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I am not a robot to make money. I am not a robot: Google swaps text CAPTCHAs for quivery mouse clicks – Naked Security

This was back before Gmail. And Yahoo Mail was great. It was free.

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You could check your email anywhere. But there was this one problem. His name is Luis von Ahn. KING: The spammers who were signing up for millions of spam accounts weren't going to the Yahoo Mail page and just signing up for these accounts one at a time. It wasn't like they were, like, therealjacobgoldstein yahoo.

KING: No, spammers were writing simple computer programs - little bots that just kept filling out the Yahoo email sign-up form again and again and again, day and night.

And that would generate an army of email accounts that could be used to sell fake Viagra or steal your bank account information - whatever. VON AHN: So the idea was can we make a test that can distinguish between humans and computers, but also a test that is graded by the computer.

GOLDSTEIN: If you've basically ever signed up for anything on the Internet, you probably know the idea that Luis von Ahn came up with - a picture of distorted letters and numbers, and then a little field below that picture where you type in the characters that you see. He loved it.

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And within a few weeks, it was actually, you know, in the registration flow of email accounts at Yahoo. It was being used there, and we were super happy that they were just using it. It was a long, ridiculous name that made a short, genius acronym. The long name was It's a test where you try to tell if you're chatting with a computer or with a human being. If a computer can consistently make you think it's a human being, that is artificial intelligence.

You may even know the acronym for this test. Yeah, it was a good name. I'm Jacob Goldstein. KING: But if you were KING: Laughter. And in the end, the computers are only going to need us, the humans, to do a little light data entry.

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But Luis and his colleagues are the ones who came up with the name, and their version was the one that really took off. KING: When you bought tickets online, when you signed up for your Myspace account - pretty soon, people were taking Luis' little test million times a day. It was protecting the world from scalpers and spammers and bots.

And the world, of course, responded with gratitude.

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So I started feeling, you know And each time you type one of these, you waste about 10 seconds of your time. So you know, I started just thinking, is there any way in which we can make good use of these 10 seconds? And at this moment, there is this push going on to digitize old books and old documents. And at the time, it was easy enough to scan old pages, old pieces of paper and put them online.

But computers were still bad at turning those scanned pages into useful online documents. You cannot change the font size. You cannot - I mean, it's just a bunch of kind of somewhat crappy pictures. And he is sitting on over half a million hours of free human labor a day.

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  4. ГЛАВА 49 Беккер с трудом поднялся и рухнул на пустое сиденье.
  5. Росио натянула ночную рубашку, глубоко вздохнула и открыла дверь в комнату.
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  7. Перед его глазами появилось сообщение, которое он должен был отправить.
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And he goes out looking for customers. We have this huge, you know, year-old archive of old editions of The New York Times. So maybe we can - maybe you can help us. When you typed in that word, you weren't just protecting the Internet from spam. You were also helping to turn a hundred years of old newspapers into a searchable digital archive.

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Like, it just - it delights me. You know, it's like the old dream of riding your exercise bike to power the lights in your house or something, which, by the way, Luis told me when he was, like, 11, he had that dream. And then he, like, looked into it and realized, oh, actually, like, a person riding an exercise bike is a terrible way to generate power. They saw what Luis was doing for the Times. KING: Unpaid. But a little digression.

He started a language company where people did online translation while they were learning the language. This company became super popular. It's called Duolingo.

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In fact, it got so popular that they got rid of the translation part. Now it's just this app that millions of people use to learn languages. End of Luis. End of digression.

So now it is the aughts.

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And then someone figures out a workaround. Chris Kanich is a computer scientist who started looking into these businesses around Like, until you actually think, oh, actually, let's go seek this out, see how hard it is to find, you might think, oh, this is some shady cybercriminal underground thing.

But, nope. You can just Google for it. You can find a dozen of these services very competitively priced with, you know, all that stuff. Like, is it for real? Do these services work?

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So he and his colleagues decided to act like spammers. I mean, they didn't do the spam part, but they did, more or less, everything else. They built a bot. KING: And what do those services do exactly? And boom. How long does it take? But Chris and his colleagues also had some other questions they wanted to answer, so they did something else. Some of those tests just said, what time is it? And the answer to those tests told them what time zone the people solving the I am not a robot to make money lived in.

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What was the one before Farsi? No, but they did it because they wanted to just, like, sort of push these services.

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KING: Based on this part of the study - not the Klingon part, but the languages and the time zones - they figure out that a lot of people seem to be doing this work in Russia, China and India. And they realize this is a huge industry. Usually, they were very fast. I mean, they were potentially illegal, but they did the thing that they said they were doing.

One of the most interesting things about cybercrime as a marketplace is that it works like any other, like, business-to-business-type marketplace.

Your reputation is really important there. But this is a task that takes a typical human, you know, about 15, 20 seconds. But God, I mean, you really feel for the people doing the work. But it is still not zero. And it is I am not a robot to make money enough to weed out a lot of people. It weeds out, you know, people who are just trolls making spam accounts for fun and people who are just posting garbage comments on a million garbage websites hoping to sell a few extra dollars' worth of garbage products.

Then you wouldn't need the farms and the farmers anymore. The price would go to zero, and the spammers could go wild. And eventually, the tests got too hard for human beings to pass. KING: And there are two big changes here. First of all, they introduce the I-am-not-a-robot check box. But what I learned when I was working on this show is when you click on that check box, the site sends back a bunch of information to Google.

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We'll talk more about what that information is a little later in the show.