Living with Machines

The Crowdsourcing project that I took part in was titled Living with Machines. The project is supposed to show how people were living through and adjusting to the industrial revolution how machines were affecting everyone’s lives. The purpose of the project is to train machine learning algorithms so that computers can do this task instead of humans. Thus, making it easier to search through these documents.  They are dealing with such a large amount of documents that it is near impossible for a human to go through them all. So, through the use of crowdsourcing, they are making it possible for many more people to view the project. I find the idea of crowdsourcing for the purpose of training AI and machine learning algorithms really fascinating. It allows for them to take in such a large amount of information for a low cost and low manpower.

 There were multiple sub-projects under the project, and the one that I chose to take part in was called Accident detail: age and gender of victims. This project has the user look through newspaper articles from 1800’s Britain. The user is then supposed to read the article and answer question about the demographic of an accident due to a machine. The articles are really interesting to read because they give a very interesting insight into how people were dealing with the explosion of new technology that was being made at the time and how people were dealing with it. As with any new technology there is going to be growing pains that people have to deal with and with the scale of new technology being made it was interesting to see the amount of people that lost their lives because of it.

Above is a picture of what one of the articles generally would look like. It highlights words that would be pertinent to the topic of the accident. Then it asks questions such as how many victims were there, what were their genders, how old were they (if that information is available). Going through each article does not take much time so within the hour that I was doing it I got through quite a few. The tasks were really easy to do, because they were all multiple choice questions with fairly simple answers. This made it go really fast but at the same time it made it really boring. It became very monotonous after a while because it kept you doing the same thing over and over again with not much variation.

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