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An Honest Amazon Mechanical Turk Tutorial



If you’re looking for a literal Amazon Mechanical Turk tutorial that spells out piece-by-piece how it works, this is not the article for you. 

In a world with an ever-increasing reliance on technology, it’s nice to know that humans are still superior to computers. In certain tasks, at least. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) “celebrates” that by providing a service where humans are still the preferred means to accomplish a task. 

However, there are truths about MTurk that you should be aware of before signing up. Here is an honest Amazon Mechanical Turk Tutorial. 

History and Context

The name “Mechanical Turk” comes from an 18th-century chess-playing automaton. Created by Wolfgang von Kempelen, “the Turk,” as it was colloquially known, toured Europe to display a machine’s superiority over humanity. The Turk even beat Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin in what was surely a crowd-pleasing series of chess matches. 

It was later revealed that the Turk was not an automaton at all. It was, in fact, a human chess master stuffed into a cabinet beneath the chessboard that controlled a humanoid dummy. An assuredly uncomfortable human was who beat Franklin and Bonaparte – not a machine. 

When naming a service where a human is behind a computer interface, “Mechanical Turk” seems quite fitting. 

Of course, when it comes to chess nowadays, computers are pretty badass. 

What Is Amazon Mechanical Turk?

MTurk is a crowdsourcing website for businesses to hire remotely located workers to perform discrete on-demand tasks that computers are currently unable to do. This service was conceived by Venky Harinarayan in a U.S. patent disclosure in 2001. Though, Jeff Bezos likes to take credit for it. 

Businesses, called Requesters, hire remotely located workers, called Workers (how creative), for literal pennies on the dollar to perform simple tasks. These tasks are things only a human can do like:

  • Finding objects in photos
  • Writing reviews
  • Determining if a hotel is family-friendly
  • Writing product descriptions
  • Pushing a certain when a certain prompt appears
  • And so on…

Requesters post jobs and Workers accept them. Simple as that. 

How MTurk Works

Workers have the “freedom” to set their own hours and are not under any obligation to accept any particular task. If one doesn’t, another will. Workers fall under the contractor technicality by design. Amazon cannot be bothered to pay Workers a liveable wage. 

Amazon refuses to file the necessary forms or pay payroll taxes. This is aimed at skirting minimum wage, overtime, and worker’s comp. In 2013, the average wage for the multiple microtasks assigned – if performed quickly – is about one dollar an hour. 

Requesters post simple tasks – for as little pay as is legally required – and Workers accept and perform them. They are then reviewed by Requesters. A negative review can negatively affect Workers reputation and any potential task opportunities. 

Sure sounds like slave labor, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, legally speaking, this is acceptable. 

What MTurk Is Used For

If you’re wondering what kind of work or tasks MTurk is used for, here’s a bit of an Amazon Mechanical Turk tutorial: 

Human-subject Research

Beginning in 2010, numerous researchers have used MTurk to recruit subjects for social science experiments. General consensus among researchers is that MTurk is effective at recruiting a diverse sample but far less effective in studies that require more precisely defined populations. The cost of studies is far more affordable when using MTurk than more traditional means of funding. 

Machine Learning

Machine learning researchers have hired Workers through MTurk to produce data sets such as SQuAD, a question-answering dataset. 

Missing Persons Searches

Since 2007, MTurk has been used, unsuccessfully, to search for prominent missing persons. 

Artistic Works

Artist xtine burrough created The Mechanical Olympics (2008), Endless Om (2015), and Meditations on Digital Labor through MTurk. Other artists have used the service as well. 

Third-party Programming

Programmers have developed various browser extensions and scripts designed to simplify the process of completing jobs. 

Labor Issues

A 2016 Pew Research study found that a quarter of online “gig workers,” much like those on MTurk, have to because of a lack of work opportunities in their part of the country. Since Workers are legally considered independent contractors, they are, in theory, not protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

However, according to U.S. Labor Law and Professor Miriam Cherry of Saint Louis University School of Law,

Workers on Mechanical Turk are no different than, say, construction workers who show up at job sites and work for a day or two on a project. Those construction workers can still file a lawsuit under the Fair Labor Standards Act for wage theft, even though they are not considered employees [under Amazon’s contract].” 

In 2014, The Nation magazine reported that Requesters have taken advantage of Workers by having them perform tasks, then rejecting their submissions in order to avoid paying them. Imagine how cheap you have to be to refuse to pay someone a few measly cents. 

That is Mr. Krabs level cheap. 

And there is, seemingly, no end to this behavior. 


Amazon believes, and correctly so, that it can get away with offering literal pennies to Workers because they have the “freedom” to say no. For many of them, they don’t have a choice. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is knowingly and willingly taking advantage of labor. 

In many ways, we have come a long, long way in the advancement of labor. Things are, in general, far better now than they have been in the past. But for many, like MTurk Workers, don’t have an opportunity. Amazon and Bezos know this and they exploit them. 

If you wanted an Amazon Mechanical Turk tutorial, you got one. Just not the one you were expecting. 

How’s the view from space, Bezos?

Chris Blondell is a Philadelphia-based writer and social media strategist with a current focus on tech industry news. He has written about startups and entrepreneurs based in Denver, Seattle, Chicago, New Haven, and more. He has also written content for a true-crime blog, Sword and Scale, and developed social media content for a local spice shop. An occasional comedian, Chris Blondell also spends his time writing humorous content and performing stand-up for local audiences.

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The Shift Towards Banking-As-A-Service



The changing times and the pandemic have created a significant shift in how we bank. In addition, our expectations from banks have also differed through the years. The digitalization of the financial services industry has furthered the plan to get free access to banking data. This is in connection with the Open Banking initiative and the dramatic rise of fintech companies and neo-banks.

The market space that the traditional banks once dominated has now given new players the opportunities to compete alongside them. Indeed, the commoditization of bank services has inevitably begun.

A void to connect banks and these new players has been filled in the form of banking-as-as-service (or BaaS for short) providers. It’s only logical that a service such as this emerges. It’s the order next in line to streamline the customer experience and provide products that are built to engage the modern world. 

What exactly is banking-as-as-service?

The easiest way to explain what banking-as-as-service is is through a few examples, these are:

  • Bank accounts
  • Lending systems
  • Credit card payments

The digital world is changing the relationships of brands and businesses with their customers. It is rapidly shifting and improving that even non-bank companies have already integrated financial services to their customers. Established companies such as Walmart, Apple, Uber, or Amazon have already been doing this to add value to their products and services.

Why businesses should take the banking-as-as-service opportunity

To those in the know, banking technology is a complex matter. Developing it from the ground up can be laborious and expensive. Add to that the challenge of getting a bank license which turns off those trying to get in that niche. What banking-as-as-service does is to connect businesses with banks that take care of the requirements and provide the technology they need to provide financial services through a slew of digital channels.

This process will make banking services more engaging and less transactional. Businesses can now integrate services throughout the buying journey without redirecting them to a different platform. This means customers will no longer do the rigamarole of going from one channel to another. They will get what they need when and where they need it.

And statistics show that it is working. Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services are steadily climbing at a rate of 39% per year for approximately 10 million Britons making their online purchases. 

What now for traditional banks?

Since traditional banks have little appetite for risks, they weren’t built to handle the demands for embedded finance. BaaS companies make it faster and easier for fintechs and other companies to increase their offerings by embedding digital banking services directly into the purchase. Instead of seeing this as competition, traditional banks should collaborate with BaaS to benefit from this embedding.

What can Banking-as-a-service do?

With the help of banking-as-a-service, new players in the finance industry will have the capability of targeting niche communities and coming up with slimmer product sets. Also, the solutions that BaaS offers can give valuable insights to businesses on how they can improve their products or services. They will have the much-needed data to learn about industry trends, saving and spending behaviors, and general engagement with their offerings.

All these means that businesses can have more information on how they can improve the overall customer experience. This also means companies can deliver products and services that are more targeted towards the right customers. The possibilities that banking-as-a-service offers are endless in terms of innovation in the banking and financial services market.

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Playrcart Gives You What You Want – Immediately



We’ve all watched ads and immediately thought, “I want that. Right now.” Some of us wish we could jump right into the TV and into that sexy Ford F-Series quicker than we can have a second thought. But how many of us have gone to make a purchase only to be discouraged by the needlessly complicated payment process? “Too many,” says UK-based startup Playrcart

We believe this is the future of advertising.” 

Founder Glen Dormieux, along with CTO, Richard Mason, created Playrcart born of that very frustration.

What we’re seeing right now is fairly traditional – they’re doing the same thing time and time again.

Currently, when viewing an ad, you have to go through several pages in order to complete a purchase. How many sales are lost in that time-consuming process? “Too many!” say business owners in a Mr. Krabs-esque demeanor. 

How Does Playrcart Work?

Playrcart has designed its platform to convert digital assets into instant transactions within the ad itself. How is that possible? Technology, stupid. 

You can actually make the transaction go directly within the asset itself. So you engage with the ads, you interact with the purchase within the ad without ever leaving that same piece of content.

It effectively dilutes numerous clicks that you normally have to navigate through. The average of reduction clicks is about 75 percent.

With Playrcart, you can watch the trailer for a new Spider-man movie and buy tickets before it’s even completed. You can schedule a test drive in the Ford F-Series as you’re watching a professional drive it on a closed course. 

Consumers will now have the option to purchase something when their emotional response to an ad is at its peak. You can see an ad for a major event and as you’re riding that emotional wave you click and purchase tickets. As the ad concludes, you can emotionally conclude with it – satisfied. 

You can see Playrcart’s technology in action here

Playrcart is capitalizing on our instant gratification society, and they’re doing it with modesty and innovative advances in technology. 

We want to hit them instantly while you’ve got their attention.

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Crazy Things That Happened in 2021



Although 2021 would probably go down in history as one of the craziest years in recent times, 2021 is looking like it’s catching up. Here are a few of the crazy things that happened this year:

Capitol Hill Riot (January)

Early January saw a massive riot happen at the US Capitol. Former President Trump was charged with incitement in his impeachment trial in the Senate. This resulted in a mob that was pro-Trump, breaking into the building. This forced members of Congress to evacuate and left five dead.

Battle of the Billionaires (January)

Elon Musk has surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the richest man in the world. This, thanks to the increase in Tesla’s share price giving him a net worth of more than $185 billion. Bezos was the holder of this title but went down with his $184 billion worth.

Trump Impeachment (January)

A call for Former President Trump’s impeachment happened twice this year. Some Democrats and members of the progressive group, The Squad, called for his impeachment. This, after his supporters stormed the US Capitol.

Frigid Weather in Texas (February)

Brutal winter storms ravaged Texas for more than seven days. It caused unprecedented devastation that claimed the lives of at least 26 people.

The Grammys Breaking Records (March)

Records were broken in this year’s Grammys, with Beyonce winning more awards than any in the award-giving body’s history. Along with Megan Thee Stallion, they became the first female artists to win best rap performance, breaking records. BTS also made Grammy history by being the first foreign act to perform solo and the first KPop group to be nominated.

The Free Britney Movement (April)

Pop icon Britney Spears has been under a conservatorship by her father since 2008. In April this year, the hashtag #freebritney gained traction as fans cried for the singer to be free from the legal binding. 

The Friends Reunion (May)

Not really a follow-up to the lives of the Friends character, but a reunion in which the main cast members reminisced about the good ol’ times. The fans were treated to a recreation of the set along with some table reads from scenes that were rehashed. 

Bitcoin Price Plunge (May)

After hitting a record high of $64,829 in mid-April, Bitcoin prices plunged to around $30,000 at one point. All this is in connection with Elon Musk’s Tesla’s suspension of purchase with the cryptocurrency, citing environmental concerns over the mining process.

The End for Keeping Up With The Kardashians (June)

The month of June saw the end of the reality TV show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. After 20 seasons on the air, the show ends with a two-part reunion special. However, this isn’t the end for the Kardashians-Jenner, as they will star anew in a Hulu reality series later this year.

On another note, the year also saw the divorce of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West after six years of marriage.

All Eyes on Simone Biles (July)

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics was held in 2021 due to the pandemic. And on this one, all eyes were on Simone Biles as she has proven that she’s not superhuman after all. The celebrated gymnast withdrew from the team gymnastics finals citing the “twisties” and her efforts to focus on her mental health.

Facebook Name Change (October)

From Facebook to Meta, the rebranding was announced in October in an attempt to own the metaverse. The company says that the new name is reflective of their ambitions that go beyond being a social media platform. CEO Mark Zuckerberg considers the move as a nod to the metaverse, the concept of a three-dimensional version of the internet.

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