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Author Topic: Could bitcoin play a role in this system of job distribution?  (Read 1445 times)
hugolp
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November 07, 2010, 11:25:23 AM
 #1

Or in a similar one?

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Mobile work
A way to earn money by texting
Oct 28th 2010 | NEW YORK

THE idea came to Nathan Eagle, a research scientist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, when he was doing a teaching stint in rural Kenya. He realised that, as three-quarters of the 4.6 billion mobile-phone users worldwide live in developing countries, a useful piece of technology is now being placed in the hands of a large number of people who might be keen to use their devices to make some money. To help them do so, he came up with a service called txteagle which distributes small jobs via text messaging in return for small payments.

Only 18% of people in the developing world have access to the internet, but more than 50% owned a mobile-phone handset at the end of 2009 (a number which has more than doubled since 2005), according to the International Telecommunication Union. One study shows that adding ten mobile phones per 100 people in a typical developing country boosts growth in GDP per person by 0.8 percentage points.

Mr Eagle hopes txteagle will do its bit by mobile “crowdsourcing”—breaking down jobs into small tasks and sending them to lots of individuals. These jobs often involve local knowledge and range from things like checking what street signs say in rural Sudan for a satellite-navigation service to translating words into a Kenyan dialect for companies trying to spread their marketing. A woman living in rural Brazil or India may have limited access to work, adds Mr Eagle, “but she can still use her mobile phone to collect local price and product data or even complete market-research surveys.” Payments are transferred to a user’s phone by a mobile money service, such as the M-PESA system run by Safaricom in Africa, or by providing additional calling credit.

Working with over 220 mobile operators, txteagle is able to reach 2 billion subscribers in 80 countries. It already has the largest contract-labour force in Kenya and new ways of using it are being found all the time. Recently a large media firm asked Mr Eagle for help in monitoring its television commercials across Africa. The company was concerned that, although it had paid for broadcasting rights, its ads could be replaced with others by local television companies. So txteagle pays locals to watch and then text notes about which ads are shown. “I would never think of that myself,” says Mr Eagle. Which is why he is not sure just how big all these small text jobs could become.

http://www.economist.com/node/17366137?story_id=17366137&fsrc=scn/tw/te/rss/pe

In spanish: http://www.errorespuntuales.es/content/trabajo-m%C3%B3vil
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November 07, 2010, 03:46:24 PM
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Interesting. It says "small payments" but doesn't give details. I'd guess they get raped by fees. Maybe he starts by paying their phone bills though.

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December 06, 2010, 04:55:44 PM
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In addition to TxtEagle there's also SamaSource, CrowdFlower, Fiverr, CloudCrowd

Of those, I've use Fiverr.  Worked splendidly.

Bitcoin might have a role to play in that arena.

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December 06, 2010, 05:57:03 PM
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Interesting. It says "small payments" but doesn't give details. I'd guess they get raped by fees. Maybe he starts by paying their phone bills though.

I saw one of these sites where they would have you come up with some sort of task that is tedious and perhaps monotonous for somebody to perform but needs a human eye to perform.  An example would be to verify signatures on documents of some kind (like a voting petition or signatures on checks).  OCR matching on stuff like this isn't so good, so setting up some system where a person in a 3rd world country that would look at two signatures and click on one of two buttons to say "yes, it is the same" or "no, it isn't" would help you to "earn" a few cents per signature that you clicked upon.

More complicated would be to assist in correcting OCR'd text to verify document spellings that might have been missed from the original scan... sort of like what Distributed Proofreaders is doing.

In both of these cases you would have some checks where you wouldn't trust just one person but would have several people see the same thing and "vote" on the correct information.  Somebody who consistently shows up in the "minority" (aka is being contrary) to the acceptance or rejection might eventually get fired so they have some motivation to getting it right.

I've seen it suggested that you could use a simple computer like the XO computer developed for the OLPC project as well, although a common cell phone could certainly be used to check signatures in this example.  Presumably any group doing this would have a contract with the cellphone company to pay for the data delivery fees, so the only cost for the participants would be their time and possibly some "free" airtime on the cellphone as well.  In some places of the world, if they could earn $5-$10 in a day, they would be doing very well.

Since Bitcions can be used for micropayments with considerably lower overhead costs, I think it would be useful for a situation like this.  Bitcoins in this case could be put right onto the phone itself for use elsewhere.  If you told somebody that in order to get a loaf of bread all they had to do was to compare a couple hundred signatures, how many people might be interested?

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December 06, 2010, 08:02:55 PM
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Interesting. It says "small payments" but doesn't give details. I'd guess they get raped by fees. Maybe he starts by paying their phone bills though.

I saw one of these sites where they would have you come up with some sort of task that is tedious and perhaps monotonous for somebody to perform but needs a human eye to perform.  An example would be to verify signatures on documents of some kind (like a voting petition or signatures on checks).  OCR matching on stuff like this isn't so good, so setting up some system where a person in a 3rd world country that would look at two signatures and click on one of two buttons to say "yes, it is the same" or "no, it isn't" would help you to "earn" a few cents per signature that you clicked upon.

Sounds like the Mechanical Turk (www.mturk.com) which is sponsored by Amazon.com.  I can't see them using bitcoin anytime soon, but if such mech turk like site could be coded for use with bitcoin; I can very much see this kind of thing take off.  And yes, there are many people in poorer nations that use mturk as a part-time income.  Much of the data tags in Google Street View are inserted this way, by humans looking at the photos and click-tagging the sewers, painted lines, and street address numbers, etc for a few cents per set.  Someone else will get the same set, and if both agreed, then the set is accepted as finished without further human intervention.  The system works well, but it is certainly tedious, like an entry level data entry job.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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January 28, 2011, 12:25:58 PM
 #6

Fascinating stuff ...

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Services to transfer cash by text message have been around for some years. One of the most successful, M-PESA, began in 2007 in Kenya, where it now has more than 13m users. It is now used for salaries, bills, donations: few things cannot be paid for via a handset. Similar services can be found in more than 40 countries. Though not yet on the same scale, this seems to be only a question of time: in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, more people have a mobile phone than a bank account
Not just talk
Clever services on cheap mobile phones make a powerful combination—especially in poor countries
http://www.economist.com/node/18008202


And from the Comments at the end of the article:

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That Chart is parabolic and remains explosive and that is entirely correlated to Citizen Power. Where the Citizen existed in a Black Hole vis a vis the State, they do not now. Egypt, Tunisia et al are evidence of a Tipping Point in the Relationship between the Rulers and the Ruled.

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