The Eigencast 015: Spare5 and the Human Machine Hybrid

The Eigencast

Justin talks to Matt Benke, CEO and Founder of Spare5, and Andy Ganse, Principal Data Scientist, about how they use humans to complement machine learning and data analysis techniques.

Andy Ganse, Principal Data Scientist, Spare5

Andy Ganse, Principal Data Scientist, Spare5


Matt Benke, CEO and co-founder, Spare5

Spare5 is so-named because people can take a spare five minutes out of their day to do a task allocated to them by Spare5’s system, a bit like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, but a task that they are good at and enjoy. And unlike playing a game or checking in to Facebook or Twitter for the twenty-third time this morning, you get paid for your time.

But unlike the exploitative nature of other platforms (*cough* sharing economy *cough*), Spare5 doesn’t see this as an alternative source of a primary income. It’s very much geared towards people spending an odd minute here and there to do something they actually like doing, not something they feel they have to do just to survive. It’s an alternative to playing Candy Crush, but you get paid instead of paying to be entertained.

There are some interesting implications to Spare5’s approach, for how machine learning and modelling is done, the role of humans in a machine/human hybrid future, and how we design systems to provide end companies with the benefits of human labour but in a way that values the humans at least as much as the machines.




This episode of The Eigencast was sponsored by PivotNine. Research, analysis, advice.



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