Skip to content

reCAPTCHA: tiny acts towards big social impact

If you’ve ever purchased or subscribed to something online, chances are you’ve come across CAPTCHA: A series of graphically distorted letters that you need to type into a box to prove you’re not a spambot. A necessary nuisance, but a nuisance nonetheless.

Enter Luis von Ahn, one of the minds behind the original CAPTCHA. After finding out that approximately 200 million CAPTCHAs are typed in every day, with about 10 seconds used per entry, meaning humanity as a whole is generally wasting 500 thousand hours every day on filling out CAPTCHAs, Luis decided to do something about it. He created reCAPTCHA.

The significance of reCAPTCHA is that leverages the authentication process people are already completing to help digitize books one word at a time. Many online vendors and companies have switched to using reCAPTCHA in the last few years, so much so that as many as 100 million words are being digitized daily by you and I. How’s that for a tiny contribution towards big social impact? Pretty impressive.

But Luis himself speaks to all of this far better than I. Watch his TEDx talk on reCAPTCHA in the video below.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: