Everything You Need To Know About Amazon Mechanical Turk


There are certain tasks that even intelligent computers at Amazon can’t perform. For beating the gap, there’s an ongoing demand for a workforce. These tasks are referred to as Human Intelligence Tasks or HITs on Amazon. 

Firms across borders require such tasks to be carried on by humans for a purpose. For instance, identifying certain emotions or factors in an image, movie, episode, or visual can be innately impossible for a machine or algorithm to capture. However, humans can do it!

That’s why Amazon has developed a platform called Amazon Mechanical Turk. Here, businesses post their jobs, and multiple workers accept them for a reward — money! Keep reading to learn all about Amazon Mechanical Turk.

What Is Amazon Mechanical Turk?

Amazon Mechanical Turk is a platform owned by Amazon for posting Human Intelligence Tasks jobs by Requesters or businesses. In 2001, Venky Harinarayan patented this service, and later, Amazon coined the service offered by Amazon Mechanical Turk as Artificial Intelligence for humans carrying tasks faster than computers. 

The name Turk was inspired by the 18th century automated chess game. Wolfgang von Kempelen originally created the game. However, people were quick to spot a chess master hiding under the chessboard.

Similarly, Mechanical Turk uses humans remotely without revealing their contribution. These crowd workers, freelancers, or solopreneurs seek specialized jobs on Mturk

Amazon Web Services operates this crowdsourcing platform, and workers on this platform are often called Turkers or crowd workers (possibly because they are hired in bulk for a specific task). 

Going by the facts, only 49 countries’ Requesters have permission to post a job on Amazon Mechanical Turk right now. A 2018 dataset as per Wikipedia proves that 100,000 workers found jobs on this platform. That said, only 2,000 workers were actively working.

How Does It Work?

Amazon Mechanical Turk’s official page houses plenty of information about the platform. Once you get an idea of how things work, it’s time to set up your Amazon Mechanical Turk account. 

You will see two options on the site’s main page: sign up for an account as a Worker or a Requester (the business/ person who posts the HIT jobs).

Once you set up the profile by filling in your details, you will have to locate and click on the “Make Money” button. Choosing this option implies that you want to use it to earn money by doing Intelligent jobs. Alternatively, you can choose the “Create Tasks” button to create jobs for crowd workers. 

Make The Sign Up Easier With This Trick

The entire setup on Amazon Mechanical Turk is easier if you already have an Amazon seller central account. You can then use those credentials to log in to the site as a worker or Requester. On entering your credentials, you will get a verification email. Click on the link in the email to begin using your MTurk account; it won’t take more than a few minutes to get started. 

However, in some cases, account reviewing and verification might take 24 to 72 hours. And while your account is under review, you won’t be able to earn money or create jobs. The only advice to MTurk account creators is to remain patient during this period. 

The platform does allow you to browse HITs to get the look and feel. You will come across a list of numerous tasks posted by different companies for workers to accept and earn from it. 

Each task has a target object explained in comprehensive language for the workers. The number of HITs required for each job is mentioned against that, meaning the company needs those many workers to perform the said task. 

Additionally, there is a reward section and the time when the task was created. There’s also an option in yellow for the worker to accept and start working on the tasks. Use options like Preview and Qualify to learn more about a job and see when you qualify for those tasks in the future. 

Moreover, hovering the cursor over any task will display the difficulty level and payment cycle information. Hence, there is complete transparency, even as a new worker.

How To Sign Up For Amazon Mturk?

The process to join Amazon Mturk is pretty straightforward. 

  1. Open the Amazon Mturk signup page. 
  2. Choose ‘Open a Worker Account.’
  3. Fill in your Amazon account login details or create a new account. 
  4. Once done, wait for your profile to be verified, which can take up to 48 hours. 
  5. Once verified, complete the payment details to set up your withdrawals. This can take time, depending on the kind of payout you choose. 

The good news is you don’t have to wait for your payment details to be verified to start working; you can start completing the HITs. The first ten days, you would be on a probationary period where you would be expected to complete around 100 HITs a day. After that, you can choose to complete as many tasks as you want. 

Features Of Amazon MTurk

Here are six Amazon MTurk features you must know about:

All HITs Jobs Section

In this section, earners and Requesters or job creators get ample information on current and active tasks. It allows workers to see and count tasks they can apply for. They can also check the reward for each HIT task under a company. 

Workers can jump to another page as there is a provision to skip pages to browse older jobs in this list. 

Dashboard

The workers get the dashboard feature bifurcated into two parts: Overview and Earnings. Under the purview of this dashboard, earners check how much they are earning for each HIT task. 

Sections are pretty clear with name tags like Submitted, Approved, Received, Pending, HITs rewards, Bonus rewards, and Total rewards. You can also check how much you have earned every year. 

Transfer Of Payments

There’s an option to instantly transfer the money you have earned by completing MTurk tasks to your bank account. Needless to say, you need to link your Amazon Mechanical Turk account with your bank details for that to work. 

Efficient Cost Structure

Amazon Mechanical Turk makes it easy for Requesters or job posters to manage temporary workers. They don’t have to negotiate for pennies with freelancers. They can easily put up the job they want to be carried out with desired rates. 

However, Requesters usually pay peanuts to Amazon Mechanical Turk. Note that only so much can be paid to hire temporary workers. 

Create Batches Of HITs Without Writing Code

This is a significant advantage Amazon Mechanical Turk provides to Requesters. There is no burden on job providers to write heavy scripts. They are given an in-built template to fill in each HIT description in English. 

So, Requesters can publish 1000s of similar HITs using the same design instead of posting it 1000 times online. You can also upload CSV format files that can create templates for more than 1000s of similar HITs to execute. 

Integrate Your Amazon Account With MTurk Account

Many companies use Amazon AWS SDK accounts for their business management. They can sign up on Amazon Mechanical Turk using their existing IDs. 

Mechanical Turk for Requesters enables them to use the MTurk Requester API to connect with their AWS SDK IDs. It saves time and simplifies the entire signing-up process. Moreover, distributing intelligent tasks to humans with a single ID is comparatively easy and fast. 

Benefits Of Amazon Mechanical Turk

Here are four reasons why you should consider using Amazon MTurk:

Easy Sign-Up Process

There is no sign-up amount that the user has to pay, and anyone can set up their Requester/ crowd worker account for free. However, Amazon might take a few hours to review your details. But apart from that, the sign-up process is pretty smooth. 

Delegate HIT Tasks Efficiently Within Your Budget

Requesters often favor Amazon Mechanical Turk because there is no hassle of negotiating with workers. They get the workforce’s attention quite easily because such workers need that much work at the said rates. There’s no convincing or negotiating involved, which makes recruitment quicker than usual.

Easy Money For Students And Part-Time Workers

An average human can easily perform many HIT jobs on MTurk. There are tasks like watching ads and categorizing them, conducting surveys for the company’s research purposes, etc.

Such tasks take about 1 to 30 minutes and give students, freelancers, and other part-time workers an opportunity to earn up to 10-50 USD a day or week. Their earning potential depends on the hours they put in. 

Set Criteria For Participants To Get A Quality Response

Requesters can select the workers’ or participants’ criteria while creating jobs or tasks. This way, unqualified people don’t get to apply and perform the task, making resource mapping and management efficient on this platform. 

Endnote

We hope the above guide has given you all the required know-how to get started with MTurk. Amazon Mechanical Turk is an Amazon-operated and owned platform, so there’s enough reason to trust its legitimacy. For more information about the platform and its functions, visit the Amazon Mechanical Turk website and go through their detailed tutorials and FAQs.

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