Documenting the Coming Singularity

Monday, April 20, 2009

At least they'd be good for something - Harnessing spammers to advance AI

New Scientist - April 17, 2009, by Colin Barras

CAPTCHAs – scrambled letters that separate real online users from software bots – protect online services from being overwhelmed by spam by posing problems only humans can solve. But they may also offer a way to coerce spammers into solving some important problems in artificial intelligence.

Spammers have already written software able to match humans at some CAPTCHAs. But when CAPTCHAs finally fail, their co-creator Luis von Ahn at Carnegie Mellon University says there will be reason for celebration as well as concern.

Software that can solve any text-based CAPTCHA will be as much a milestone for artificial intelligence as it will be a problem for online security.

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