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Communications of the ACM

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The Dawn of Crowdfarms

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Credit: DC Studio

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.

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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.


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