New Captcha System Uses Feelings To Separate Humans From Machines

New Captcha System Uses Feelings To Separate Humans From Machines

Everyday online activity is transformed to stop and make you feel.

Libby Garrett
  • 9 october 2012

An activist group called Civil Rights Defenders has developed a new Captcha system that keeps spambots out while informing Internet users of global civil rights issues. Instead of visually decoding images of distorted letters, the new system presents a human rights question and asks users how it makes them feel.

For example, presenting web users with the scenario, “In Kosovo people are tortured in detention.  How does that make you feel?,” spambot-detecting options include “excited,” “bothered,” and “great.”  Or, in the scenario “In 2010 the first Pride parade could take place in Serbia thanks to great efforts from authorities and police.  It was a step forward for the rights of LGBT people.  How does that make you feel?,” options include “very glad,” “dusty,” and “short.”

Differences of sentiments aside, the project is interesting in its approach to use human feeling as a means of distinguishing between humans and computers on the web.

Additionally, the project cleverly embues meaning into an otherwise banal step in a commonplace online process, transforming a rote activity into a platform that promotes social causes.

Civil Rights Defenders



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