Gems – Decentralized Mechanical Turk

So what is Gems?

In order to understand what Gems is and it’s true potential, you first need to understand what Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is and how it works.

So, in a nutshell, Amazon Mechanical Turk is essentially a marketplace which enables individuals as well and businesses to utilize collective human intelligence in order to carry out tasks that computers are unable to perform. Make sense so far..? Great, let’s move on. reCAPTCHA is a great example of this kind of technology. Have you ever been on a website where you’re presented with a form and that the bottom you see that famous “I’m not a robot” checkbox, and then you have to verify the letters or images you see in a popup? well, that’s the kind of technology I’m referring to. As well as protecting websites from spam and abuse, reCAPTCHA uses ‘human effort’ or collective human intelligence to help digitize text, annotate images, and most importantly build machine learning datasets.

Having a marketplace allows individuals or businesses to freely (with the obvious fees of course) post different jobs known as  Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) which enable workers (Sometimes called Providers or Turkers) to browse and complete a task for some form of monetary value.

So back to Gems, what is it? It’s a protocol powered by Ethereum to enable the contracting of micro-tasks. In order to ensure the validity of tasks workers stake their tokens to earn a computed trusted score. This computed trusted score ensures the cost-efficiency of the network.

Why the need if Amazon MTurk already exists?

The quick answer to that would be the high fees currently being imposed upon the requester and the worker. In addition to that, the current setup is centralised and is completely owned by Amazon. This completely goes against the whole decentralisation concept which is at the heart of blockchain technology. By having a decentralised marketplace empowers the users of the platform. It would make for an even playing ground in which workers would be paid fairly with requester being charged a reasonable fee.

Some of the key features of the Gems Network:

  • It removes the middlemen from taking large fees
  • It properly incentives miners and requesters of the network whilst disincentivizing the malicious ones
  • It removes the need for an existing banking infrastructure
  • The Gems Trust Score Mechanism is used to determine the value an individual brings to the network.

Gems have an alpha release which you can access here.

I really like what GEMs is trying to achieve here, also their advisor’s roster is not too shabby too. They consist the co-founders of, reCAPTCHA -Ben Maurer, Twitter -Biz Stone, and Augur -Joey Krug. For a more in-depth analysis of what Gems is I recommend checking out their whitepaper.

Overall I believe GEMs is definitely a platform you should be keeping an eye on.

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