My increasingly expensive obsession with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, also known as the most pointlessly fascinating experiment I’ve attempted all year.

I recently watched a TED talk given by Aaron Koblin entitled “Visualizing Our Humanity” which he opened with this quote:

“So, I believe that data can actually make us more human.”

 And I think he is right… along with his TED talk inspiring me to actually GO DO SOMETHING. TRY something. TEST something. LEARN something.

So I did. What resulted, beyond the fascinating things I learned, was a surprisingly inspiring global micro-work of art:

I have @markmcspadden to thank for opening my eyes as to why we should all have a healthy obsession with big data and applied mathematics… and I’m today passing the 2 year mark on my fascination with the concept he also introduced me to of a distributed workforce generating massive volumes of potentially meaningful data. 

It makes my geeky mouth water. 🙂

And it was why the experiments Aaron shared piqued my interest in a big way, including his desire to explore what it means for humans to begin to perform micro-tasks with no context to inform their work about what the bigger “thing” is that they are working on. 

He asked people to draw sheep – I decided to ask them to draw a world map from memory. 

Part of what he learned, and that I counted on in my experiment, was that it’s not about the scientific exercise of drawing sheep or a map… but actually about each person’s interpretation of the task.

And that’s what made this cold scientific exercise a thing of random beauty.

Keko keeper of the nerdy data geek stuck in the body of a non-technical strategist + marketer.


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