Crowdsourcing has emerged as a powerful tool for solving complex problems, gathering diverse insights, and fueling innovation. However, as the demand for crowdsourced solutions grows, organizations are turning to scalable automated crowdsourcing solutions to streamline the process and maximize efficiency. This Crowdsourcing Week blog explores the world of scalable automated crowdsourcing and how it’s transforming the way businesses harness collective intelligence.
Understanding Scalable Automated Crowdsourcing
Scalable automated crowdsourcing involves the use of technology and automation to manage, coordinate, and optimize large-scale crowdsourcing initiatives. This approach offers several advantages.
Automation reduces the time and effort required to organize and manage crowdsourcing projects, enabling organizations to be more efficient and achieve their goals more quickly. Also, by automating repetitive tasks, businesses can cut costs associated with manual coordination and data processing, and be more cost effective.
Automation allows organizations to easily scale up or down, depending on the size and complexity of the crowdsourcing project, while quality control tools can enforce quality standards and ensure that the output of the crowd meets specific criteria.
At the end of the data collection, automated systems can process and analyze the data generated through crowdsourcing to provide valuable insights and trends faster.
The Role of Technology in Scalable Crowdsourcing
Several key technologies contribute to the success of scalable automated crowdsourcing solutions. As technology continues to advance, organizations can look forward to more efficient, cost-effective, and data-driven crowdsourcing initiatives. By embracing automation, businesses are not only optimizing their operations but also redefining the way they approach complex challenges and innovation in the digital age.
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is crucial for understanding and processing textual data provided by contributors. It enables the extraction of valuable information from large volumes of text. AI and Machine Learning can then categorize, filter, and evaluate the crowdsourced contributions. They can also recommend tasks to specific contributors based on their noted skills and previous performance.
Task Automation platforms can streamline task assignment, tracking, and reporting, reducing the need for manual intervention, though some contributors may feel this dehumanizes the process to at least some or even to a significant degree.
Blockchain technology can be used to enhance transparency and trust in crowdsourcing projects by providing an immutable record of those contributions.
Providers and Users of Scalable Automated Crowdsourcing Solutions
Here are some specific examples of scalable automated crowdsourcing solutions used by named companies across different industries and continents. Potential users should be aware of choosing the right company and platform to match their specific needs, budget, and desired level of expertise. They should also look for automated collective intelligence platforms with task management options, global workforces, and AI integration for efficient and scalable crowdsourcing solutions. Security is a key issue, and users should ensure the platform they choose has robust data security measures in place to protect sensitive information.
Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) Turk is a popular platform that enables businesses to outsource small tasks to a large crowd of workers, often referred to as “Turkers.” While it’s not fully automated, the platform provides a scalable way to distribute and manage microtasks, such as data labeling, image categorization, and content moderation. Within the finance sector it is widely used for microtasks like bank statement verification, completing expenses and fraud detection. It offers access to a large global workforce, though mainly in North America and Europe.
Upwork connects businesses with a global network of skilled freelancers for tasks like financial data analysis and risk assessment, providing a more specialized talent pool compared to MTurk.
In Kenya, the M-Pesa is a phone-based network providing Africa’s most successful mobile money service, providing access to financial services for millions of people. Launched in 2007 by Vodafone and Safaricom, it leverages crowdsourced agents for customer service inquiries, expanding reach and reducing wait times in rural areas. It has expanded to Tanzania, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Ghana, Egypt, Afghanistan, South Africa and Ethiopia.
In 2021, ScaleHub worked with a major health insurer in Germany to automate the process of validating handwritten application forms for child illness benefits. In 2023, ScaleHub went on to launch a service that can digitize over one million patient records with 99% accuracy in under 4 hours. Digitizing and extracting information from handwritten documents is a particularly tricky challenge. There is such a wide range of handwriting that programmers can’t provide enough examples of how any one character should look. The use of automated pre-processing and crowdsourced data verification ultimately allows physicians more time to focus on providing the best possible patient care, and management gets to concentrate on running and growing the business.
Appen offers an AI-powered platform for automated collective intelligence applied to data labeling and data enrichment. It enables businesses to process and improve large datasets efficiently by tapping into a global crowd of contributors. Appen provides specialized medical image annotation and analysis platforms, leveraging crowdsourced expertise for tasks like tumor detection and drug efficacy assessment.
An example of Appen using NLP and AI to improve healthcare is Winterlight Labs, which has created a tool that can monitor cognitive impairment through speech.
In India, Apollo Hospitals used MTurk for crowdsourcing collective intelligence to categorize and tag medical images for research purposes, significantly reducing processing time and cost.
Hapvida, the hospital network and insurer in Brazil, partnered with ScaleArc to digitize over eight million patient records using automated pre-processing and crowdsourced data verification, improving data accessibility and patient care.
Microworkers offers a large, diverse workforce in developing countries, ideal for tasks like product image tagging and description writing for local e-commerce websites. Its workers are mainly in Asia or Africa.
Amazon Translate combines machine translation with human refinement on a global basis to deliver product descriptions and marketing materials, ensuring accuracy and cultural relevance for different regions.
Roamler is a Dutch IT company that specializes in managing crowdsourced solutions to carry out widespread and repeatable tasks across Europe, including checking shelves and displays in shops. It allows companies to outsource store-checking tasks to a community of smartphone users. The Roamler app enables consumers to earn money by completing tasks while they are out shopping, such as taking photos of products to verify they are displayed in a manner consistent with brand owners’ distribution deals with retailers
Tokopedia is another one, crowdsourcing collective intelligence through employing local crowds in Indonesia for product image tagging and descriptions, boosting search accuracy and sales for diverse local vendors.
In the UK, online retailer ASOS has used Appen’s AI and crowdsourced workforce to analyze fashion trends and optimize product descriptions, improving customer engagement and conversion rates.
Media and Entertainment
Crowdin is a popular platform for multilingual subtitling and captioning projects on a global basis, utilizing crowdsourced translators and editors for cultural nuance and accuracy. France Télévisions has used Crowdin for multilingual subtitling and captioning of large video libraries, ensuring accessibility and cultural understanding for international audiences.
Rev.com is a North American-based provider of AI-powered transcription and captioning services, supplemented by human review for high-quality video content subtitles and transcripts. South African Showmax partnered with Rev.com for automated collective intelligence to provide transcriptions and crowdsourced reviews of local content, creating a cost-effective and culturally relevant library of subtitles and captions.
OneForma helps companies localize and test software across any regions around the world, leveraging crowdsourced linguistic and user experience expertise.
UNGUESS offers crowdsourced software and app testing services, providing access to a diverse range of devices and user perspectives for comprehensive testing. Their range of case studies includes numerous examples, including consumer domestic appliances in the IoT sector.
The Topcoder Challenges platform is known for hosting automated coding and development challenges. They have a platform that allows organizations to launch coding competitions, hackathons, and development projects. The platform automates the submission, evaluation, and scoring processes.
Similarly, Kaggle Competitions is a data science and machine learning platform hosting scalable automated competitions that challenge data scientists and machine learning experts to solve complex problems. It provides tools for automated model evaluation and ranking, making it easier to manage large-scale predictive modeling competitions.
Automated task management, global workforces, and AI integration are crucial for scalability across continents and languages. Local crowdsourcing talent ensures outcomes such as product descriptions, subtitling, and testing resonate with specific cultural contexts. Crowdsourcing also offers competitive pricing compared to traditional methods, often reducing costs and increasing efficiency.
This is just a glimpse into the diverse world of successful international crowdsourcing implementations and automated collective intelligence. Researching potential platforms and tailoring your approach to your specific industry and region will help you unlock the full potential of this powerful tool.
Remember, the key to collective intelligence success lies in choosing the right platform, utilizing automation effectively, and valuing the expertise of your global crowd.