About the Author

David Alan Grier is a writer and consultant on issues regarding computing and labour. He claims to be one of the original second-generation computer brats, as his father, Thomas Grier, was an early employee of Univac Computer Corporation and then became Director of Customer Relations for Burroughs Computer Corporation. David learned his first lessons of programming in his father’s office. You can learn something of his father’s career from the book Too Soon To Tell (Wiley, 2009).

David did not set out to become an expert in crowdsourcing. If anything, crowdsourcing chose him. In 2005, he published a book on how we did computing before we had machines to do it for us. This book, When Computers Were Human (Princeton University Press, 2005), was well received and earned the 2006 Independent Press Award for the best book on computing technology. At the time, no one recognised that this book contained the basic ideas of crowdsourcing, as the term crowdsourcing wasn’t invented until 2007. However, someone was paying attention. Eventually, the organiser of a crowdsourcing conference asked him to address their meeting. At that conference, he realised that he’d been studying crowdsourcing for decades – he just never knew it.

David has worked as a writer, as the editor-in-chief of the Annals of the History of Computing, and as the lead columnist for Computer magazine. His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as the American Mathematics Monthly and the Washington ...

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