Bridging the Gap


Computers, the Division of Labor and Crowdsourcing

Dr. David Alan Grier

Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

In the past 4 years, we have seen the growth of large systems that combine both computer and human labor. Often identified as “artificial artificial intelligence” these systems are used for tasks as diverse as creating metadata, object recognition, translation, editing and other complicated tasks. Examples of these systems include systems as diverse as those supported by Amazon Mechanical Turk and Wikipedia. Though they are often identified as new step in computer science, they actually have a long history and represent the next step in the processes that have created divided labor.

Short biography:

David Alan Grier is the an Associate Professor at the George Washington University and is the First Vice President of the IEEE Computer Society. He writes the monthly column “The Known World” in IEEE Computer and is the author of two books When Computers Were Human (Princeton 2005) and Too Soon To Tell (Wiley 2009).