quality and is also dependent on the type of phone used like Nokia or Ericson which would reduce the accessibility for all users

Though an internet connection is not required, the users would have to get the ‘free SMS plans’ from their providers if they are to work through the platform on a regular basis

The system depends on the transliteration accuracy which may not be very high

As the system is based on the SMS service, there is a possibility that if the number of people who utilise it to earn phone recharge becomes significant, mobile service providers may look to charge the SMS service and reduce the number of free SMS available. Such a scenario would mean lower profits for the workers than those observed by the study

Flash Teams

Strengths:

Ability to accomplish more complex tasks through modular tasks being solved

A natural result of employing more qualified group would be better quality work as this utilises the expert skills of each group

Hiring workers is very easy and the creation of various new forms of organization is facilitated

Makes use of a web application to guide a team working on a particular goal in the project.


Shortcomings:

Due to a higher level of expertise required, work can have limited availability to people without the appropriate expertise. Further, people of greater expertise may prefer a more formal job if possible

Due to a more organized structure of the project timeline, issues of deadlines being met can pop up

The hiring of workers with required qualifications can be formalised to have requests for specific skills