We thought about sharing an interesting story on Captcha and ReCaptcha. Thought we should share this on our blog too along with the video.
Captcha has been used for a long time now. So much that it has become the users Web Responsibility. However, Luis saw the bigger picture and he knew this time spent had to be utilized more intelligently (more human like), they came up with Re-Captcha, a startup that was later acquired by Google (obviously!).
The wealth, like always lay in the time spent in deciphering those captchas and typing them in. Seeing the opportunity, the idea came about at using the same technology to create something that would help do the impossible digitize books. The collaboration already exists, what was missed was essentially to get the same number of people to better utilize the same technology to do something more constructive. Call it massive online collaboration or whatever, ReCaptcha took the task of digitizing books using these 10 seconds of our time more constructively.
While a lot is explained in the video itself, I would take a few more lines to write down the advantages. This massive collaboration, possible only with the use of the Internet will have 750,000,000 people collaborate to help libraries digitize the books we have with us in the shortest possible time. The idea is simply to use real time, massive collaboration to create a digital library that would otherwise have taken a good number of years and cost a lot. Secondly, machines will never be better than humans and if you can get as much as 10% of the world population to the work for free, there’s nothing better.
In the video, Ahn also sheds light on DuoLingo, an instant multilingual startup.