> The problem is a public as well as private one, and impersonation robots should be considered what the law calls “hostis humani generis”: enemies of mankind, like pirates and other outlaws.
> Improved robot detection might help us find the robot masters or potentially help national security unleash counterattacks, which can be necessary when attacks come from overseas. There may be room for deputizing private parties to hunt down bad robots.
It's helpful for more people to realize how many bots are out there, and where social media spam comes from. But I don't believe it's crashing democracy so much as it's just another tool for corrupt, power-hungry politicians wanting to further entrench the supporters already on their side.
Sounds foolish. Even strong-willed individuals can be influenced if the level of external stimuli is high enough.
It's usually those noting that "no, not I!" who are most oblivious to the affects of such forces.
In "Surely your joking", Richard Feynman tells how he got away with hiding the door to one of his fraternity brother's room by answering in such a fashion. Interestingly, apparently it was so convincing that no one present even remembered that he had confessed.
“No, sir! I did not take the door!”
“Maurice. Did you take the door?”
“No, I did not take the door, sir.”
“Feynman, did you take the door?”
“Yeah, I took the door.”
“Cut it out, Feynman, this is serious! Sam! Did you take the door . . .”—it went all the way around. Everyone was shocked. There must be some real rat in the fraternity who didn't respect the fraternity word of honor!
This is actually the main plot point of Asimov's 1946 short story Evidence, which was later republished in I, robot (1950). Stephen Byerley is running for office and the main protagonists are trying to figure out if he is human or a robot.
Edit: Removed spoiler
It's amazing in any way you can imagine. In something like 40 pages you get presented with problems from several very different domains -- and proposed solutions.
Soon, video and audio of an event or speech be proof of anything.
The only way to prove identity will be to have a device which can do challenge-response.
Without it, you won't be able to prove you're not a robot over the internet.
Forget "hacking elections". A botnet will be able to hack our trust in one another (see CIA reputational attacks), AI will be used to chat up girls online better than any person (see fb AI sales bots), and so on.
Computers can already beat us at Chess, Go, etc. How much different is humor, honor and reputation once companies add one more breakthrough to deep learning to model them?
An attacker that can make 100,000 jokes a second each of which is excellent? The missing breakthrough is how to automate the "human judging" factor. This is the problem when figuring out diets or treatments etc. Clinical trials take a long time. Same with textbooks.
Once we figure out how to speed that part up, we are going to be able to make AI that knows what's probably going to be funny ahead of time.
PS: See what I did there? Hint... inefficiency of attacker
Second, it doesn't work that well, as in it tells me that I was wrong when I should have been right, and it keeps throwing images at me, making the logging experience quite frustrating. This especially seems to happen around signs, like when you miss a part of a sign's pole or something. Although other times it seems to act the opposite way, and it only wants the middle larger sections. That uncertainty about what you're even supposed to do exactly makes for a bad experience.
The part where it continuously changes the images on you is even more annoying, because you're left there wondering "Do I have to pick many more of these?! Because I almost want to give-up trying to login."
Whatever they did to "improve it", like a year ago or maybe a little less than that, seems broken to me.
They are providing you a service--preventing spam bots from abusing services that you want to use--and are using your proof-of-work as payment. I don't see the problem.
I don't really mind captchas aside from the new ones that Google's doing, the "Keep clicking roads until there are no roads anymore" ones, just devil's advocate.
And yes, it's frustrating. You never know if that tiny corner of a triangle sign counts as "a sign" or not
I'm mostly asking rhetorically, because I haven't needed to do more than click the checkbox saying I am not a robot in months.
Does Google do [edit - adding quotes:] "free" work for you? Not sure how anyone dependent on Google's services (not you specifically necessarily, but most in general) such as search or mail could justify this perspective.
I also much preferred the older text-based captchas (which google also "abused" to OCR text IIRC), I found them easier and quicker to solve and I didn't have to reach for the mouse. Fortunately 4chan at least lets you switch back to "legacy captcha".
No, in that case Google is providing the service to plenty of 3rd party websites completely unrelated to Google, who basically punt and wind up saying "do this work for Google for access".
If you use gmail but never solve captchas are you freeloading? What if I use adblock but I solve a lot of captchas, am I good? If I pay for Google's business "G suite" do I no longer have to solve captchas? If I don't use gmail or google search can I opt out of captchas?
That's not what I meant; my poorly communicated point was more about how nothing is really "free" (should have included the quotes earlier!).
... plus ask you to solve captchas sometimes, right? Is there some line or reason where ads are ok but captchas aren't?
Edit: With captchas the site benefits directly from Google, but ads function similarly.
In theory, no ad revenue will eventually lock out the site too.
Unless.. its deliberate, and Im just really good at identifying road signs?
what a genius idea. there's no way at all that could be used against people except for spammers
Silly idea altogether. The robots.txt is as close to this as we should go.
So first try to pass laws to make it unlawful for your government to use tools like these against its own citizens. Then you might have a chance to tackle it more generally, if you can get that far against the self interest of those with the tools and the companies that furnish them.
 IIRC, the URL would give you a simple arithmetic formula to solve and you would hit another URL with the result, something like /foo/<result> and it would give you a code. You then included the code in the application.