The other day, we posted a list of 10 jobs being automated at a surprising pace. We would be remiss if we did not include a job that is quickly being taken over by machines: the boss.
We’re quickly advancing to the point in which microtasks are being managed and parceled out over networks. In a post at New Scientist, Douglas Heaven provides details on an algorithm designed by researchers at the University of Massachusetts: “AutoMan.” He calls AutoMan “the first fully automatic system that can delegate tasks to human workers via crowdsourcing platforms such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.”
Indeed, the next big thing after crowdsourcing may be “crowd labor,” in which tasks are delivered and return piecemeal, over the Internet, from workers all over the globe. Amazon Mechanical Turk is the leading example in use today, but new, compiled services such as photo-moderation and sentiment-analysis are also emerging.
In a paper describing the attributes of AutoMan, the UMass researchers describe the shortcomings of current crowd labor platforms:
“Crowdsourcing platforms like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk make it possible to harness human-based computational power on an unprecedented scale. However, their utility as a general-purpose computational platform remains limited. The lack of complete automation makes it difﬁcult to orchestrate complex o