Soylent, the macro made of people

More on this question of crowdsourced writing, (plugging wet-ware into software) comes Soylent, (yes, it’s made of people) a research project which has written a add-in to Microsoft Word.

Hooked into Amazon Mechanical Turk, this project offers three services:

  • Shortn – trim document length without changing meaning
  • Crowdproof – distributed human proof-reading
  • The Human Macro – open-ended tasks such as changing the tense of document, “natural language crowd-scripting”

Think of how something like Soylent and other outsourcing services change the game. I used to work with someone that would farm out the preparation of his expense reports to Man Friday. How soon before someone, in a moment of bureaucratic weakness, whips up a script to to outsource preparation of the weekly TPS report to management from inside Corporation X. Chances are, it’s already happening.

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