It’s becoming increasingly difficult to express that you are a person and not just a robot while accessing websites.

It all started as a simple, small button with the words “I’m not a robot” on it. It was then that developers began altering it in order to create requests that could only be solved by humans.

Every time we visit a website, we all see the image grid. This is precisely what we are talking about and if you could recall what this tool’s journey has been like; it has featured image tests of traffic lights, crosswalks, storefronts and the annoying fire hydrants.

These tests, no matter how interesting they may seem in writing, can be disconcerting and difficult for the average web explorer. This was 10 years ago. These tests are now much more current.

This is the name of these (now becoming impenetrable tests): Captcha. CAPTCHA, which stands for Completely Automated Private Turing Tests to Tell Computers and People Apart. This guide explains how the system works, and what you can do to avoid it. If you’re interested, you can find more useful information about captchas here.

Some history about CAPTCHAs

In 1997, the most popular type of CAPTCHA emerged. These tests consisted of simple images and texts with some letters twisted and a slight background gradient. This tests program was purchased by Google a decade later from Carnegie Mellon Researchers.

Google’s main intention of acquiring this program was to digitize Google books. This meant that text needed to be twisted and obscured even further. What’s more, optical character recognition programs were improving and there was also need to improve the CAPTCHAs too.

CAPTCHAs: Where is the problem?

Machines have almost completely defeated humans in these CAPTCHA tasks, moving from simple text and grid images to what CAPTCHA today is about. Google used machine learning algorithms to create highly distortion CAPTCHAS in 2014. While the machine passed 99.8% of the tests, humans failed to pass 33%.

Even with the move to change the standard CAPTCHA to NoCaptcha ReCaptcha that allowed humans to pass the barrier by a button ‘I’m not a robot’, or via simple modern image labeling, machines still caught up.

There is evidence to support the claim that CAPTCHA difficulties have increased.

Jason Polakis (a University of Illinois Chicago computer science professor) published a paper showing image recognition tools perform better at solving these types of tests with 70% accuracy. He said that humans are more likely to be frustrated by machines than they make them.

Bots aren’t necessarily clever – Humans tackle the tests extremely badly

Please don’t misquote me, as this is not to mean that humans are dumb either. Some tests are only appropriate for certain areas due to the differences in language, culture and experience. It is impossible to eliminate this diversity and solve CAPTCHA.

A test which goes beyond our human capabilities, including language, physical and cultural abilities, will be the only way to find the ideal solution. It must be simple enough for average people, but difficult for computers.

Even if bots were more intelligent, we couldn’t run to them either

Even the most advanced bots will struggle to make it past the test stage with a new type of bot detectors. Today, it’s also hard to navigate the web with a bot as anti-cracking extensions and VPNs can quickly identify suspicious activities and challenge/block you.

The CAPTCHA – HUMAN challenges won’t last forever!

Aaron Malenfant (technical lead for Google CAPTCHA sentiments), stated that the plan is to eliminate Turing tests completely because this is how humans can stop losing. Malenfant added that there will be a secret Turing test on the internet in the future to differentiate robots from human beings.

Conventional CAPTCHAs must be discarded, as smart bots can also make mistakes like typos. People must accept that it’s challenging to prove humanity in a conversation. Let’s just hope that the new Turing tests model will eliminate the problems humans have been facing with current CAPTCHAs.

Entrepreneurship Live published The Post Why Captchas Are So Tough.

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