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CAPTCHA Demystified

Posted in GETV Episode by ekai on the April 28th, 2009

Thanks to our friends at Intel, Irina and editor Kevin flew to Portland where not only did they get to tour the top secret chip-making labs (no camera’s allowed) but they met some disprutive tech guys in the realm of CAPTCHAs. You may not know what a CAPTCHA is, but we’re pretty sure you’ve used one or two or three. OK, so if someone asks you what’s a CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) and you wanna sound annoying and smart just say, “It’s a reverse Turing test.” Hee. Basically, it’s a way for the computer to tell if you’re a human or a bot to prevent comment spam on blogs (or on YouTube, etc) or, more importantly, to prevent bots from infiltrating consumer sites. Since the average failure rate of traditional CAPTCHA technolgy is about 20 percent, bots can mess up a lot of shopping. We’ve heard that Ticketmaster loses as much as 12 percent of their sales to potential ticket buyers who drop out because they can’t get past the CAPTCHA. So, if you can ignore Irina’s combover hairstyle in this episode, we check in with the guys from Vidoop and hear what they have to say. Oh yeah, this subject would not be complete without referencing a little Blade Runner and the Voight-Kampff test.

Episode links: CAPTCHA, Vidoop, Voight-Kampff