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Tuesday, August 02, 2022

The Dawn of Crowdfarms

 Considerable piece starts simple and becomes process-task technical, worth understanding.Note useby China,  considerable detail at the link.  Approach is new to me.    Looking for more detailed examples.

The Dawn of Crowdfarms   By Yihong Wang, Konstantinos Papangelis, Ioanna Lykourentzou, Vassilis-Javed Khan, Michael Saker, Yong Yue, Jonathan Grudin

Communications of the ACM, August 2022, Vol. 65 No. 8, Pages 64-70     10.1145/3490698

Crowdsourcing is the process by which organizations or individuals outsource tasks with an online "open call."9 With tasks posted, and instructions and finished goods digitally exchanged, crowdsourcing enables the geographically distributed online workforce and work solicitors to cooperate on various tasks—improving productivity, social mobility, and the global economy.

Common crowdsourcing practice, illustrated by Amazon Mechanical Turk, comprises the completion of tasks by crowdworkers as opposed to solely computational systems. This approach has achieved impressive results in data clustering, content labeling, and other small tasks that individuals can complete in a short time. However, this has limited the opportunities for crowdworkers to collaborate and develop specialized skills while preventing crowdsourcing to be applied to projects that require higher levels of expertise and closer teamwork, such as software development and industrial design.

As crowdsourcing platforms and practices mature, will they reach a steady state and continue to grow while still focusing on simple tasks? Or, could there be a shift or disruption?

In previous research into Chinese crowdsourcing, we identified a new paradigm that could indicate a shift: small companies that regard crowd-work as part of their formal business and assemble teams to take on multi-faceted crowdsourced tasks requiring specialized expertise. We refer to these companies as "crowdfarms."a A crowdfarm is a small but growing crowdsourcing workforce in China that is positioned between traditional crowdsourcing and consultancies. A similar focus recently appeared in Up-work, which unveiled an "Agency Experience" policy to support small firms that specialize in complex, high-value crowdtasks.7 The emergence of these small businesses in both Eastern and Western crowdsourcing contexts indicates that organizational participation in crowdwork could become a widespread trend.

This article describes a series of studies conducted through interviews to obtain an in-depth understanding of this emerging organizational form. We describe how Chinese crowdfarms that were early adopters of this form operate, explore the perspectives of people who work in them, and assess the implications for the evolution of crowd-sourced work.  .... ' 

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