Computer software that mimics how the human visual cortex works can solve text-based CAPTCHA challenges, the image recognition tasks often used by websites to differentiate human visitors from spam bots.
A paper describing the code was published on Thursday in the journal Science. A team from Vicarious – a California startup interested in developing artificial general intelligence for robots – developed the system, and called it a recursive cortical network (RCN). It can, we’re told, convert CAPTCHAs that are randomized letters of text into a correct input with a decent level of accuracy.
CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, and dates back 20 years to 1997. Distorted images of letters and numbers are confusing for machines to grok, but easy for humans to read.