Friday, July 10, 2009

I Don't Believe it! There She Goes Again!

Earlier this week Aaron and I were watching a recorded episode of NOVA scienceNow (like 60 Minutes, but nerdy) and saw a segment featuring Luis von Ahn.

Now, if you don't know who Luis von Ahn is, he's a hot piece of nerd ass who developed Captcha - that highly obnoxious word verification bazilliony bloggers (present company included) use for to make sure their commenters are people, not computers.

But, you see, Luis (yes, we're on a first-name-basis, thanks) felt guilty (my words, not his) for the bazilliony of people using up time to put passwords into Captcha. And, couldn't they be doing more to push forward humanity? Couldn't something better come from all that time?

So, Luis developed reCaptcha (you know, with all this dropping of the "er" and replacing with the "aahhhh" sound, homeboy has to have a blog somewhere) - a system where instead of using one word verification, you use two.

Why two?

Because he's trying to fix old books that are being scanned and the computers can't figure out what the fuck the old books say, due to the age and inconsistencies of the old printing. So one word is the word verification to prove you are human, the second word is because they figure, hey - if you blog commenter can figure out one word, surely the second word would be correct. So you, dear blog commenter, are working for Luis von Ahn and his secret plot to make old books available to humanity.

Can you hear the Mwahahahahahaha from his office in New York?

Of course, and here's where it plays in that I'm a horribly obnoxious person, my first thought was - you mean? Only one word is the verification? So I can but in goddamnmotherfucker as one word and if it hits the jackpot then that is going to get uploaded into a 200 year old book? Seriously?

And can you see me hang my head in shame from here? Smartassery is not always a good trait to have, internets.

(You can view the video here; NOVA scienceNow is a mean bitch who doesn't allow embedding.)


amy h said...

That's great! I had an internship in college where we were supposed to be scanning old books into text recognition software, and it never, ever worked (this was 13 years ago). So I ended up being a transcriber instead. I guess it improved my typing skills. :)

Melissa said...

One person to do both word transcriptions? That is completely asinine! For a while in college I worked doing data entry for the IRS and the way they had it set up was the same way, but a check was in place to make sure the same person never got a form twice. So you'd type in all this stuff from the scanned image, and once another employee had independently entered the exact same data, it was considered accurate. If the two versions were different, the form would go back into the queue.

WTF. This is basic process control design failure. You go and go with that goddamnmuthafucka stuff. Teach these fools a lesson.

LaurenSmash said...

this is one of the most awesome things I have ever heard. :D