The Mechanical Turk is an interesting new service from Amazon that puts a web service interface on getting a human to figure something out. They call it artificial artificial intelligence. I read somewhere (not sure how true it is) that spammers, etc were getting around those graphics with letters and numbers that have to be entered to prove you’re a human by sending them to humans in countries where they would transcribe them for a nickel or something equally cheap. This turns that into a real service.

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