Here I had assumed nobody but me reads this, but I got some love from the spammers last night. Could’ve enabled the Akismet plugin (and maybe will), but I always thought the reCAPTCHA project was cool. Harvest the human effort required to decode the spam-stopping CAPTCHA’s (Completely Automated Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart) and use it to help digitize books. Too cool. And free.
Kind of like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk project which I always thought was a cool idea… use distributed networks of humans to decode things machines can’t do, such as “is there a horse in this picture”. Takes a human a second to figure that one out, but the smartest visual software in the world isn’t able to handle it.
Though it will soon. Google acquired Neven Vision in 2006, whose facial recognition system appears to have been integrated into Picasa web albums and google image search. Try searching for images containing Shakespeare’s face. (because there’s some dispute) I was curious whether that would bring up different results than searching Google images using the terms Shakespeare face. See for yourself
So, it works pretty well, but let’s hope Google continues to try to hew the party line: “don’t be evil”. Combine facial recognition with the geotagging features and date added and you can follow people around the world via Picasa. If you don’t already use Google Latitude that is (which allows your “friends” to track your movements by using GPS enabled phones..lovely). It’s a brave new world in 1984 2009.
So for now, reCAPTCHA is cool and functional. We’ll see what happens.