A MODEL FOR THE INDIVIDUAL EMPOWERMENT USING INTRINSIC PERSONALIZATION OF CROWDSOURCING TASKSDennis Paulino, INESC TEC and University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal email@example.com
Crowdsourcing is a paradigm of outsourcing work that is done using human capabilities through the Internet. Given the various possibilities of overcoming cultural and social barriers, crowdsourcing provides an opportunity for people with disabilities to have a financial compensation and help them feel realised. In crowdsourcing, people with disabilities face problems related with the lack of task description or usability. This article it is presented the main threads for my PhD thesis which main goal is to prove, that it is possible to map crowdsourcing tasks effectively to each individual, focusing particularly on the cognitive abilities.
Crowdsourcing is defined as an online activity where a person or organization proposes the performance of a task to a group of volunteer individuals, always having mutual benefit and where the volunteers must receive a reward . There are currently crowdsourcing platforms that reward volunteers (or crowd workers) monetarily1,2,3. Tasks may consist of translating texts, classifying images, or filling out questionnaires. Crowdsourcing is considered an emerging and viable technology, being able to delegate tasks simultaneously to many crowd workers .
Crowdsourcing is used by a wide spectrum of people, including those who have physical or mental limitations, however there are platforms that do not consider accessibility for this group of people. Problems related to design on a crowdsourcing platform can cause its users to never use it again . A study identified problems that people with disabilities (including autistic people) face when using crowdsourcing platforms such as Amazon Mechanical Turk conducted . The problems identified on the platforms are related to the usability and the lack of description of the tasks related to the capabilities of the crowd workers. It was proposed some solutions to improve the accessibility of these platforms:
- Crowdsourcing platforms should have metadata fields in the tasks indicating the skills that the crowd workers’ needs to perform the task.
- The usability of the platform must be not only on the platform, but also encompassing external dependencies (websites where tasks are developed).
- Platforms must have the functionality to pass part of the task to another crowd worker.
People with disabilities who participate in crowdsourcing include people with autism. Autism is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as "a disturbance in a person’s development, characterized by difficulties in social interaction, communication and restrictive and repetitive behaviours" . It is estimated that there are around 25 million people with autism worldwide .
Autistic individuals have several limitations in their social interactions, including the actions they perform in their daily lives [10, 17]. Social limitations result in increased isolation, which in turn is related to deteriorating quality of life . Working helps to combat the effects of isolation . A study identified the social difficulties on the perspective of individuals with autism, reveals that most participants liked to be able to contribute to improving the environment around them . Given the various possibilities of overcoming cultural and social barriers, crowdsourcing provides an opportunity for people with autism to have financial compensation and help them feel fulfilled.
The main goal of this thesis is to empower each crowdsourcing crowd worker, by matching the capabilities of each individual to the most suitable crowdsourcing tasks. It will include a case study with people with autism, to prove the goal of the thesis that even people that face social barriers, can perform crowdsourcing tasks with the suitable matching of systems assumptions and users’ capabilities. This article will present the roadmap of the proposed thesis.1 https://www.mturk.com/ 2 https://rapidworkers.com/ 3 https://www.clickworker.com/
Objectives and Research Questions
The first objective of this thesis is to explore the empowerment of crowdsourcing tasks in the capabilities of crowd workers. The purpose is to map the crowdsourcing tasks to crowd workers whose skills are adequate to perform this task, whether the crowd worker may have limitations or not. The mapping must follow the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to ensure the privacy of data from crowd workers . The second objective is to analyse whether it is possible for people with disabilities to participate and remain motivated in the proposed tasks of crowdsourcing, including improving their skills. The two objectives are related to each other since the mapping of tasks allows improving the skills of crowd workers. The skills can be considered as the necessary abilities for accomplish a crowdsourcing task with success, which subsequently can improve when the crowd worker is motivated . This allows anyone to participate in a crowdsourcing platform, regardless of their limitations and even leveraging their capabilities.
In order to assess these objectives, a case study will be carried out in autistic people, who despite having limitations in social interactions, they have the ability to consistently perform repetitive tasks . If the objectives are achieved, it is possible that people with limitations (including autistic people), can use crowdsourcing in a motivated way, through the mapping of tasks that are appropriate to their abilities. The real-world impact of the accomplishment of these measures will also benefit the employers in the crowdsourcing market. With the emergence of Artificial Intelligence systems, it was created a need for labelling datasets which subsequently was found in crowdsourcing a way for labelling efficiently . A study conducted by Hara and Bigham  indicates that is feasible for people with autism to perform image transcription tasks by using an adaptive tool.
This thesis has the following research questions:
- RQ1 - How to identify and map the capabilities of each person for crowdsourcing tasks, following the GDPR privacy rules?
- RQ2 - What are the properties of the crowdsourcing tasks that can be carried out by the crowd workers to keep them motivated to continue using the crowdsourcing platform?
- RQ3 - How should a usable crowdsourcing platform be built for people with autism?
To answer the research questions, the tasks to be performed will be defined in the detailed description.
Crowdsourcing allows many crowd workers to be delegated tasks simultaneously (Kucherbaev et al., 2016). These crowd workers are composed of people with limitations, who while using crowdsourcing platforms, face problems related to the lack of job description or the usability of these platforms (Zyskowski et al., 2015). The thesis presented in this article wants to prove that it is possible to map crowdsourcing tasks effectively to people’s capacities. To show that it is possible to map tasks with people with disabilities, a case study involving the participation of people with autism will be conducted. In order to be able to more precisely delineate the execution of each aforementioned objective, a set of tasks are proposed below to be carried out:
- Study of personalization cognitive and physical abilities on the crowdsourcing tasks.
- 1.1 Make a exploratory review on this theme.
- 2.1 Construction of a model for conducting a literature review with the theme related to existing personalization techniques of crowdsourcing or collaboration platforms.
- 2.2 Conducting a systematic review of the literature guided by the model mentioned in subtask 2.1. After the review, problems and opportunities about crowdsourcing technologies applied to people with autism should be presented. The personalization will help technology to adapt for each individuals’ capabilities.
- 3.1 The conceptual model should present an architecture that does the intrinsic personalization of crowdsourcing tasks, considering people’s abilities (the case study for people with autism will be carried out as described in task 1 as well as the current crowdsourcing technologies (completion of task 2).
- 3.2 Specify the model to be able to assess individuals’ abilities to perform tasks. In crowdsourcing qualitative tests can be used periodically to assess which tasks are appropriate for each crowd worker .
- 3.3 Specification of tasks that can motivate people with autism to use the crowdsourcing platform.
- 4.1 The implementation must follow the model proposed in task 3, and must use the online services available from the crowdsourcing platforms (e.g. Amazon Mechanical Turk) to be able to obtain the available tasks and allow their execution. The proposed implementation will be a computer system, representing a layer that allows obtaining the tasks available from the crowdsourcing platforms and mapping them to users with the appropriate capabilities.
- 4.2 The proposed computer system must follow the user-centered design, thus allowing the user not to spend much effort to learn how to use it .
- 4.3 During the construction of the computer system, it must be validated for people with autism, using usability tests in order to find out if the platform is usable.
- 4.4 After building the computer system, tests should be carried out to find out whether people with autism can perform tasks more efficiently than people without autism.
Next, the methodology for conducting the proposed work of this application is defined. The subject of this application is in the field of computer systems. For this domain, an approved research methodology is design science . The design science is the use of scientific knowledge for the creation of artifacts . The artifacts created using the design science methodology are intended to solve a problem with greater efficiency or to propose a solution to a problem that has not yet been solved .
The works proposed in this application must follow the design science methodology. Next, the work to be carried out relating to the six activities proposed by :
- "Problem identification and motivation" - in this activity, the context of the problem in the usability of the crowdsourcing platforms applied to autistic people is specified. The activity consists of performing tasks 1.1, 2.1 and 2.2.
- "Definition of objectives for the solution" - encompasses the tasks of building the conceptual model defined in task 3.1.
- "Design and development" - the design and production of the artefacts are carried out with the specification of the tasks and the respective mapping to the volunteers of the crowdsourcing platforms, as well as the implementation of the computer system. Tasks 3.2, 3.3 and 4.2 will be carried out in this activity.
- "Demonstration" - in this activity, the implementation of the model is evaluated through usability tests. Task 4.3 is performed.
- "Evaluation" - to carry out the evaluation, task 4.4 is performed to analyze the results of the tasks carried out by people with autism.
- "Communication" - communication is an activity to be carried out in all other activities mentioned above, through the publication of scientific articles.
This research methodology results in the production of several artifacts, in the form of prototypes of computer systems or scientific publications.
I will be a second year PhD student in the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal. The current state of the work done is the elaboration of an exploratory review on the cognitive and physical abilities personalization of web technologies. Subsequently, it was found that the thematic of the personalization of physical abilities was already well explored, while in contrast it was necessary to research in more depth the personalization of cognitive abilities. This lead to produce a systematic literature protocol, tailored to research about the cognitive personalization techniques applied on crowdsourcing or similar platforms. The next step on the current work is to conduct the systematic literature review, which subsequently will produce important considerations to guide further work.
Expected Contributions to the Accessibility Field
The expected contributions from this research to the accessibility field will be: (i) increase knowledge about the cognitive personalization in work tasks; (ii) demonstrate that cognitive personalization can improve the performance on crowdsourcing tasks; (iii) people with disabilities can be realized using crowdsourcing if it is performed the proper matching of crowdsourcing tasks assumptions and the users’ abilities.
This work is financed by the FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) with research grant SFRH/BD/148991/2019.
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