Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is an Amazon hosted and maintained marketplace that helps companies and professionals to outsource various types of virtual processes and tasks to the distributed workforce. From validating business data to make market research and surveys to content creation and moderation to development and design jobs, the companies can outsource professionals for all sorts of tasks and processes. MTurk has emerged as the most promising platform for companies to reach out to the global workforce and talents across the spectrum.
At a time when automation technologies and bots are increasingly getting powerful to complete tasks and carry out responsibilities previously human beings used to deal with, the emergence of such a platform once again made the human role invincible and indomitable. Many tasks that companies needed to carry out by employing a temporary or freelance workforce, now can be completed by a talented workforce spread across the globe through a crowdsourcing model. Instead of delegating the whole task to one or a group of employees, this crowdsourcing platform basically breaks down the manual and time-consuming projects into a multitude of small as well as manual tasks or microtasks carried out by a distributed workforce.
Here through the rest of the post, we are going to explain the benefits of the platform, its key concepts, and the way it works.
MTurk really revolutionises the way jobs are delegated to a remote workforce and is completed through the input of credible people you can only come into contact through a crowdsourcing platform. With this unique value proposition in mind, we are going to explain the key advantages of MTurk for businesses.
Still, business processes and development projects need to rely heavily on manual tasks and many of these tasks are low-value repetitive tasks. Thanks to MTurk these manual tasks from the business workflows can be broken down into microtasks for a global workforce to take care of. When a business gets its jobs done through a crowdsourced workforce spread all over the globe without the challenges of management and handling resources, the companies enjoy optimum efficiency and output with no significant cost to bear.
The best thing about the MTurk platform is that you can handle the workforce in a very flexible and scalable manner. Instead of hiring a committed workforce with higher overhead cost, through this platform, you can just employ a vast workforce that can be scaled up or down or delegated the tasks flexibly as per the evolving requirements.
One of the greatest advantages of the MTurk platform is the reduced cost of hiring. While hiring an in-house workforce involves bearing a great overhead cost, completing the tasks through a distributed workforce involves great cost benefits and flexibility. While you can achieve the best results by delegating your tasks in a distributed micro task format, you enjoy superior cost advantages for the jobs.
Now that we have explained the key advantages of the MTurk crowdsourcing job marketplace, it is time to have a deeper understanding of the way the platform works and helps businesses complete their tasks. Let us tell here that MTurk crowdsourcing of jobs is suitable for a whole array of use cases and business contexts. Here we are going to explain the way MTurk works.
To explain how MTurk works, we can take the example of Machine Learning projects. In the development of Machine Learning-based algorithms and solutions, collecting huge volumes of data for the purpose of training the machine learning models is a necessary task. This data collection task can be crowdsourced through MTurk. Similarly, the iterations and improvements that continue to happen with machine learning models can also be crowdsourced through MTurk micro-tasking.
A similar kind of micro-tasking through the MTurk platform can also be carried out in the case of AI-based development projects. As AI is increasingly getting sophisticated in respect of intelligent understanding of the contexts and its capabilities to respond to human situations, the next level of AI development involves training AI models and algorithms with more human-annotated data relevant to different contexts. This is where MTurk micro-tasking may help in creating new data sets by crowdsourcing data research and data inputs.
Many businesses now harness a big in-house workforce for their customer service, support, and other jobs that are crucial for retaining the user traction and brand value. Many businesses simply by outsourcing these processes and tasks make things easier for the companies to carry out similar tasks more efficiently and at less cost. Now we have another better alternative, we have an MTurk micro-tasking platform to crowdsource a multitude of tasks for customer service, support and various processes. For diverse business processes, this can bring a fresh breath of efficiency and productivity without adding to the cost.
Another crucial aspect that enterprises these days are increasingly focusing upon is a data-driven marketing and customer outreach. Gathering consumer and user data across the niches and specialties no longer require hiring marketing analytics or marketing survey teams. MTurk appears to be the most efficient platform for data sampling with a totally decentralised model of gathering data from users all over the world thanks to a large distributed workforce engaged with small bite-sized tasks.
Now that we have a gross understanding of the MTurk platform and the way it works in different contexts, it is important to get acquainted with certain terminologies and concepts pertaining to the platform. Here we explain these concepts in brief.
The Requester refers to the individual, company, or organization, responsible for creating and submitting tasks to the MTurk platform for the distributed workforce to take care of the tasks and jobs. The Requester can integrate the MTurk with his website through APIs and can delegate and follow up with the tasks. The Requester can also use third-party software for summiting and following up with the tasks.
The Human Intelligence Task (HIT) refers to the task submitted by the Requester to the MTurk platform. A HIT comes as a single, self-referencing task involving no point of reference for other tasks. For example, a HIT can be “knowing the number of fuel stations in a route”.
These HITs are listed on the Amazon MTurk website. Now each of these tasks comes with a life cycle and a duration as mentioned by the Requester. The task is only available for the workers within that duration. In other words, the worker has to complete the task within that duration.
The Worker refers to the person who takes a job or tasks requested by the Requester on the MTurk website. The workers find and choose their preferred tasks from the listed jobs on the MTurk website. As per the MTurk rule, each worker can get a single job at a given time.
The assignment is the number of people permitted to submit fully completed work every HIT. As soon as a worker accepts the task, the MTurk comes with an assignment for tracking the work until completion. Every assignment belongs to a specific worker and comes with the assurance that the worker can submit the completed work and get a reward till the time of the expiry of the assignment.
The reward refers to the remuneration paid by the Requester to the Workers against the satisfactory completion of the tasks.
MTurk has emerged with a revolutionary concept of crowdsourcing business processes and a variety of tasks across diverse workplace environments. The platform is likely to reinvent the efficiency of business processes across the spectrum.
WRITTEN BY: Atman Rathod
Atman Rathod is the Founding Director at CMARIX Technolabs Pvt. Ltd., a leading web and mobile app development company with 17+ years of experience. Having…
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