Amazon sees the future: Humans will be computing gofers

Summary:In the future we're all going to become gofers for computers. Pleasant thought isn't it?

In the future we're all going to become gofers for computers.

Pleasant thought isn't it?

Amazon has filed a patent for a "Hybrid machine/human computing arrangement." From the patent abstract via Slashdot:

"A hybrid machine/human computing arrangement which advantageously involves humans to assist a computer to solve particular tasks, allowing the computer to solve the tasks more efficiently. In one embodiment, a computer system decomposes a task, such as, for example, image or speech comparison, into subtasks for human performance, and requests the performances. The computer system programmatically conveys the request to a central coordinating server of the hybrid machine/human computing arrangement, which in turn dispatches the subtasks to personal computers operated by the humans. The humans perform the subtasks and provide the results back to the server, which receives the responses, and generates a result for the task based at least in part on the results of the human performances."

Talk about a good time. Nick Carr describes this as a "cybernetic arrangement" underpinning Amazon's Mechanical Turk service. He also quips that Amazon's patent is a nice hedge tactic--after all we'll be too busy being gofers for computers to buy books, musics and deal with those silly recommendations.

Maybe even Wall Street will like this Amazon side venture--unlike the other detours Amazon has been taking. Just imagine Amazon's licensing stream once humans and computers merge. 

Topics: Amazon


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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