Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Not quite artificial intelligence

Amazon has just released an iPhone app in time for every retailer's favourite shopping season.

As you can imagine it lets you browse and search the Amazon site from the comfort of your iPhone.

Where it gets interesting is the app also includes an Amazon Remembers feature.

This lets you take a photo of something with your iPhone which the app will match to the item on the Amazon database.

Sounds amazing doesn't it?

Well guess what - It's all done using Amazon's Mechanical Turk.

The Mechanical Turk is what Amazon calls its artificial artificial intelligence.

No that's not a typo.

Their artificial intelligence isn't artificial at all. It's human!

In fact it's a bunch of people who look at the iPhone pics, work out what the product is that has been photographed, then go looking for it on Amazon.

Who'd have thought such a seemingly high tech service would be so dependent on a bunch ordinary folks looking to make a dollar?

If you fancy a stint as a Mechanical Turk click here to find out more.