Why we need captchas and who is making money from them

What's the Deal with Conor Knighton

Chances are, you've experienced a "captcha."  It stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.

A captcha can be any kind of simple test, but it's most frequently seen online as those annoying squiggly letters you get when you sign up for email accounts. The idea is to ensure that's it's a person, not a computer program, signing up for the email account or buying those tickets.

Luis von Ahn was one of the Carnegie Mellon Computer Scientists who invented the captcha.  They are great for internet security, but bad for productivity, as he explains in a TED talk.

"Humanity as a whole is wasting about 500,000 hours a day typing these annoying captchas, so then I started feeling bad," said Ahn.

Ahn figured out a way to use captchas for good. So now when you fill out that annoying form, you're actually helping to digitize a book.

Solve media uses captchas for profit, turning them into ads. With Solve, you still have to prove you're not a robot, it's just that now somebody has figured out a way to money off of that interaction.  And that is 100 percent human. 




Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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