San Francisco-based artificial intelligence startup Vicarious has announced that it has developed software algorithms which can solve CAPTCHAs up to 90 percent of the time. Though CAPTCHAs are any automated test which differentiates between humans and computers, they often take the form of strings of partly distorted letters and numbers which many websites use to check that a visitor is human, the idea being that a computer cannot read the disguised text while a human (hopefully) can. It's this type of CAPTCHA that Vicarious's algorithms are designed to beat, and the high success rate renders the current standard of text-based CAPTCHAs ineffective, the company claims.
The main purpose of a CAPTCHA, which stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, is to prevent automated software bots accessing web services where they might get up to all sorts of nuisance, such as signing up for spam accounts, or adding or editing information in a directory or wiki.
Vicarious isn't the first to develop CAPTCHA-beating algorithms, but the company claims that its system, which uses its Recursive Cortical Network technology, can beat current text-based CAPTCHAS up to 90 percent of the time, including those developed or used by Captcha.com, Google, Yahoo and Paypal, defeating their very purpose in the process.