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How Spamming Can Solve Some Of The World’s Problems

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A story on Slashdot entitled âLooking To Spammers To Solve Hard AI Problemsâ (https://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/04/19/024213/looking-to-spammers-to-solve-hard-ai-problems#) points to an article in the New Scientist (http://forums.xisto.com/no_longer_exists/) detailing how solving CAPTCHAs (those impossible to type word images) to spread SPAM can be a good thing. Although SPAM is a nuisance, the act of solving CAPTCHAs automatically is a tough artificial intelligence (AI) problem. Since the first appearance of CAPTCHAs, spammers have developed new and novel approaches to solving these image puzzles which in turn has helped the larger AI community. In fact, a current spammer bounty is for half a million dollars to break the reCAPTCHA (https://www.google.com/recaptcha/intro/index.html) system. This turns out to be all most five times as lucrative as the top AI academic prize called the Loebner Prize (http://www.loebner.net/Prizef/loebner-prize.html).


The next question that some CAPTCHA researchers are proposing is not how to beat the spammers but what technology do they need a boost in. By making a CAPTCHAs out of currently unreachable problems, spammers of the future will pave the way for better AI, digital cameras, and other beneficial technologies.

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