Numlock News: February 17, 2019
By Walt Hickey
Welcome to the Numlock Sunday edition. Each week, I sit down with a writer behind one of the stories covered in a previous weekday edition for a casual conversation about the story they wrote.
CAPTCHA tests — those weird “prove you’re a human” examinations that take up far too much of my time online — are getting harder, it’s not just you. The tests (which stand for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) essentially are tools of their own demise: people identify a storefront, a computer analyzes those results to itself get better identifying storefronts, then those computers can beat CAPTCHA tests and a new CAPTCHA is needed. In 2014, Google threw a machine learning algorithm against humans solving distorted text CAPTCHAs, and the computers got 99.8 percent of them to th…