Amazon Mechanical Turk is an amazing API. It’s an API to humans, and yup that sounds super weird.
I programmatically create a HIT – a Human Intelligence Task, using their API. Typical HIT’s are “sort these files by cuteness”, “listen to these audio files for NSFW material” and other things a computer can’t do well (yet). Humans somewhere in the world will choose to do these tasks and get micro payments in return. We’ve got more posts about this coming up soon.
I wanted to see what happens when this system starts playing by itself, essentially by creating a feedback loop where a result from a HIT yields a new HIT, in an eternal loop. The outcome… is it art? A blog-series? A study in low-wage work? Who knows.
The task I created was to interpret the text phrase “I was born on Jupiter” into a 20 seconds video of containing dance. The next task will be to interpret the modern dance in a drawing. The one after that is to interpret the drawing in a text, and then it starts over.
Everything is documented on interpretthis.tumblr.com. Humans are slow, so it could take days for new posts to turn up here. I’ll keep it going as long as it’s interesting.