Excursions by Amit Gawande

Why CAPTCHAs have gotten so difficult

So apparently we, humans, are struggling to prove ourselves as human now - The Verge reports.

Figuring out how to fix those blurry image quizzes quickly takes you into philosophical territory: what is the universal human quality that can be demonstrated to a machine, but that no machine can mimic? What is it to be human?

I am sorry, but we are taking the literal definition of CAPTCHA - Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart - too seriously. It is a good enough system to filter out attacks from majority of the bad actors not so strong both technically and financially. Sure, there would come a day when the AI systems to beat these complicated CAPTHAs would become extremely cheap — might be even sold pay-per-use.

But when that happens, we better be ready with something that can replace this old system of identifying humans online. Authenticating and authorizing an identity online should be made a priority project at all the technology leaders.

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