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Buster Benson

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Mechanical Turk drew 10,000 sheep for dude's thesis
bird poops on plum branch
buster

Mechanical Turk drew 10,000 sheep for dude's thesis
Originally uploaded by Buster Mcleod.

Mechanical Turk is a service that Amazon hosts where you can ask people to do small tasks for a tiny bit of money. I haven't really seen any good uses of it (other than maybe unspun which launched a couple days ago) until I saw this: Sheep Market.

This guy had people draw 10,000 sheep, and is now selling them blocks of 20 for $20. I hope he makes a lot of money. I almost bought one.

A summary of some of the statistics that the guy mentioned in his thesis is here. For example, on average 11 sheep were drawn an hour, for a total of $0.69/hour. That means he paid about 7 cents a sheep... or $700 for all 10,000. Think that's worth it?


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Buster you are falling apart! Your Sheep Market link is wrong and I heard about this project 10 years ago and I'm not even very good at the internet. I do think 10,000 sheep is totally worth $700, especially if you stand to make $10K from it.

Ooops. I'm behind the sheep curve. Well, I still think it's a neat idea and want to do something like it myself. Maybe we could have mechanical turks write fortunes for our fortune telling machine?

I think it is neat too. Maybe the mechanical turks can search for sofas for us.

It was $0.02 a sheep...

It was actually closer to $250 for all the sheep (well, $200 for the sheep and $50 in fees to mTurk).

Quite a bargain, really. And definitely one of the more creative uses I've seen of Mechanical Turk.
- Isaac

Re: It was $0.02 a sheep...

sheeps is cheap.

I can draw more than 11 sheep in an hour! I should try that someday -- draw a hundred sheep in a day, each in a different style. In the sheep market economy, I'd be making seven bucks for the day.

I think he needed better quality control on his sheep.

he says he rejected about 700 sheep. i sort of like the brokedown sheep myself.

Are any of the sheep worth more than seven cents?

i think it depends on how long you took to draw it. so, the complicated sheep probably cost more than the simple sheep... though, there should really be other mechanical turks appraising each sheep and determining the pay of the drawing mechanical turk. if it was to be perfect.

Create a mechanical turk job instructing Turkers to create other profitable mechanical turk jobs.

Putting the "different style" thing aside, I would have to produce 6000+ frames of sheep a day to make my day rate as an animator if I include the 6% rejection rate. I would have to make 3 minutes of rendered sheep action. The current Pixar animation quota is 3 seconds a week, but they have, you know, standards and everything...

Anyway, back to Maya!

This is a really cool idea. I'm tempted to buy some sheep too.

Yeah, it's pretty awesome. I want to learn about the drawing tool he used... I think we could get people to draw 10,000 sheep for free on livejournal if we posted it as a quiz or something. Like palm-reading, but sheep-drawing reading.

274 turkeys, produced by psych students instead of mechanical turks:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/3e/sets/72157594386595920/

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