“CAPTCHA,” which stands for “completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart,” was coined by a group of computer scientists at Carnegie Melon University originally to help Yahoo! keep bots out of its chat rooms. One of those computer scientists, Luis von Ahn, went on to start reCAPTCHA (and later Duolingo) which was acquired by Google in 2009.
As essential as CAPTCHAs have become, memes and complaints are all over the internet. There are news articles about difficulty snagging newly-released concert tickets and CAPTCHAs altogether not working on websites for vaccination bookings. There are also Reddit groups like /r/captcha and /r/CaptchaArt. And of course, the memes. Although Google explains that with its CAPTCHAs, the company is using all of our frustrating experiences to train its AI and improve its products, sometimes people just don’t have the time to spend.
Other than memes, we’ve seen makers respond in a couple of different ways. The first is to bring us joy — like this DOOM Captcha that was launched last week. Just kill four enemies and you’re cleared. Maker, Miquel Camps Orteza, made it clear this is just for fun.
"Don't take this too seriously this is a little project for fun, if do you know how to code it's pretty easy to break the security of this."
Orteza also released Squat Captcha last year, which uses a webcam and desktop environment to force someone to do squats before continuing their online transactions.
On the more serious side, the team at Cloudflare has made it their goal to get rid of CAPTCHAs completely. The company used back-of-the-envelope math to calculate that humanity wastes about 500 years per day on CAPTCHAs, starting with the average 32 seconds it takes a user to complete a CAPTCHA challenge.
Cloudflare has put together a new way to prove you’re a human through what it calls “Cryptographic Attestation of Personhood.” It involves touching or looking at a device, supported through USB security keys like Yubikeys.
This is only an experiment right now so you won’t see it in many places beyond the Cloudflare website, and there are potential pitfalls. For example, Ackermann Yuriy of Webauthn Works told VentureBeat that this method could be gamed by using something as simple as a drinking bird toy to touch the security sensor — which is not a human.
Still, the idea offers an alternative solution, and one that has benefits for those with visual disabilities. For now, you can get nostalgic and...
Khoa Pham is too. The maker launched WWDC Together 2.0 — a place to watch and discuss WWDC, upgraded with a better chat experience and map.
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In this week's episode, Emily Heyward, founder of Red Antler (the Brooklyn-based agency known as the creative brain behind brands like Casper, Allbirds and Hinge), chats about the soul of a brand. She explains how creating a breakthrough brand doesn’t stop at a catchy tagline or a perfect logo. It’s about understanding your customers at a foundational level and gaining their trust in the process.