Opening Ceremony MT Post

In addition to the passing of the torch, the opening ceremony includes a sonic experience, some kind of grandiose choreographed, musical bit of entertainment. I’ve asked my mechanical turks to create a song for the Mechanical Olympics, as follows:

Title: Record a Song

Description: Mechanical work can be creative

This is the first in a series of Mechanical Turk HITS I am offering for a project called “Mechanical Olympics”.

For this HIT, I need someone to make a video recording of themselves or their friends (feel free to cover your face if you don’t want to be recognized – your privacy is your business) singing or playing a song for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Use any instrument, like a kazoo, musical glasses (filled with water), harmonica, drums, guitar, piano, or just your voice. Any instrument is acceptable. You do not have to be a musician or even feel that you are “musical” to complete this task. However, the song should be your original creation for the 2008 ceremony. The video post should be between 25 and 60 seconds.

After you have made the recording, post it to and then post a link to your YouTube video on my blog,

If you are a Mechanical Turk, please leave your song as a comment to this thread.

Getting Ready and Testing the Poll

I just placed my first HIT (Human Intelligence Task) on Amazon. If you haven’t heard of Mechanical Turk, it is basically a way to hire people who want to work from home to perform human tasks that are not easily programmable by computers. There are a lot of companies that are using this service to perform various types of content analysis on media from websites to video surveillance images. The Mechanical Olympics is a web-based project inspired by’s Mechanical Turk, “A marketplace for work that requires human intelligence.”

Types of HIT Jobs

Types of HIT Jobs

This project uses Mechanical Turk to activate that “elastic workforce” by performing human sports and entertainment activities. For this project, I will be paying the mechanical turk workforce to create a ceremony opening song for the 2008 Olympic Games, and then for various competitive sporting events throughout August. The Mechanical Olympic tasks include running, riding a bike, lifting any amount of weight, swimming, gymnastics, and so on. My workers will be posting videos of their work on YouTube and then on this blog. At the end of each day from August 9th – 24th, anyone can use the online poll to vote the event winners. My goal is to have an online version of the Olympic Games drafted from the Mechanical Turk workforce. Where an elastic workforce is meant to harness human intelligence to produce repetitive results online, I want to use the Amazon Turk system to get people off of their machines. I am literally paying people to run around the block, ride a bike, or make a song. Hopefully at $2 a hit, I’ll get a few takers on my offer.

My First HIT Post on Mechanical Turk

My First HIT Post on Mechanical Turk