Humans are here to stay!

Slashdotters are getting bummed out that Amazon is trying to patent its Hybrid Machine/Human Computing Arrangement. The bitterness seems to be in the gist of "computers are taking over the world, oh no!" or something.

As some comments note, this is a logical follow up to the Amazon Mechanical Turk, a web service of sorts that provides real human intelligence as a "processing node." I know a lot of people like to rant about the impending apocalypse but I think what Amazon are doing is really smart. They are basically saying, look, there are a lot of problems that are hard for computers to solve but trivial for humans to solve. Say, for example, given 50 images, find how many of them have a Dalmation puppy in them. That's hard for a computer but takes a real person milliseconds.

This may not be a future proof example, as this visual cortex simulator idea suggests, but let's face it, computers are not the answer to all our problems and they never will be, no matter how much they advance. We will always need humans! In fact, desktop computers suck so bad we have a long way to go before they are even understandable by the majority of people. Sorry, I just can't get on this doomsday view about how robots are going to take over our lives. I think, if anything, Amazon is setting a very positive trend for the future.