Correcting Images During Account Registration
The next time you register for an account online, you may be asked to correct the alignment of a puzzle as part of the authentication process. Computer programmers continue to seek automated ways of creating accounts in order to provide some influence in a web site. I have to admit that some of the newer verification methods are almost too efficient at preventing spammers and human users–I’ve failed at guessing the squiggly letters with the line running through them.
Photos are a good alternative to text-related puzzles because computers have a harder time dealing with images and abstractions. I have no doubt that it is only a matter of time before computer programmers overcome this hurdle too, but it will provide a respite.
A recent NY Times article discusses a free coding system called reCaptcha, which uses images from failed book scans like the Google Book Project to create text images that computers can not recognize. Computers, for example, have problems read an “S” from older text if it is elaborate or elongated as an “F” or “R.” These texts need to be decoded by humans, and roughly 25 million words are decoded by reCaptch alone. These failed digitization attempts are called “captchas.” There are even audio captchas, which eventually serve as written transcripts.