Well, this isn’t good news (or else it’s awesome news, depending on how you look at it): An artificial intelligence
software startup called Vicarious says that it can “reliably” (which is to say, 90% of the time) defeat text-based CAPTCHA
s, those jumbled words and phrases that you have to decipher to prove that you’re a human online.
This includes Google
’s reCAPTCHA as well as those from Yahoo!, PayPal, Captcha.com, and more. Vicarious asserts that because of this, its software obviates CAPTCHAs as a Turing test
, which sorts out who is a human and who is an AI
It appears as though Vicarious’ approach requires the software to use a certain visual intelligence to understand that what it’s “seeing” is actually numbers and letters. “Vicarious has a long term strategy for developing human level artificial intelligence, and it starts with building a brain-like vision system. Modern CAPTCHAs provide a snapshot of the challenges of visual perception, and solving those in a general way required us to understand how the brain does it", said Vicarious co-founder Dr. Dileep George in a press release.
The company says that its technique requires very little processing power, and it’s developing a Recursive Cortical Network (RCN) that, although it won’t be ready to go for years, portends a number of commercial applications ranging from robotics to medicine to image searches.