Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is a crowdsourcing marketplace enabling individuals and businesses (known as Requesters) to engage a 24/7, global distributed workforce (known as Workers) to perform tasks. A Human Intelligence Task (HIT) is a single, self-contained task a Requester creates on MTurk, an example of a task would be "Identify the red apple in this image of a fruit basket". Workers use the MTurk website to find assignments to work on, submit responses, and manage their account.
MTurk offers access to a virtual community of Workers that are available to help you accomplish your business goals. AWS Software Development Kit (SDK) supports the MTurk Requester API, so you can simplify using MTurk in your applications with an API tailored to your programming language or platform of choice. The robust set of AWS tools enable you to programmatically distribute tasks that require human intelligence to a widely distributed, on-demand workforce.
You can create and submit virtually any task that can be completed using a computing device connected to the Internet. The Requester site provides a large set of sample templates that make it easy to get started creating HITs for Workers to complete. MTurk templates are defined using HTML/JS/CSS and can be readily modified. You can easily create your own template by modifying a template, or start from a blank template. Researchers can also post a survey on MTurk that is hosted on another service such as Qualtrics or SurveyMonkey, or other survey tools they may be more familiar with.
The MTurk Requester UI enables Requesters to create and publish HITs — either one at a time or in a batch — without writing code. Publishing HITs in a batch from the UI can save significant time when a Requester is looking to process many HITs of the same type. For instance, instead of creating one HIT asking one Worker to find the primary websites for 1000 companies, you could publish 1000 HITs using the same HIT design by uploading each company’s data in a CSV (comma-separated values) file. Using the CSV file, MTurk will automatically create a separate HIT for every company included in your file, enabling multiple Workers to work on your HITs at the same time.
Qualifications offer a power mechanism for Requesters to have fine grain control over which Workers are allowed to view and work on your tasks. You can create your own custom Qualification Types, or use the ones supplied by MTurk to qualify and manage your workforce.
Turn fixed costs into variable costs; the overhead and fixed costs associated with hiring and managing a temporary workforce can often be significant. By leveraging the skills of on-demand Workers from around the world, you can significantly lower costs by paying only for what you use. The price you (the Requester) pay for a Human Intelligence Task ("HIT") is comprised of two components: the amount you pay Workers, plus a fee you pay Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) which is based on the amount you pay Workers.