Following Mechanical Turks: Articulating the Human in "Human Intelligence Tasks"

This Enculturation: Intermezzo research project is a content analysis of Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) job posts—called Human Intelligence Tasks or HITs—to trace how they rhetorically depict human actants.

The project is an experiment in open, ad hoc scholarly collaboration among multiple humans and non-humans. It unfolds through regularly scheduled public streaming video sessions as the principal investigators (Nathaniel Rivers and I) move from initial concept to completed text. Anyone can participate in these discussions, and several of them include invited guests as the work uncovers issues that would benefit from particular expertise. Video sessions and associated materials—textual exchanges, research documents, relevant links, etc.—are archived and publicly shared. The manuscript draft is available online during development and is open to in-progress annotations, with the hope that they can genuinely shape its direction, rather than function as post factum comments on a stable text.