The ultimate vision is to make a way for passive audiences into active participants.
We combined things we love: Mobile, Mechanical Turk, MapReduce, and Twilio.
I played around with your API and I was actually kind of amazed at how easy it was to get going. (The sample apps helped a lot.) Writing a little bit of code, then right away seeing it show up in the app and user interactions show up in the console is really cool.
What could we do better on the API? Were there widgets that you would like that are missing?
For example, what is a micro-app? How does it differ from just an app?
It says you can: "Engage with your fans and users by creating micro-apps that allow you to interact in a much richer way than tweets, ads, or email." It's lightweight but enables a richer communication experience. How? Do you have some examples?
Compare it to, say, an SMS. Instead of a bit of text, you get a bit of text, two buttons, a camera button, etc etc etc. So it's richer than a notification, but only by a little.
I assume that: developers can create a micro-app with a dead simple API ... users run and discover these micro-apps from within the human.io mobile application.
An example micro-app would be where I create a bookmarklet that grabs an image, it sends it to human.io with the text "please identify this shirt" and then a human.io user can choose to run and solve that "micro-app"
It's confusing because micro-app implies repetition, whereas they are more like tasks: they have a "completion." This is a more powerful, easier to use, mechanical turk where the turks are on mobile.
We were hoping for a quiet soft-launch so we could get more API feedback before a real launch (including use-cases like you suggested.)
The events are pushed back to a webserver, and you decide what to do there. If you already have an application and data storage etc already, this is basically the easiest thing to do. We felt this flexibility would lead to the most interesting initial apps; additionally, the vast majority of early adopters would probably not love being sandboxed.
 we also have a hanging HTTP api; call /next_event and it hangs until it has events for you. this lets you talk to the system without having a public open port.
EDIT: unless i'm misunderstanding completely, and you guys (tasty labs) will be driving the installs so as to create a mobile mechanical turk force... in which case, this could be communicated better in the copy. Now I'm just confused.
We're trying to make the the environment ridiculously easy to use. There are lots of organizations with large audiences but limited tech skills that can take advantage of something like this.
I hope you check out the API - I'd been meaning to reach out to you at some point.
Monetization isn't mentioned anywhere for now, but presumably eventually users will earn $ for each task they accomplish, and human.io is the platform that allows companies and individual workers to transact?
Looks cool! Just trying to get a few ideas clarified.
Edit: Would it be accurate to think of you guys as a mobile Mechanical Turk? A marketplace for lightweight, mobile-based tasks?
We don't really want to be Turk per se - micropayments for microtasks is neat, but we're aiming for something wider. The activites are much broader (not just do work, but look up relevant information, or whatever) and the motivation similarly broad: eaderboards, or affinity to an organization, or money, or whatever, there are dozens of reasons that people do things. I don't want to just pick one of those and only allow a limited set of motivations.
"micro-app" is a (probably poor) compromise. It sortof hints what they might do better than Activities or whatever...
We'll build more tools for user motivation in the future. For now I just wanted to make sure that the actual things that people can build are interesting enough.