You are in a hurry to get through that annoying Captcha test on almost every website you visit and find yourself rushing through it without reading the letters. But why? Probably because there is — we humans think — no way that a robot could possibly pass it.
Fortunately, robots can’t pass it, at least not yet. Or so we think… But what if they could? What if the ability to solve Captchas is just another proof of how much better machines are than us at everything? This article provides a brief history of the Captcha, explains how AI has evolved and how it has gotten past various versions of this online challenge. Keep reading for more details about Captcha and why robots can’t pass them.
What is a Captcha?
A Captcha is an acronym that stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.” It is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to determine whether the person using the system is human or not.
Captchas are used as indicators of computer consciousness, to ensure that automated programs do not abuse systems that are intended for human users only. Captchas are also used as a method of controlling spam on websites by limiting the number of times a given person can leave a comment or post one. In addition, Captchas are used on many websites as a type of preventive security measure to protect against identity theft and fraud.
A Brief History of the Captcha
Not only is the Captcha a test for computer consciousness, but it is also a test for programmer consciousness. The Captcha has a long and winding history that dates back to the 1950s. Its name was derived from a fanciful acronym: “Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.” The Captcha was originally developed as a way to prevent computers from automatically generating and publishing a large quantity of spam content on the web.
However, the first Captchas were not very effective at rejecting spam or discriminating against computers. Rather, they only increased the annoyance of the internet to legitimate users. Over the years, the Captcha has evolved in order to improve its effectiveness in stopping spam and rejecting computer programs. Now, Captchas are used for much more than just stopping spam. Captchas are now used for many different purposes, such as reducing online identity theft, increasing user engagement, and improving security on websites.
Why Do Websites Use Captcha?
A Captcha is a visual challenge-response test that is used to determine whether a person is a human or a computer program. The Captcha was originally developed in order to prevent computers from automatically generating and publishing a large quantity of spam content on the web. Captchas are used as indicators of computer consciousness, to ensure that automated programs do not abuse systems that are intended for human users only. Captchas are also used as a method of controlling spam on websites by limiting the number of times a given person can leave a comment or post one.
In addition, Captchas are used on many websites as a type of preventive security measure to protect against identity theft and fraud. Captchas are also used to improve user engagement and interaction. The Captcha tests a person’s knowledge and skill in completing a simple visual challenge. Passing the Captcha provides users with a sense of accomplishment and allows them to progress through a website more quickly. That said, Captcha is not only used to discriminate against computers. It is also used to discriminate against humans, particularly when a website wants to protect itself against identity theft and fraud.
Why Robots Can’t Pass Captcha: ML and AI
Let’s explore the ways in which computers have attempted to pass the Captcha to understand why they failed. The very first attempt was made in 1951, when a scientist named Alan Turing attempted to use a computer program to pass the Turing Test. The Test is a simple challenge: if a computer program can trick a human into believing that it is also a human, it passes the Test. For a while, it seemed like the computers were succeeding.
There were many articles in the newspapers and magazines boasting about the triumph of the machines. However, the programmers soon realized that they had made a fundamental mistake. They were creating programs that were incredibly smart but completely clueless. The programs were so smart that they could win at chess and solve mathematical equations. However, they were completely and utterly clueless when it came to the simple visual challenges of the Captcha.
Can Robots Really Read Our Letters and Numbers?
Since these initial attempts to pass the Turing Test, scientists have made incredible technological advancements. Now, computers can recognize images, recognize speech, and even translate foreign languages. They have become incredibly powerful and knowledgeable machines. The question, then, is not whether computers are smart enough to pass the Captcha.
Instead, the question is whether computers are human enough to pass the Captcha. After all, computers have yet to figure out how to read letters and numbers, let alone transcribe them into text. The computer may be able to recognize the letters and numbers, but it doesn’t know what they mean — let alone how to type them out or read them aloud.
What If They Could?
It is impossible to know whether computers will one day be human enough to pass the Captcha. After all, there is a significant difference between knowing how to pass a Captcha and actually being able to pass a Captcha. Indeed, even if computers could recognize letters and numbers, they would face significant challenges converting them into usable data. For example, computers currently use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to convert printed text into digital text.
However, this process is incredibly challenging and error-prone. For example, computers are unable to read cursive handwriting and often fail to recognize abbreviations and acronyms. As a result, the OCR process is incredibly time-consuming and inefficient. It would take computers hours or even days to convert a single printed page into digital text. The Captcha, however, is not printed text. Rather, it is a simple visual challenge that computers have no hope of passing.
This still proves my arguement on why AI can’t fully replace humans.
After decades of trying, computers have failed to pass the Turing Test. This is because computers have yet to understand the most basic visual challenges of the Captcha. Computers don’t yet know how to read letters and numbers, let alone transcribe them into text. Indeed, computers are incredibly powerful machines. They are also incredibly foolish machines. They may be able to solve complex mathematical equations and recognize complex images, but they are completely clueless when it comes to the simple visual challenges of the Captcha.
About The Author
Williams Alfred Onen
Williams Alfred Onen is a degree-holding computer science software engineer with a passion for technology and extensive knowledge in the tech field. With a history of providing innovative solutions to complex tech problems, Williams stays ahead of the curve by continuously seeking new knowledge and skills. He shares his insights on technology through his blog and is dedicated to helping others bring their tech visions to life.