Over on the great how-to site Instructables, an enterprising chap has created a book entirely using Mechanical Turks, and illustrates how to use them for your own project. Mechanical Turks are a service offered by Amazon, which allows small tasks to be sourced out in an standard way.

The name Mechanical Turk comes from “The Turk”, a chess-playing automaton of the 18th century, which was made by Wolfgang von Kempelen. It toured Europe beating the likes of Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin. It was later revealed that this ‘machine’ was not an automaton at all but was in fact a chess master hidden in a special compartment controlling its operations. Likewise, the Mechanical Turk web service allows humans to help the machines of today to perform tasks they aren’t yet suited for.

*The aggregate intelligence of the Big Giant Head works out to be a vast, lowest-common-denominator in parallel system, not a single, super-clever progressive-improvement serial system. For Serial intelligence aggregates try collaborating.