Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is “artificial artificial intelligence”, a system where humans do what humans do best, get paid to act as “machines” that can perform tasks that are easier for humans to do than their computer counterpart, such as make judgment calls, photo identification, etc. The system is being put to the test with the disappearance of Jim Gray, a famous computer scientist, and his personal sailboat. Amazon arranged for a full satellite sweep of the area where Jim is reported to be missing, and the images have all been uploaded to the S3 storage service. Volunteers can take part in the Jim Gray Mechanical Turk by scanning for his boat among the pictures they are shown, and tagging any that need further analysis by experts. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack, but the hope is that with enough eyes, only one person needs to find the needle in his small portion of the stack. I think this is a very interesting concept, and one that could play a huge roll in future missing person cases like this. I hope that it works, both for Jim’s sake and for the sake of the program in the future. Give a little bit of your time today, because you never know when you’re going to need in back in the future.