Documenting the Coming Singularity

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Will Your Next Boss Be a Machine?

New Scientist - Dec. 6, 2012 by Douglas Heaven

"I'D RATHER have a computer as my boss than a jerk," says Daniel Barowy. To that end he has created AutoMan, the first fully automatic system that can delegate tasks to human workers via crowdsourcing platforms such as Amazon's Mechanical Turk.

Artificial intelligence is improving all the time, but computers still struggle to complete certain tasks that are easy for us, such as quickly reading a car's license plate or translating a joke. To get round this, people can post such tasks on platforms like Mechanical Turk for others to complete. Barowy wanted to automate this process - and AutoMan was born.

"We think of it as a new kind of computing," says Barowy, a computer scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. "It changes the kind of things you can do."

Barowy and colleagues designed AutoMan to send out jobs, manage workers, accept or reject work and make payments. "You're replacing people's bosses with a computer," he says.

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