A late night drive at the end of the weekend found myself listening to the Ted Radio Hour, Why We Collaborate. I was in the dead zone for my ipod, who's little gadget gets overwhelmed by too many signals for a couple of hours, when the metro area is dense. They often explore various "futurist" ideas and technology, a much better alternative to angry shouting in talk radio. It involved some interesting stuff and beat out listening to the same five hundred classic rock songs or the pair of girls who incessantly talk about their vaginas and kale on college radio. Which is shockingly the most boring radio show ever heard, this show is the equivalent of a doctoral thesis on why everyone shouldn't be a radio show host.
Well I named this blog because for whatever reason, I have a difficult time convincing Google I'm a not a Robot. The rest just combines my conceit that Gort is the coolest robot of all time and a joke borrowed from the old Rogues Gallery.
One of the segments of the Why We Collaborate episode involved Luis Von Ahn, who invented CAPTCHAs, those particular little tests which demand you prove you aren't a robot. Yet they aren't just a way to jerk you around and cut down on the spam. They're actually crowd sourcing. It's one of the few things that humans still do better than computers, pulling the patterns out of distorted or broken text. Tasks like discerning the text distorted in a scanned book. Those blurry google street level signs in current use as a Captcha? That is google using you to improve google street view, five seconds at a time, every time you feel the need to comment about someone's blog. I think arguing over the Big Ten expansion has likely clarified the addresses of six states by now.
So next time you find yourself frustrated as you try and order tickets or are commenting on someone's fine-ass map, keep in mind you've just made the world a slightly better place.
There you are. It's Monday, everyone needs a bit of optimism on Monday.