Artificial Intelligence Startup Vicarious Says It Can Defeat CAPTCHA Security

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 CAPTCHAs, 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,, 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 robotic imposter.


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.