Scale Introduces the API for Human Labor

Scale has introduced what it calls the "API for Human Labor." The Scale API connects integrated apps with an on-demand human workforce. Apps and companies can utilize the outsourced workforce to build a human-augmented feature or supplement existing human processes.

"For now, we support categorization, transcription, and phone calls (which are each pretty broad categories and can be used for a wide variety of tasks)," Scale mentioned in a Hacker News thread. "We're intentionally releasing endpoint by endpoint in a way that we can ensure our members can perform the tasks efficiently while also providing a ton of flexibility to the developer. Our end goal, of course, is to allow developers to do basically anything."

Some have compared Scale to Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Scale suggests its value over Mechanical Turk stems from a single, flat fee of 50 cents per request; and it's quality control. Scale claims 40% of Mechanical Turk is spam due to crowdsourcing. Scale screens each member for quality, ensuring that specific tasks are performed with high quality and in a timely manner.

Currently, the Scale API gives access to three human functions: phone calls, categorization, and transcription. While much of the world is now connected via the internet, many appointments and uncovering certain information still require a human to human phone call. Machines are getting better and better at categorization through tagging and similar mechanisms; however, human intervention continues to play a valuable role in categorization. Finally human transcription to moderate content and extract data from forms not easily read by a machine (e.g. receipts, bills, etc.) remains a valuable service. Scale anticipates releasing more human functions, but wants to ensure each new feature/endpoint achieves the highest quality possible.

Because Scale connects to apps via an API, a single line of code connects apps to the human workforce. For API details, check out the API reference. Those interested can make ten requests for free before the 50 cents per request rate kicks in. For larger projects, Scale offers custom pricing. Check out the home page for more information. 

Eric Carter Eric the founder of Dartsand and Corporate Counsel for a specialty technology distributor. He is a frequent contributor to technology media outlets and also serves as primary legal counsel for multiple startups in the Real Estate, Virtual Assistant, and Software Development Industries. Follow me on Google+

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iann0036

Tried Scale today. Made a simple phone request as a test. 2 hours later and it still hasn't been processed. Their documentation also contains some conflicting information and their endpoint bombs out when irregular data is passed to it. Wouldn't recommend!