Spammers Solving Difficult AI Problems With An Underground X Prize

from the fascinating dept

Slashdot points us to an interview with Luis von Ahn (who we're a big fan of), where he talks about how spammers who are frustrated by various types of CAPTCHA tests have set up their own sort of "innovation prize," offering up somewhere in the range of $500,000 for software that can automatically pass CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA reading tests (the things where you have to fill in a series of letters to sign up for a service or post a comment). As von Ahn points out: "If [the spammers] are really able to write a programme to read distorted text, great -- they have solved an AI problem." It is, effectively, an "X Prize" for optical character recognition. Not that we like to encourage spammers, but it is rather fascinating how the underground business seems to mirror the above ground innovation world as well.

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  1. identicon
    Adam, 22 Apr 2009 @ 8:53am

    We can *totally* trust them to give the award!

    No doubt these same honorable folks who manage botnets and such will be men and women of honor. In a worst case scenario, they'll offer one MILLION dollars in Free V1agra to the winner instead of cash :P

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