James C Gibson as a Service

experiments

Yesterday I launched JCGaaS - James C Gibson as a Service. The website provides a simple JSON API that is backed by me. Tasks or requests that are submitted are performed and fulfilled by yours truly, and billed by the minute. It is human capital packaged as a service.

The past hundred years have been about commoditizing increasingly complex work and packaging it in more useful ways. Purely rote tasks were automated long ago, and packaged appropriately as a result; no human has been paid to add numbers by hand in a century. And even more advanced tasks that are easy for humans but hard for computers have been packaged as services and forced to work in a way that is convenient for computers.

Amazon Mechanical Turk is a prime example. Mechanical Turk does an amazing job of commoditizing the most basic human skills, like distinguishing images or providing basic transcription. These activities are easy for any human to do but hard for a computer to do. It effectively commoditizes and packages labor as a service.

But it is hard to get a mechanical turk worker with a college degree in a given field (for whatever that is worth) or that you would trust to make ethical judgements, and impossible to do so consistently.

Thus JCGaaS is an experiment in commoditizing and packaging human capital and expertise - not just labor - as a service. The world is moving to shorter-term employment and freelancing; billing by the minute is the next logical step. And the only effective way to bill by the minute is to replace contract negotiation with a three-column pricing spread and mediate interactions through a web service’s API.

I do not yet know what JCGaaS will be used for, or if it will be used at all. But I am looking forward to seeing what some clever folks can do with it, and actively looking for feedback and ideas on how to develop the service.

(Creating JCGaaS was also an exercise in writing applications and challenging my own assumptions about web development, but I’ll save that for a future post.)