I want to scream every time I have to fill in one of those little boxes that requires you to copy the same letters that appear above it. It’s not that I am lazy, it’s just that there are many times I don’t get the letters correctly.
I find myself muttering “Funny, that looked like “a ‘W’.” There are times when I get so frustrated with those little boxes that I just abandon the sites that use them. I never quite understood the true purpose of the little boxes even though techies told me they were for security.
A well-known TED Talk features the creator of the little boxes, Luis von Ahn. He calls them Captcha. You really should watch the video below because it explains why the boxes were created and the truly valuable purpose they serve.
A quick explanation is that Captcha helps the site owner decipher if a computer with a possible virus was trying to enter the site versus a human.
The term CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart. It was coined in 2000 by Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Nicholas Hopper and John Langford of Carnegie Mellon University.