HomeSatireThe Computer Madness of Proving You are Human

The Computer Madness of Proving You are Human

Paranoid Computers

Computers are becoming increasingly suspicious to the point of becoming paranoid. Just imagine the frustration of a computer preventing you from fulfilling a task. I’m sure you have become annoyed by having to prove that you are not a robot to a paranoid computer programme. They will tell you that this is in your own interests while having you believe that Artificial Intelligence is in your best interest. Proving you are human and not a computer programme is claimed to prevent automated computer software (Robots/bots) and spammers from flooding your email carrier and allegedly performing actions on your behalf.


This programme was developed in 2000 at Carnegie Mellon University and was then purchased by Google. It is called CAPTCHA (pronounced as cap-ch-uh) that stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”. Now you see why it is called CAPTCHA!”  This technology was designed to protect you from spammers and bots that automatically try to harvest email addresses or automatically sign you up for to use websites, blogs or forums.  It claims to protect your website from spam and abuse so that you don’t have to compete with robots and abusive scripts to access sites. Its goal is to provide a test for humans to answer but which is claimed to be ‘almost’ impossible for a computer to answer.

CAPTCHA is used by websites offering services such as registration forms. Email services like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail use the process to sign up new users and prevent spammers from using a “bot” to generate and send you hundreds of spam mails.

Difficult to Read or Distinguish Images

As automated programs become more sophisticated the CAPTCHA images are made harder for the robots to read or distinguish.  The downside is they also become more difficult and challenging for humans to read or distinguish. According to Google robots have now become capable of solve even the most difficult variation of distorted text with 99.8% accuracy. This requires that the characters must now become so distorted that now they can’t be recognized by people even with excellent vision, let alone those who are visually impaired. The digital devices now have much better visual capacity than most human with their 99.8% accuracy.

Watch the Mouse

Today the distorted letters are said to serve less as a human identifier and more as a way of eliciting a range of cues that distinguish humans from bots.. The difference between bot and human can be distinguished in clues such as how a user or a bot moves a mouse in that brief moment before clicking the “I am not a robot” button. It’s the indecisive mouse stupid. Humans also drop clues that can establish whether we’re automated or not: IP addresses and cookies also show our movements on the Web and are taken into account. So the next time you are asked to prove that you are human perhaps you won’t mind being the run around as its intent is ostensibly to protect you.

Cursing the Peeing Dog

This explanation is of little comfort to those us who are looking at a jumbled or bunch of fuzzy images asking us to try and decide how many of them have dogs lifting a leg to pee on a post specially after you failed the test numerous times. You would probably become more pissed off than the post pissing dog. The purpose of the system was supposed to protect and help us users or so it claimed. No matter how good the system is or pretends to be, if what you are trying to access is made impossible, as you plod through more and more clutter on the web it becomes counterproductive as you give up in disgust cursing the dog and the mouse.

I can fool the mouse


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