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Monday, November 15, 2010

Step Two - Artificial AI

When getting rich slow, one must always remember how valuable one is. So, how valuable are you? Well, if you head over to http://www.mturk.com/ you might be offended to know that some companies think you're barely smarter than a machine. Mechanical Turk, a service provided from Amazon.com, allows companies to request Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) which they have deemed too complicated or too costly to be completed by a mindless machine. So, you are their machine.

The tasks presented are essentially internet-based data entry, quality ratings, or audio transcriptions that a computer can't quite handle. Doing something like visiting a website from a phone directory to see if the phone number matches on the website, viewing videos that were someone else's search results and judging whether or not the video was relevant to the search, or listening to audio that is either designed so that a computer cannot use speech recognition or where there is background noise making it inaccurate for a computer to complete the task. The general idea is that you get paid a few cents per task, but the companies are pretty frugal and have found out how to put four or five tasks on the page at once, so when you submit all five completed tasks they only have to pay you once.

Is it a great way to make money? Well, no, it really isn't. However, if you have nothing else going on at the time, it is real and authentic US dollars stored in an Amazon account. I made about nine dollars in my spare time over the course of about four days. Some of the time spent was entertaining, such as rating videos for quality, and some of it was a learning curve to figure out exactly how things were working out. Would I want to do it for an actual job? Maybe if I lived in Fiji and my monthly expenses were only about twenty bucks. As a college student with expenses around a grand every month, though, it's barely enough to scratch the surface. Bottom line: time is money. Mturk is better money than doing nothing.

How well do machines get paid? Well, I ran some numbers and if you have a good internet connection and a decent PC with no distractions, you can sometimes get up to about $5 per hour providing you can find something that suits your skills and you can crank them out with accurate repetition. On average though, $.60 to $1 per hour is going to be more likely.

As with every money-oriented thing on the entire planet and especially on the internet, there's plenty of scammers. There's HITs who say they'll pay you $7 to install their new game and test it out and see if you like it. Seven dollars to test a game!? Absolutely, where do I sign up? Well, they show you where to sign up and also show you how to install their cool little program which will then load up your machine with spyware. Later, they'll more than likely find a loophole making it so they don't have to pay you. The one I tried didn't pay me but since I am aware and skilled enough to remove the malicious spyware, I figured I'd at least give it a try and see if it was legit or not.

There's no such thing as a free lunch, folks. Get Rich Slow doing what artificial intelligence cannot, or better yet tell your pals in Fiji that they can do it and ask them if they've got a room I can rent from them.

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