I should be asleep, but whatever

So, you guys know those word verification things you have to type in at various web sites to prove you’re not a bot?  Maybe I’m late to the party, but I just learned that when you do those you are actually translating scanned images of old books and newspapers (e.g. The New York Times) into digital text (at least when they are hosted by reCAPTCHA et al).  As quoted from the page I linked to, “Around 200 million CAPCHAs are solved by humans around the world every day.”  This amounts to a massive amount of free labor for companies seeking to digitize print sources.  At first it might seem strange that you are being used to perform labor while ostensibly doing something altogether different, but if you think about the way data aggregation works these days, and the operations of “sum-is-greater-than-the-parts” environments e.g. Twitter, maybe it’s not so surprising.  reCAPTCHA was acquired by Google in Q3 2009.

Since even news a week ago is ancient history now, I’m guessing no one is thinking, or cares to think, about Goldman Sachs these days.  However, this article helped me understand the deal in question better than anything I had read beforehand.

Big macroeconomics exam looming on Thursday, so expect my posting to decline in number and-or quality.  (Just an aside, if you had seen me just a few hours ago you would find my present lucidity remarkable.  I know I do!)  It is hard to quit posting, though, because the RSS feeder and blogosphere in general supply me with too much interesting information.  How do our superiors at The Atlantic Wire manage their information consumption?

Fascinating — read the comments too, and play the ethnic-origin-name-game with commenters — no need for me to add a further opinion on the matter.


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