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I was logging into an account today and was presented with a CAPTCHA that struck me as quite odd.  Normally, the CAPTCHA images are as clear as ever. However, look at these images below:

Are Robots getting better at image recognition 1

The sample image of the car at the top right is fairly clear, yet the selection choices are so highly pixelated as to make me check my screen resolution and my eyeglass prescription.

It should be noted that the site I was accessing belongs to an “internet giant” that has deep insight into artificial intelligence and machine learning.

I checked another site, which is not run by an internet giant, and although the images are provided by another giant in the internet realm, remarkably the images are very clear:

Are robots getting better at image recognition motocycles and cross walks

Is it possible that the internet robots are not only becoming more adept at checking the button that says “I am not a Robot” but that they are also now able to pick out the images on the CAPTCHA that follows?

When you take a moment to think about CAPTCHA images, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that this is possible. A computer is capable of reading the text on the screen, including reading it aloud for you. Is it beyond the realm of reason that if the computer recognizes the word “crosswalk,” the next instruction would be to search the page for all hash marks and select those images? Or perhaps if the word “car” is recognized, the computer can also select all images with wheels and glass?

One of the problems with the CAPTCHAs is that the images must be recognizable to a broad population.  Have you ever noticed that most of the CAPTCHAs are quite repetitive? For example, how often are the images those of Crosswalks, Staircases, Motorcycles or Cars?

Creating these globally recognizable image collections is not as easy as one would think.

Consider the following CAPTCHA images:Are robots getting better at image recognition capacitors and crosswalksAs you can see, it is very easy to slip into an area where very few folks will recognize the image that is requested.

Since we are working with a limited set of images, it is probably very easy to program a machine to recognize the unique characteristics of each object.

While this is merely speculative at this point, one has to wonder . . .

re robots getting better at image recognition 6

What has been your experience with this?  Have you been presented with CAPTCHA images that are out of focus, pixelated or nearly impossible to see?

I would love to know.


Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.