Blog #5: Crowdsourcing

Historically, technical advancements have been led by the innovations of a few with access to the resources and platforms to influence, but crowdsourcing had reversed this trend. Wired Magazine defines crowdsourcing as “the process of a firm or institution taking a function once performed by workers and outsourcing it in the form of an open appeal to an unspecified (and generally big) network of people.” The internet has facilitated, broadened, and accelerated the interactions underlying crowdsourcing as time passes.

Crowdsourcing and open innovation websites enable people from all walks of life to contribute to cutting-edge technology. One example of crowdsourcing is iStockPhoto. In Wired Magazine’s article, “The Rise of Crowdsourcing”, Howe explains “iStockphoto, which grew out of a free image-sharing exchange used by a group of graphic designers, had undercut Harmel by more than 99 percent. How? By creating a marketplace for the work of amateur photographers—homemakers, students, engineers, dancers.”

Because firms may receive labor for a lot less than they would pay a regular employee, the ways of labor are changing as a result of crowdsourcing. For instance, Howe describes a deal for the selling of images for a museum that was canceled because they discovered crowdsourced photographs for a dollar on iStockPhoto. There are advantages to crowdsourcing because you can get the labor for a lot less money, but it has a negative influence on businesses and professionals who lose money.

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