Another Positive Use for the Computer to Human Interface

In a recent post,, I mentioned the power that can be gleaned from combining massive computer power and the pattern recognition capabilities of 3 million years of evolution on the human brain/eye system.

Now another use has just surfaced…

Many web-using people will be used to filling in forms with the deciphering of some partially obscurred text as part of the process.  A common one is called “Captcha“.

This same technique is being combined with a burgeoning project to digitize many old and new printed works.  This project uses OCR software to scan and digitize the books – but it makes mistakes.

These mistakes are farmed out by the reCAPTCHA service so that people’s eyes are used to fix the mistakes.

It’s a statistical compounding process so like SETI and the galaxy zoo project, multiple similar answers mount up to prove the “correctness” of the required answer.

It’s absolutely fantastic and a really positive use of computers in the service of mankind.

By Strangely

Founding member of the band Crawling Chaos from the North-East of England