Understanding the Commonly Used 'I'm Not a Robot' Test

This YouTuber breaks down the fascinating history behind CAPTCHA.
Donovan Alexander

You are probably very familiar with the "I'm Not A Robot" test found on websites across the web. You might even be a little annoyed with it.

Known as CAPTCHA tests, or Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, they have been around since the early days of the Internet. But besides the obvious, do you know why the tests exist in the first place? The always knowledgeable YouTuber Tom Scott answers your question in great detail in the video above. 

Without giving away too many spoilers, Scott breaks down the history behind CAPTCHA and how it has evolved over the years to today.  In fact, these tests have gotten harder over the years. The CAPTCHA test serves the simple purpose of keeping websites/companies free from any spam robots.

The story all starts with AltaVista. 

The 1995 search engine was looking for a way to keep themselves from receiving excessive spam from bots.  In short, they added a question on their submission form that only humans could answer.

Of course, bots got more and more "intelligent," which in turn led to the creation of more complex CAPTCHA tests. To get the full story, be sure to check out the video above.

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