The man-machine: Harnessing humans in a hive mind: There's no reason why computers could not ask other machines for labour, too. Eventually, there may be a pool of workers - some human, some silicon - available 24/7. Last year, Dafna Shahaf at Carnegie Mellon University and Eric Horvitz at Microsoft's research labs in Redmond, Washington, described how such a pool might work. They call it the Generalised Task Market (GTM). The idea is to create software that can execute complex tasks by automatically dividing up jobs between myriad machines and humans, taking into account the skills and cost of each worker.
As a proof of principle, the pair have built a GTM prototype named Lingua Mechanica that does language translation tasks.