With the prominence of bots registering account and posting “comments” with the sole purpose of hawking their master’s shady online market, many websites have implemented a step to impede this unwanted behavior – the CAPTCHA, or Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. The purpose of this little image is in effect, to use your superior pattern recognition skills to prove your human status by entering the displayed characters.
On more occasions than I care to admit I have actually failed this simple test of my carbon-based composition, causing myself to be grouped with numerous specimens of silicon-based bretheren in the Pool of Rejection, where it has been said the pitiful wails of web bots can be heard a whole IP bracket away. In these moments I feel like I have somehow let my race down. Like forgetting a PIN, I am unable to surmount an obstacle designed to allow me to proceed.
As the one-up contest between web developers and bots continues and identification systems become more complex, I wonder how many other systems will falsely lock out legitimate clients. At least I can’t lose my fingerprint.