In 1769, Hungarian nobleman Wolfgang von Kempelen astonished Europe by building a mechanical chess-playing automaton that defeated nearly every opponent it faced. A life-sized wooden mannequin, adorned with a fur-trimmed robe and a turban, Kempelen’s “Turk” was seated behind a cabinet and toured Europe confounding such brilliant challengers as Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte. To persuade skeptical audiences, Kempelen would slide open the cabinet’s doors to reveal the intricate set of gears, cogs and springs that powered his invention. He convinced them that he had built a machine that made decisions using artificial intelligence. What they did not know was the secret behind the Mechanical Turk: a chess master cleverly concealed inside.
Today, we build complex software applications based on the things computers do well, such as storing and retrieving large amounts of information or rapidly performing calculations. However, humans still significantly outperform the most powerful computers at completing such simple tasks as identifying objects in photographs – something children can do even before they learn to speak.
When we think of interfaces between human beings and computers, we usually assume that the human being is the one requesting that a task be completed, and the computer is completing the task and providing the results. What if this process was reversed and a computer program could ask a human being to perform a task and return the results? What if it could coordinate many human beings to perform a task?
Amazon Mechanical Turk provides a service for service requesters (hereafter “Requesters”) to integrate Artificial Artificial Intelligence directly into their applications by making requests of humans. Requesters can use the Amazon Mechanical Turk web user interface or web services API to submit tasks to the Amazon Mechanical Turk web site, approve completed tasks, and incorporate the answers into their applications. When using the web services API, the transaction looks very much like any remote procedure call – the application sends the request, and the service returns the results. In reality, a network of human Workers (hereafter “Workers”) fuels this Artificial Artificial Intelligence by coming to the web site, searching for and completing tasks, and receiving reward for their work.
When a Requester approves a task, Amazon Mechanical Turk automatically deposits earnings into the Mechanical Turk account of the Worker who completed the task. Workers in the United States can have this money transferred to their Amazon Payments account. Workers outside of the United States can request to have the money transferred to their Amazon.com gift card balance.
Businesses can create and publish HITs on Mechanical Turk using the web user interface, the web service API, or the command line tools. For more information on these tools and to see which one best fits your need, visit the Choose the Right Tool page to learn more.
Requesters must provide a U.S. billing address in order to submit a request for tasks to be completed through the Amazon Mechanical Turk web site.
Amazon respects the intellectual property of others. If you believe that your work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please follow our Notice and Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement.
If you plan to make a single purchase of over $2,000, or multiple purchases totaling more than $10,000 in a calendar day, you will need to establish a verified Amazon Payments account. To learn more about how to create a verified account, see the requirements for purchasing prepaid HITs page here.
You can review Amazon Mechanical Turk pricing here.
After the fee is calculated, we round half up amounts greater than $0.01 – we round down if the fractional amount is less than half a penny, and round up otherwise. For example, $0.104 is rounded to $0.10, $0.105 is rounded to $0.11, and $0.108 is rounded to $0.11.
Workers will be paid and Amazon Mechanical Turk fees will be charged when you approve submitted work. If you reject the work, the Worker is not paid and you are not charged the Amazon Mechanical Turk fees. Mechanical Turk Prepaid HITs are subject to Terms and Conditions. You can review Amazon Mechanical Turk pricing here.
No. You can purchase prepaid HITs using your credit or debit card on the Purchase Prepaid HITs page.
If you would like a refund of your prepaid HIT purchase, please contact customer support.
We don't support purchases of prepaid HITs through your AWS billing account. You can purchase prepaid HITs within Mechanical Turk at the My Account page.
Mechanical Turk has built technology which analyzes Worker performance, identifies high performing Workers, and monitors their performance over time. Workers who have demonstrated excellence across a wide range of HITs are awarded the Masters Qualification. Masters must continue to pass our statistical monitoring to maintain the Mechanical Turk Masters Qualification.
Mechanical Turk requires that Requesters provide a U.S. billing address and a credit card, debit card, Amazon Payments account or U.S. bank account in order to publish HITs.
Funds held for liability is the sum of your assignment liability and fee liability.
Funds held for assignment liability is an estimated amount representing how much you would have to pay Workers if Workers submitted results for every assignment you are requesting, and you approved all of the results. We hold these funds because we need to ensure that Workers are paid promptly for their work on Mechanical Turk. Your assignment liability will increase as you create new HITs and will decrease as you approve or reject assignments. If you have no outstanding assignments, you will have zero assignment liability.
Funds held for fee liability is an estimated amount representing how much you would have to pay Amazon Mechanical Turk if Workers submitted results for every assignment you are requesting, and you approved all of the results. Your fee liability will increase as you create new HITs and will decrease as you approve or reject assignments. If you have no outstanding assignments, you will have zero fee liability.
The help center contains helpful guides, videos, webinars, case studies and other tools to help you get started and manage your HITs. The Mechanical Turk Requester website is ideal for business professionals who want access to the Mechanical Turk Worker community. The Requester UI Guide will explain how to design, publish, and manage your HITs on the Requester website.
When you reject an assignment, the Worker who performed the assignment does not get paid, and you are not charged the standard Mechanical Turk fee for the HIT. The rejection affects your Requester statistics and the statistics of the Worker who submitted the results.
Consult the Best Practices Guide in the Resource Center. Our Best Practices Guide helps you plan, design, and test your Amazon Mechanical Turk HITs.
Amazon will delete HITs, HIT Types, and Qualifications if they are not used for 120 days. If you require access to HIT data for longer than 120 days, we recommend you download the HIT results and store them locally.
You may not use Amazon Mechanical Turk for illegal or objectionable activities. Please refer to the policy page for examples. For example, Requesters are not allowed to collect personally identifiable information from Workers.
This can be achieved by using qualifications. Requesters can create a Qualification Type or use an existing Qualification Type to assign it to the Workers who have completed the HIT (e.g. survey) once. When creating the next HIT, Requesters can specify that only Workers who have not been granted the Qualification Type can work on the HIT. This can be done through the UI and the API.