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Episode 600: The People Inside Your Machine

Posted: January 30, 2015

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Today on the show, we visit the place where regular people compete to do tiny tasks, sometimes for pennies.

Amazon's Mechanical Turk is named after the chess-playing fake machine from the 18th-century

Amazon's Mechanical Turk is named after the chess-playing fake machine from the 18th-century Wolfgang von Kempelen

They are hundreds of thousands of people out there doing stuff to your internet that you probably think is automatic. They aren't computer programmers, they're just regular people working from their offices, homes and bedrooms. They are the people of Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Amazon Mechanical Turk is an online marketplace for work. Businesses use it to farm out tiny little tasks like counting the number of people in a photo, and people around the world race to perform those tasks, sometimes for pennies.

Today on the show, we sneak into the land of Mechanical Turk to meet the people inside.

Music: Kanye West's "Heard 'Em Say." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Spotify/ Tumblr.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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