*CAPTCHA as an AGI enabler.

Posted: May 20, 2009 in 2009, Exclusives
Tags: ,

In the past I’ve tried explaining ways that we in effect make Google God smarter by using its services, or even just by browsing the web. It turns out that by solving “CAPTCHAS” we’re now also helping advance AI fields such as Machine Vision.

CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.

What I’m arguing here is that it goes beyond the reality of hackers / spammers from developing AI to beat the CAPTCHAS, and then CAPTCHA developing better AI in response. First it must be noted the developers interest in their technology advancing their AI goals. Take the following Carnegie CAPTCHA document for example, and be sure to also note how they like their kind call not having AI a “problem”:

We introduce captcha, an automated test that humans can pass, but current computer programs can’t pass: any program that has high success over a captcha can be used to solve an unsolved Articial Intelligence (AI) problem.

Much like research in cryptography has had a positive impact on algorithms for factoring and discrete log, we hope that the use of hard AI problems for security purposes allows us
to advance the field of Artificial Intelligence.

In this paper we will present constructions of captchas based on certain AI problems and we will show that solving the captchas implies solving the AI problems.

Now their latest version of it seeks to take it beyond the spam war and in effect declare war on you.


The computer scientists at Carnegie-Mellon and IBM who came up with the idea of Captchas and have promoted their public use noted in a widely-read 2000 research paper that “either the Captcha is not broken and there is a way to differentiate humans from computers, or the Captcha is broken and a useful AI problem is solved.” In any case, progress will be made.

Yet another Carnegie-Mellon approach turns the solution of Captchas into a good deed. With some 200 million Captchas being solved by humans every day, and each one requiring maybe 10 seconds of time, researchers thought why not get some useful work done, too? Their answer was to make Captchas based on snippets of optically scanned text from old books and newspapers that legitimate computers have been unable to correctly recognize. But how does the computer know if someone has interpreted the old text properly? Each reCaptcha presents a challenging sample of old text next to a standard Captcha image for which the answer is already known. It’s assumed that anyone who solves the latter will also have entered a correct answer for the former. The two main sources of old texts are those in the Internet Archive (www.archive.org), a vast collection of freely-accessible digitized media, and scanned editions of the New York Times.

Other players are also developing their own, like Microsoft and Google. As its Google’s bread and butter to have you teach their systems for them, you can bet that people will be helping them solve their problems via their “Socially Adjusted CAPTCHAs“.

These sorts of things really irritate me. In my vision, the day is approaching that the only solution to remain human in a Transhumanist dominated world would be to resort to “Neo-Amish” communities. The idea is to build permaculture type cities but where we can still enjoy things like the Internet and so on, unlike actual the Amish. But by ‘them’ designing the Web where we can’t use it without helping them advance their march is like an act of war against humanity, in my view.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s