At the DM SIG of SFBay ACM, Rion Snow spoke about using Amazon Mechanical Turk as a cheap and fast way to do various tasks, such as collecting annotations, to train machine learning and natural language recognition algorithms. He was charging as low as $1 for 1,000 labelling tasks.
MTurk shows Amazon’s foresight, along with EC2 and other services. MTurk was established in 2005 to leverage the idea of crowdsourcing, where people online can request specific tasks to be done (such as doing paper review and editing) with a payment. Other people in MTurk would just the task and get paid. Most people get paid on average of $1/month, while some really diligent folks could get up to $100/month.
Rion indicated that the result could be made close to experts could produce, at low cost and fast, provided some of the biased/noise data could be eliminated. The biased/noise data include those that were generated by a few people who were just doing the job for the money (conjecture on my part).
Copyright (c) 2008 by Waiming Mok