Captcha cha cha

I believe it’s the little things that drive you crazy.

You might thinks this is petty, or all out of proportion, but I’m irritated by having to type in squiggly, mashed-up, nonsense words for no real reason as far as I can tell. I recently found out the name for this nonsense, captcha, and I think it’s accurately named. It captures your time, patience and happiness. Also, it sounds a lot like gotcha, and it does.

I mean, who are they trying to fool with this little hoop-jump? The visually impaired, the dyslexic, extremely lazy people, bad typers?

I know there’s probably a good reason for the squiggle test, and it’s probably something I should just take on faith, but some web hosts have pushed me too far.

The thing that tipped me over the edge was the stupid justification given for demanding the magic letters: Please Prove You’re Not A Robot.

Asking me to prove I’m not a robot is bizarre, audacious and just silly, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve always just assumed that other people would take my word about my status as a human. Now my very species, my basic make-up is being questioned almost daily just so I can post a dumb comment somewhere.

Also, what’s wrong with being a robot? Are robots evil? I admit I hadn’t thought much about robots invading cyberspace, but now, thanks to the powers that make me type in code words, robots have been thrust into my mind.

There are so many absurdities about my having to prove that I’m not a robot, I hardly know where to start.

First of all, is this a valid test? What if robots can type in the letters? How hard can it be to program a robot to recognize the alphabet, operate a keyboard and lie about being a robot? Doesn’t this point alone invalidate the robot rational? I mean, wouldn’t a certificate of live birth be better proof of being human than the deal they’ve rigged up?

Also, do robots know they’re robots? Wouldn’t it be better to just let them think they’re people? Wouldn’t robot programmers think of this one?

Naturally, this led me to wondering how many “people” are actually robots who have been programmed to believe they’re human. And the more I think about the people I encounter daily in the search for intelligent life, the more possible it seems that I live in a world thick with robots.

So now I have robot paranoia. I don’t know who to trust. And how can you test to see if someone is a robot? I don’t even know anymore if I’m human or robot myself or how I can find out. At least if I am a robot, I’m one of the smart ones who can accurately type in letters.

Whatever I am, I do know I’m a writer. And as a writer, I relish feedback from readers, and I don’t much care if they’re people, robots, aliens, or large appliances, as long as they can post an intelligent comment. So I don’t appreciate any obstacles being put in the way of that feedback.

But I have to admit I’m actually glad the robot issue was raised, because I was totally unaware of the robot threat until now. As if vampires, wolfmen, zombies, shape shifters, criminals, terrorists, demons, and psychos weren’t enough to worry about, now I may have robots trying to kill me too.

My fear is that it is already too late and the robot revolution may have already happened, silently and unnoticed. I guess it was inevitable that robots would emerge victorious over humans. They’re smarter, tougher and they never sleep.

But the robot test needs some rigor. Wouldn’t you like to know if you’re dealing with a human or a robot? Here’s my test:

What’s 57 times 34? If you did this immediately in your head, you’re a robot. If you couldn’t do it in your head immediately, you’re human.

Who is the president of Chechnya? If you don’t know, you’re human.

Can you sing the song listing the ingredients of a Big Mac? If you can, you’re human.

Do you ever have trouble remembering the date, day of the week, your phone number? You’re human.

Do you read the terms and conditions? Yes, robot. No, human.

If you’ve ever played the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes or bought a lottery ticket, or left some of your money in a slot machine, you’re human.

If you know the value of pi to more than four digits, you’re either a robot or an incredible nerd.

If you own a snuggie, you’re not only human, the fashion police have a warrant out for your arrest.

If you’re smarter than your smart phone, you could be a robot.

Finally, if, like me, you hate having to type in captchas, you’re definitely one hundred percent human.

We desperately need more tests to be able to tell the difference between robots and humans. What’s yours? Post it in the comment section. Unless you’re a robot.


9 responses to “Captcha cha cha

  1. The only conclusive test I can think of is doing what Arnie did in Terminator 2 – pulling the skin off your arm. But if you’re not a robot I’d imagine that would be quite painful. And fatal in my case since I’m a haemophiliac. A better strategy might be to get yourself X-rayed, but if you are a robot that might screw up your programming.

    Dammit, now I’m severely tempted to march into the X-ray department of my local hospital and demand they prove I’m human! They have… better… things… to do. Must… resist…

  2. Dear Ron,

    I severely dislike Captchas and I ‘m glad you penned you protest piece.

    Having to enter them when I comment in someone’s Blogger blog site is infuriating.

    As to proving I’m not a robot; I can’t. I am a robot. Go figure.



  3. I, like you, find these things so aggravating. Mostly because they are nonsense words and I usually have to go through eight or nine before I can even make a good guess as to what the stupid letters are. Therefore, I have virtually given up on commenting on blogspot. I don’t like the way it leaves my blood boiling.

  4. The commenting on Blogspot travail is something I attempt as a courtesy to my friends I do cringe when I realize I’m in that arena. Made the switch from Blogspot to WordPress a few months ago and am ecstatic still.



    • Thanks for your comments Doug. I almost didn’t post this because I thought it might be too silly. But apparently I’m not the only one who thinks captchas are obnoxious. I also have the philosophy that I write what I feel, and if it doesn’t get read, that’s OK. I still had the fun of creating and venting and if it does get some readers, that’s just a nice bonus. I feel lucky to have gotten started with WordPress because I had no idea at the time about what I was doing. Often, I still don’t Look forward to reading more of your writing. Ron

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