Squinting unclear text, trying to figure out small images and square boxes, or just clicking a checkbox to confirm that you are a human and not a robot, “CAPTCHA” is an integral part of our daily Internet browsing experience. The purpose of CAPTCHA (or the fully automated Public Turing Challenge) is to improve the security of online services, but the annoying verification process is something most of us would like to avoid. Now, the latest research by the network infrastructure and security company Cloudflare shows that people all over the world are wasting 500 man-years every day while trying to prove that they are not spam bots.

The study shows that ordinary users spend 32 seconds to complete the CAPTCHA challenge and estimate the time by performing simple arithmetic on 4.6 billion global Internet users. Cloudflare said in a blog post that the idea is simple: “A real person should be able to touch or look at their device to prove that they are human without revealing their identity.”

CAPTCHA was created at the turn of the century, and the term was coined in 2003. Over the years, with the improvement of artificial intelligence tools, simple text-based verification codes (CAPTCHA) have been replaced by objects in pictures. Improvements in artificial intelligence mean that people can create robots that can beat the simpler verification code tests in the past, but this means that these checks are becoming harder and harder for real people.

CAPTCHA has also been used as a training tool for AI-take Google’s reCAPTCHA as an example. It is observing human behavior so that people can pass the test, but as machine learning can better recognize text and objects, it is difficult for people to pass the test.

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This is a problem because complex verification codes will cost us in many ways, as Cloudflare pointed out in its blog. As mentioned earlier, the waste of time is the loss of productivity, and relying on the CAPTCHA system also has problems with accessibility.

But this is not the only problem-as anyone living in India attests, many of the problems that arise in reCAPTCHA depend on understanding the situation in the United States, such as what a fire hydrant is-most Indians have never seen in real life . But this is not the only problem. Most Indians can only access the Internet through mobile devices, which not only makes CAPTCHA more difficult on small screens, but also puts pressure on data plans and batteries.


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