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Transformational impact of cloud labor session1 062314v1

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Opening session for the Mechanical Turk Workshop at the AWS World Wide Public Sector Symposium 2014

Opening session for the Mechanical Turk Workshop at the AWS World Wide Public Sector Symposium 2014


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  • Cloud computing – and therefore cloud labor is defined by three basic pillars.
  • Use as much as you need – and only what you need
  • Available at the moment you need it – without regard to startup or notice
  • Pay only for what you use – with no up front fees, minimums, or commitments.
    This change in paradigm brings a new level of efficiency and predictability to your human capital needs. In an open environment you pay by the task – for accurate completed work, regardless of the time component. You also only pay for productivity – down time is at the expense of the Worker – and because of scale, production doesn’t suffer when Workers stop – because there’s always more worker capacity to fill in.
    This change in cost allows you to match your ROI needs to the task costs more directly.
  • Trying to fit resources to needs creates periods of waste and understaffing – creating poor customer experiences. Managing these fluctuations are expensive – and are reflected in cost models. Gaining 100% utilization – 100% of the time maximizes expenditure. To do that, you need a scalable, instant workforce.
  • So, what is crowdsourcing?
    A large group of people is considered a mob.
    Add a common interest and they become a crowd.
    Tap that interest of a common goal that matches your need and you can source results – crowdsourcing.
  • If you can apply the same fundamental efficiency principles of Cloud Computing to a crowd – you can create Cloud Labor – flexible, on-demand, pay as you go.
  • What are the necessary characteristics of a Cloud Labor offering? How can you achieve the three key benefits of Cloud Computing in a workforce.

  • Ideation is tapping a community with a common interest for opinions or ideas – that could be a product, or position.
    Crowd labor is focusing on a common interest in work types.
    Expertise based might be a group of common skills like Legal advice that answer my question – I may not know who specifically answered it, but the collective wisdom of the group arrives at a better answer.
    Freelance are skill sets that I might need short term, generally requires some level communication between worker and requester. Software services are similar to freelance, with deeper collaboration.
    I’m going to talk about Microtasking – the automation of workflow end to end.
  • So then what is Amazon Mechanical Turk
  • When Mechanical Turk was created to support an internal need – it had to meet all three advantages listed previously – it has to scale up and down quickly, it had to leverage an open crowd of workers to create human scale, and it needed a transaction base for consummating the process. Mechanical Turk is a Marketplace for work. It is analogous to Amazon.com – except the Requesters place offers into the system (tasks) for a set reward. The workers are the “customers” that search the work catalog for tasks that they want to do. As they complete work the transaction is consummated. As a free market, requesters of work choose what to have done and what to pay – and workers choose what to work on. The signals are usually obvious – low paying work moves slowly.
    Key advantages to the marketplace are its API’s allowing a fully automated connection for creating tasks. This allows you to connect it directly to your workflow – so that when a human intervention is needed, a simple call to our API’s produces a task – and when the worker has completed the task – an API call retrieves the result.


    Much like you would access EC2 for computing capacity, Mechanical Turk gives you access to human capacity.
  • Who are the Workers?
    Workers are global
    Valuable source of feedback on how to improve your HITS

    Managing Your Workforce
    Geotrageting is available. Can narrow to US based (i.e. when you need western culture competence) or can target other countries.
    Qualifications help to target work to most qualified.
  • When Mechanical Turk was created to support an internal need – it had to meet all three advantages listed previously – it has to scale up and down quickly, it had to leverage an open crowd of workers to create human scale, and it needed a transaction base for consummating the process. Mechanical Turk is a Marketplace for work. It is analogous to Amazon.com – except the Requesters place offers into the system (tasks) for a set reward. The workers are the “customers” that search the work catalog for tasks that they want to do. As they complete work the transaction is consummated. As a free market, requesters of work choose what to have done and what to pay – and workers choose what to work on. The signals are usually obvious – low paying work moves slowly.
    Key advantages to the marketplace are its API’s allowing a fully automated connection for creating tasks. This allows you to connect it directly to your workflow – so that when a human intervention is needed, a simple call to our API’s produces a task – and when the worker has completed the task – an API call retrieves the result.


    Much like you would access EC2 for computing capacity, Mechanical Turk gives you access to human capacity.
  • Transcript

    • 1. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Transformational Impact of Cloud Labor John Hoskins & Daniel Gray jhoskins@amazon.com djgray@amazon.com
    • 2. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 22 ][ What does Cloud Mean?
    • 3. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 3 1. Elastic Capacity ][ 3
    • 4. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 4 2. On Demand Availability ][ 4
    • 5. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 55 [ ]3. Pay as you go, for what you use
    • 6. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 6 On and Off Predictable peaks Missed Opportunity Fast GrowthWASTE Resource Usage Patterns ][ 6 Variable peaks
    • 7. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 77 ][ What is Crowdsourcing? A large group of people = Mob Add a common interest = Crowd* * Wikipedia definition of Crowd
    • 8. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 88 ][ What is Cloud Labor?
    • 9. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 9 _Large, Scalable workforce _Critical mass environment, on demand _Change the cost paradigm from fixed to variable _Programmatic Access (API) _Quality controls and workflow “building blocks” 9 ][ Characteristics of Cloud Labor
    • 10. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 1 0 Crowd Trends[ ] Image provided by Crowdsource.org
    • 11. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 20141 1 ][ What does this mean for Customers? • New process paradigm. • Better cost control and measurable savings • Transformational deliver metrics: real time and scalable. • Opportunity for greater optimization and innovation.
    • 12. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 20141 2 12 ][ What is Mechanical Turk?
    • 13. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 20141 3 • Scalable workforce • Optimized for microtasking • Critical mass environment, on demand 13 ][ Cloud Based Labor
    • 14. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 20141 4 Global Workforce ][ 14 (as of Apr 19th, 2012) 500,000 Workers 190+ Countries
    • 15. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 20141 5 • Quality controls and workflow “building blocks” • Change the cost paradigm from fixed to variable • Programmatic Access (API) • Critical mass environment, on demand 15 ][ Marketplace for Work
    • 16. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Thank You