Man-of-War – A human-powered realtime strategy game connecting…

Man-of-War – A human-powered realtime strategy game connecting laborers and consumers in a series of user-generated vignettes. Each scene will make up part of an anatomical body image describing the network topology. Users will be able to farm out labor via Amazon Mechanical Turk system, or conversely, be paid for labor performed.

Man-of-War – A human-powered realtime strategy game connecting laborers and consumers in a series of user-generated vignettes. Each scene will make up part of an anatomical body image describing the network topology. Users will be able to farm out labor via Amazon Mechanical Turk system, or conversely, be paid for labor performed.

Commercial Crowdsourcing and Anonymized, Monetized Participatory Production

Amazon Mechanical Turk, launched in November 2005, is part of Amazon’s web services package, (aws.amazon.com), and is essentially a virtualized system of labor distribution — a kind of API for human labor. “Human Intelligence Tasks” – HITs are the unit of exchange, and web application developers can actually connect to Amazon’s HIT brokerage in code, effectively treating this anonymized human labor as a computing resource.

As Amazon’s site advertises, “Workers select from thousands of tasks and work whenever it’s convenient.” Workers from around the world can sign up; the sparse FAQ includes the question “How do I receive payment in Indian Rupees?”.

A typical entry looks like this (taken Wed Sept 17, 2008), advertised for the price of $0.01:

Label Web Spam. (WARNING: This HIT may contain adult content. Worker discretion is advised) Requester: John Doe

There is no information about where workers come from, individually or statistically; the site is extremely opaque about who is performing the work and under what circumstances. Presumably the work itself is private and web searches return little about workers themselves, besides some forum members who tried the service. Interestingly, some forum comments warned potential workers that only about 50% of HITs are approved. HITs are approved by the purchaser, who is allowed to review all HITs before deciding whether to pay or not.

The AMT system seems to have been created in the popular spirit of crowdsourcing — an quasi-political belief that collective involvement in production is empowering, even when anonymous. Christian Fuchs points out in his critique of the AMT system, that “…Critical Theory, representatives like Brecht, Benjamin, and Enzensberger argue that the prosumer brings about the emergence of an emancipatory collectivity in media production.” He extensively paraphrases Brecht, in fact — though I have not had time to follow up on his references for this class. (I definitely plan to.)

Moving on (there was a great deal of material on this, and I’d like to cover a lot… I think this would be a good broader research topic for a paper), I heard a talk by Nathan Eagle, a former Media Lab doctoral student, who runs EPROM, an educational program for mobile programming. His latest project, called “Txteagle”, is an acknowledged “clone” of the AMT system for the mobile (SMS) platform. Nathan is more explicit than Amazon, and frames the service as a vehicle to empower cellphone owners in the developing world:

“There are over 1.5 billion literate, mobile phone subscribers in the developing world, many living on less than $3 a day.

Corporations pay people to accomplish millions of simple text-based tasks.

txteagle enables these tasks to be completed via text message by ordinary people around the globe.”

SMS in the developing world for “idle laborers”
http://web.media.mit.edu/~nathan/
http://txteagle.com/

Gold farming

Finally, a more hidden form of virtual labor distribution is virtual gold farming in online games such as World of Warcraft, which is prevalent enough in some countries that there are gold farming unions. The popular press has been fascinated with the idea, yet much of the information is anecdotal or 2nd or 3rd-hand. Some more statistical data is available from these graphs of the price of virtual gold in various online game worlds:

http://www.playnoevil.com/serendipity/index.php?/archives/1990-The-Gold-Farming-War-Whos-winning.html

And some online games terminate accounts for “Real Money Trading”, and post numbers online:

http://www.playonline.com/ff11us/polnews/news12898.shtml

We would like to report the termination today of multiple accounts held by players involved in the usage of third-party tools or cheats, or engaged in RMT (Real Money Trading) activities.

Gil and item exchange for real world money.
Week of February 17, Approx. 110 cases
Week of February 24, Approx. 40 cases
Week of March 2, Approx. 100 cases
Week of March 9, Approx. 30 cases
Week of March 16, Approx. 120 cases
Week of March 23, Approx. 1,160 cases

This represents a more informal, but far more widespread form of virtual labor sourcing, though admittedly of “invented” labor. I’d like to follow up on these threads to form a research paper if that would match the format of this class.

Amazon Mechanical Turk, launched in November 2005, is part of Amazon’s web services package, (aws.amazon.com), and is essentially a virtualized system of labor distribution — a kind of API for human labor. “Human Intelligence Tasks” – HITs are the unit of exchange, and web application developers can actually connect to Amazon’s HIT brokerage in code, effectively treating this anonymized human labor as a computing resource.

As Amazon’s site advertises, “Workers select from thousands of tasks and work whenever it’s convenient.” Workers from around the world can sign up; the sparse FAQ includes the question “How do I receive payment in Indian Rupees?”.

A typical entry looks like this (taken Wed Sept 17, 2008), advertised for the price of $0.01:

Label Web Spam. (WARNING: This HIT may contain adult content. Worker discretion is advised) Requester: John Doe

There is no information about where workers come from, individually or statistically; the site is extremely opaque about who is performing the work and under what circumstances. Presumably the work itself is private and web searches return little about workers themselves, besides some forum members who tried the service. Interestingly, some forum comments warned potential workers that only about 50% of HITs are approved. HITs are approved by the purchaser, who is allowed to review all HITs before deciding whether to pay or not.

The AMT system seems to have been created in the popular spirit of crowdsourcing — an quasi-political belief that collective involvement in production is empowering, even when anonymous. Christian Fuchs points out in his critique of the AMT system, that “…Critical Theory, representatives like Brecht, Benjamin, and Enzensberger argue that the prosumer brings about the emergence of an emancipatory collectivity in media production.” He extensively paraphrases Brecht, in fact — though I have not had time to follow up on his references for this class. (I definitely plan to.)

Moving on (there was a great deal of material on this, and I’d like to cover a lot… I think this would be a good broader research topic for a paper), I heard a talk by Nathan Eagle, a former Media Lab doctoral student, who runs EPROM, an educational program for mobile programming. His latest project, called “Txteagle”, is an acknowledged “clone” of the AMT system for the mobile (SMS) platform. Nathan is more explicit than Amazon, and frames the service as a vehicle to empower cellphone owners in the developing world:

“There are over 1.5 billion literate, mobile phone subscribers in the developing world, many living on less than $3 a day.

Corporations pay people to accomplish millions of simple text-based tasks.

txteagle enables these tasks to be completed via text message by ordinary people around the globe.”

SMS in the developing world for “idle laborers”
http://web.media.mit.edu/~nathan/
http://txteagle.com/

Gold farming

Finally, a more hidden form of virtual labor distribution is virtual gold farming in online games such as World of Warcraft, which is prevalent enough in some countries that there are gold farming unions. The popular press has been fascinated with the idea, yet much of the information is anecdotal or 2nd or 3rd-hand. Some more statistical data is available from these graphs of the price of virtual gold in various online game worlds:

http://www.playnoevil.com/serendipity/index.php?/archives/1990-The-Gold-Farming-War-Whos-winning.html

And some online games terminate accounts for “Real Money Trading”, and post numbers online:

http://www.playonline.com/ff11us/polnews/news12898.shtml

We would like to report the termination today of multiple accounts held by players involved in the usage of third-party tools or cheats, or engaged in RMT (Real Money Trading) activities.

Gil and item exchange for real world money.
Week of February 17, Approx. 110 cases
Week of February 24, Approx. 40 cases
Week of March 2, Approx. 100 cases
Week of March 9, Approx. 30 cases
Week of March 16, Approx. 120 cases
Week of March 23, Approx. 1,160 cases

This represents a more informal, but far more widespread form of virtual labor sourcing, though admittedly of “invented” labor. I’d like to follow up on these threads to form a research paper if that would match the format of this class.

The Telephone as Political Instrument: Gardiner Hubbard and the Formation of the Middle Class in America, 1875-1880

By Bernard Carlson — really good, written in 2001 but a lot (!) of parallels with municipal Wifi efforts and also with Meraki and mesh networking… the idea of consumers setting up independent local shared wifi. The openness of the Internet is in many ways a sham… Comcast and other providers of “last mile” infrastructure are the (1800s) Western Union of the Internet. They and now 3G cell phone internet providers now control access to the net… ironically the latter is now mainly AT&T… Bell.

By Bernard Carlson — really good, written in 2001 but a lot (!) of parallels with municipal Wifi efforts and also with Meraki and mesh networking… the idea of consumers setting up independent local shared wifi. The openness of the Internet is in many ways a sham… Comcast and other providers of “last mile” infrastructure are the (1800s) Western Union of the Internet. They and now 3G cell phone internet providers now control access to the net… ironically the latter is now mainly AT&T… Bell.

“Harry Braverman says in “Labor and Monopoly Capital”: The Hawthorne tests were based on…”

“Harry Braverman says in “Labor and Monopoly Capital”: The Hawthorne tests were based on behaviorist psychology and were supposed to confirm that workers performance could be predicted by pre-hire testing. However, the Hawthorne study showed “that the performance of workers had little relation to ability and in fact often bore a reverse relation to test scores…”. What the studies really showed was that the workplace was not “a system of bureaucratic formal organization on the Weberian model, nor a system of informal group relations, as in the interpretation of Mayo and his followers but rather a system of power, of class antagonisms”. This discovery was a blow to those hoping to apply the behavioral sciences to manipulate workers in the interest of management.”

Hawthorne effect

“Harry Braverman says in “Labor and Monopoly Capital”: The Hawthorne tests were based on behaviorist psychology and were supposed to confirm that workers performance could be predicted by pre-hire testing. However, the Hawthorne study showed “that the performance of workers had little relation to ability and in fact often bore a reverse relation to test scores…”. What the studies really showed was that the workplace was not “a system of bureaucratic formal organization on the Weberian model, nor a system of informal group relations, as in the interpretation of Mayo and his followers but rather a system of power, of class antagonisms”. This discovery was a blow to those hoping to apply the behavioral sciences to manipulate workers in the interest of management.”

Hawthorne effect

“GPG will then start to print some gibberish while it generates your key pair. During this period,…”

“GPG will then start to print some gibberish while it generates your key pair. During this period, GPG will also ask you to do something with your computer such as typing on the keyboard, moving your mouse or using your hard disk drive. This serves the purpose of creating more entropy and helps in generating a better key.”

Robert Sosinski: Link

“GPG will then start to print some gibberish while it generates your key pair. During this period, GPG will also ask you to do something with your computer such as typing on the keyboard, moving your mouse or using your hard disk drive. This serves the purpose of creating more entropy and helps in generating a better key.”

Robert Sosinski: Link

Curatorialists

Imagine an Amish-like community which instead of choosing a particular momentbin time to freeze technological development, would pick and choose technologies to include in their lives. How would they reach a consensus on which to include? What would be the guiding principles?

Imagine an Amish-like community which instead of choosing a particular momentbin time to freeze technological development, would pick and choose technologies to include in their lives. How would they reach a consensus on which to include? What would be the guiding principles?