Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Be smarter than a computer and get paid with Amazon's Mechanical Turk

Named after the famed chess-playing "robot" that supposedly beat Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte, Amazon.com offers another way for humans to prove they're smarter than machines..and to get paid for doing so. The site that Amazon has set up for doing this is mturk.com, or The Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Now, just as a forewarning, you won't get rich by doing tasks on this site, but it is a great time killer if you need something to do and the payouts do quickly add up. A good review of this point can be found in this article from Salon.com a few years back (although the title is in a negative context, you can easily make much more if you want).

How do you become smarter than a computer? Well, you already are. Many of these tasks involve simple things that a computer cannot figure out. One of these things, an example of what I was working on last night, is finding pictures of items based on product descriptions (I was working on this project for Pricegrabber.com through this site). With a payout of $.02 per picture, it's nothing extravagant, but while you're sitting through commercials it gives you something to do that can quickly add up to a few bucks within a day or so.

I've seen projects ranging from $.01 to $7.50 depending on what you want to do, so the amount you can make from this is all up to you. Projects range from picture finding, to posting on blogs, to commercial transcription, and many other assorted projects (right now there's one that involves drawing a picture of a fork and submitting it, how's that for random).

Cashout points are at only $1.00 if you choose Amazon.com credit (great for using at The Ethical Grifter's Amazon Store!!) or $10.00 if you want a cash payout. There's always interesting items on here to do to make a little bit of money, and signup is free and non-binding so check out Amazon's Mechanical Turk and check out the variety of ways to be smarter than a computer and make some extra cash!