An interactive idea I wish I had thought of…..

6 02 2010

You have probably experienced this interactive media idea before on the Internet. Chances are good you used it while making a purchase online or signing up for membership to a particular electronic community. At times, this idea can take the form of a hard to read image. Any ideas what is being referenced?

The idea I wish I had devised is that of the CAPTCHA. CAPTCHA exampleQuickly becoming a trustworthy standard for online security since it’s invention by Carnegie Mellon University students in 2000, the premise behind this idea or tool was that a computer could not read a distorted image of various sequences of letters and numbers. Hence the image could only be understood and replicated by an actual human being typing in the exact sequence of letters and numbers as they appeared. In turn, this process became an easy way to ensure that computerized bots could not systematically overwhelm a website with faulty transactions.

In many ways, the idea behind this interactive tool is so simple. In essence, it hinged on how to trick a computer to such an extent that it had no way to respond by relying upon logic. As societies move towards greater reliance upon technology and electronic mediated communications, it is important to not lose sight of truly humanistic abilities. The CAPTCHA not only relies upon human’s ability to identify and respond to a stimulus but also how to accomplish Another CAPTCHA examplethis task with minimal effort. There is no special download required for a CAPTCHA to be used. There is no financial transaction needing to occur just to use a CAPTCHA. By relying upon simple human intelligence this single idea has allowed a new level of online security that necessitates actual human response. If I had been able to devise this concept and turn it into a working form, I could have been credited with helping to establish a new chapter in online security. The CAPTCHA serves as a good lesson demonstrating that some of the best ideas are the most simple.