CAPTCHA Failya

Album Cover: The Future

"The maestro says it's Mozart, but it sounds like bubble gum."
Leonard Cohen / Waiting For The Miracle

Posted on June 02, 2006 12:01 AM in Computers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

I find it a bit ironic that no one has solved the CAPTCHA problem yet. Afterall, an article at Slashdot today says that people are "working...to develop new generations of captchas that are designed to be easier on humans but baffling for computers." Haha. Are computers that smart?

If you look at this from the other side of the spectrum, there are people trying to figure out how to pass the Turing Test, and no one has been able to as of yet. Moreover, the Turing Test is actually part of the CAPTCHA acronym! We know that computers aren't as smart as humans (yet), so why can't we apply some of the more obvious examples of that fact to solve the CAPTCHA problem? As the Slashdot article points out, people are fed up with the jumbled letters that they have to type into the box.

I wish I could present a more elegant solution here, but I've crashed and burned on that one before. However, there are a lot of brilliant minds out there trying to solve this problem. I am surprised the jumbled letters are the best option we've got.

Just for the fun of it, here are some random alternatives off the top of my head (feel free to shoot them down...I'm obviously no stranger to stupid ideas):

  • An image of a football with two options to choose from: 5 and 6.
  • The word "music" with two options to choose from: an image of a treble clef and an image of a plate of spaghetti.
  • A brief sound clip telling the user what to type in a box. Could even be a question like "what color are clouds?" or "how many eyes should you have?"
  • A grid of four options, one of which "does not belong here."

Or we could just solve the bigger problem.

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