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New computer can solve Internet 'Captcha' identity test

New computer can solve Internet 'Captcha' identity test
Credit: Captcha.net

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say they've cracked the Internet's most popular "Turing test," meant to determine if a website visitor is a human being or a spambot.

The Captcha test -- used by major websites such as Google, Yahoo and PayPal -- requires deciphering one or two distorted words or number groups, presented as images rather than text.

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Short for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. Captcha has been around since the mid-1990s.

Now researchers at Vicarious AI in California say they've developed a computer that can process visual information similar to how a human does it, giving it the ability to solve Captcha tests.

"Past solutions may have solved a Captcha at a particular point in time, whereas this solution solves Captcha," Vicarious co-founder D. Scott Phoenix told Mashable. "Past solutions were hacks that were not part of a general vision system, whereas we're trying to build an intelligent machine, and it happens to solve Captcha along the way."

Vicarious co-founder Dileep George says its system's success rate is much higher.

"We [train] the system by showing it images of letters," George said. "It needs just a few examples of letters to learn about them. Previous work would require in the order 10,000 examples of a letter even to understand minor variations."

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Vicarious said it isn't trying to help spammers out by solving Captcha. Its goal, the researchers said, is to get machines to think like humans, and Vicarious has no intention of making its Recursive Cortical Network technology available to the public.

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