Ben Hill, my co-conspirator for Mycroft, our distributed collaboration project, appears as one of two guests on this week's edition of Jon Udell's weekly podcast over at InfoWorld. The other guest is Nathan McFarland of castingwords.com. CastingWords is a podcast transcription service that uses Amazon's Mechanical Turk as the outsource labor provider.

Jon wanted to to talk about the possibilities of 'harnessing collective intelligence,' (a la Tim O'Reilly) a phrase I really like. Collective intelligence is really built when people can collaborate and contribute in the course of their daily activities. When you make a dedicated activity out of it, you begin to move towards the individual side of the individual/collective continuum. We built Mycroft with this in mind, and it was the main reason we chose to focus in on tasks that take only a few seconds – tasks you can do without ever leaving whatever page hosts the Mycroft module. I think enabling these casual, fun interactions will be the key to sustaining a high participation rate over time.