Salon has an article about Mechanical Turk today. I had not heard of this before, but it's a site run by Amazon that allows companies to hire people with computers and spare time to perform rote tasks that computers can't do (like looking at shoes and determining what colors they are, or transcribing podcasts). The prices are very cheap because apparently a lot of people are willing to do this type of work in their spare time almost for free.
They call it "artificial artificial intelligence", which is awesome. I think the whole thing is really cool - distributed computing using human brains.