1. Sure, they claim CAPTCHA stands for something, but you can’t convince me it’s not a backronym.

  2. I heard this interview with the inventor, on NPR, about the 20 year history of CAPTCHA a few months ago; it was one of those NPR programs where I had to sit in my car until it was over.
    The transcript is here. Read the first couple of pages and it just may move you to hear the 24 minute tale of why it had to keep changing. There’s global intrigue. 🙂 :-/

  3. Maybe

    But knowing PCST it might just be isn’t it funny the Coyote is having trouble with the Internet.

    At any event, whether it’s as *much* as CAPTCHA sounds Capture I’m not sure. But it certainly isn’t any thing *more*. Not with PCST.

  4. DemetriosX: If Merriam-Webster is to be believed, it is a backronym.

    KevinA: It isn’t just that they have to make it better to prevent bots from being able to pass it, as artificial intelligence gets better? (Also, I guess Google wants free training data.)

  5. At least Coyote’s CAPTCHA is legible: too often we’re given a mess of overlapping lines and squiggles and it’s impossible to tell WHAT it’s supposed to say.

    And then there’s our other favorite: “Click on each photo that shows a person wearing clothing made from synthetic fabrics.”

  6. @CIDU Bill

    Supposedly CAPTCHA results are used to train AI. I expect it won’t be long until we get “Click on each photo of a person harboring anti-social thoughts”.

  7. I haven’t had a chance to listen, but I did read the transcript for the piece linked by Kevin A, and it was really interesting and informative. (And it answers some of the questions / speculation posed in other comments here.)

  8. Bill: Your son is certain that CAPTCHA is used to train AI? Or that soon we’ll have situations like in the xkcd cartoon?

    If the former, then it’s not even borderline conspiracy theory. It’s common public knowledge. Google has publicly said that they use CAPTCHA to train AI. Why wouldn’t they?

  9. “Mitch4, no, it’s just that Wile E. Coyote can’t capture the roadrunner.”

    A common error. The villain of the Roadrunner cartoons was usually ” the coyote” Only occasionally was he identified as Wile E. Coyote, who appeared in the Bugs Bunny cartoons, Different character, with a distinctly different personality, albeit played by the same actor. He also played the lesser known Ralph Wolf.

  10. It is emphatically not an error to identify the coyote in Road Runner cartoons as Wile E. I’m not aware of any source that treats them as different characters.

  11. I think the source of our confusion is that both Wile E. and Ralph have used ACME products to do their wolf-ry (you know, like devilry (maybe?).).

    It also says that Ralph had a red nose
    This entry says that Wile E. only spoke in the 5 cartoons where he was an “adversary of Bugs Bunny” and where he labeled himself, “super genius”.

    yay, cidu!

  12. @CIDU BIll
    The really tricky ones are where you have to click on all the panels that contain stop signs. Is the pole considered part of the sign? Should I click on panels that only contain the pole?
    Or click on all the cars. Do buses count? What about trucks?

  13. Bill: To clarify, by common public knowledge, I didn’t mean that it’s something everyone knows. (I guess most people don’t think about CAPTCHAs at all, except to be annoyed by them.) I just meant it’s not something Google has been secretive about.

  14. Also, some CAPTCHAs photos just aren’t really clear on a cell phone: IS that really part of a crosswalk?


    We live in a subdivision that has coyotes. No big deal, altho the way some people react on the neighborhood email board, you’d think people didn’t KNOW they were moving into a conservation area. Anyway, this is what to do when you see one – and DO NOT CALL 911 . . .

  16. I haven’t run across the “click all the X” ones in a while. Most I get now are the “I am not a robot” ones. Makes me think of this:

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