Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, November 03, 2021

When you, the writer, just can’t muster up the gumption to “murder your darlings”, it’s time to turn to Soylent.

Well, someday it’ll be time, perhaps. For now, it’s an experiment in crowdsourced copy editing, on a micropayment scale:

Soylent is an add-in for Microsoft Word that uses Mechanical Turk as a distributed copy-editing system to perform tasks like proofreading and text-shortening, as well as a type of specialized edits its developers call “The Human Macro.” Currently in closed beta, Soylent was created by compsci students at MIT, Berkeley, and University of Michigan.

And yes, the concepts at play — both the mass participation and the meat-grinder aspects of editorial tasking — are the inspiration for the iconic-cinematic name:

[Lead researcher Michael] Bernstein said they were looking for something familiar but also true to the idea of what they created. Soylent, is made of people. It is indeed, people.

“The original name was Homunculus,” Bernstein said. “It didn’t have the same ring to it.”

I’m guessing there’ll be no bragging about Soylent being powered by “Green” energy? That would put the tongue far too firmly into cheek.

(Via @Aerocles; who I thanked with a snarky “tasty!” retweet)

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 11/03/2021 10:46pm
Category: Creative, Internet, Pop Culture, Publishing
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