We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jobs in Internet Cafes - Amazon Mechanical Turk - Low skilled workers

Will people be willing to work on low skilled jobs on Computers / Mobile phones if enough payment is provided to them? I recently finished off with this project and results were very good.

Amazon Mechanical Turk. www.mturk.com is a marketplace where low skilled jobs are put for people to work. These jobs are categorised mainly into three types
1. Transcription type jobs.
2. Article writing type of jobs
3. other menial jobs.

The payment varies from $20 to $.01 depending on the complexity of job. It was found that these jobs are not much popular and not picking up fast. Why is it so? After a good research the answer was found to be in the User Interface of such jobs. Low skilled people are too un-techsavy to understand fluent use of the interface provided by mturk.

The next question that could be raised was. If enough payment is provided, will people be willing to work on similar jobs if a good user interface is provided to them? How much is enough? We designed jobs which will pay users around Rs. 100 per hour.

We tried answering this question by running experiments in Internet cafes in India and Africa for around 2 months. We designed our own setup, strategy, user interaction, data collection and analysis. The results were encouraging. Different places displayed different trends, and users had different expectations. It was good to mingle with low end businessmen, low skilled people, and observe their behaviour.

This research will be published in the research track for "Technology for emerging countries".

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