Our Captcha has become world news

Civil Rights Captcha with text about torture in detention
In the beginning of October 2012, Civil Rights Defenders launched an upgraded version of the web tool CAPTCHA – which can detect human empathy. The Captcha has become world news, with more than 300 published articles and thousands of tweets.

A CAPTCHA normally requires the user to decode a distorted image that appears on the screen, and type in the letters or digits they believe are hidden in the image. But what primarily separates humans from robots is not the ability to decode words.

“Ironically, we are asked by computers to prove our humanity by interpreting and decoding words. But what really tells us apart is our ability to express emotions. Therefore, we’ve built a CAPTCHA that lets us prove our humanity by showing empathy, while simultaneously highlighting injustice in the world”, says Natasha Jevtic Esbjörnson, Head of Communications at Civil Rights Defenders.

The reactions to Civil Rights Defenders CAPTCHA have been strong, both positive and negative. A lot of people have contacted the organisation, wanting to help translate the CAPTCHA to other languages. Others love the idea of using the CAPTCHA as a channel to inform about human rights. The critics have primarily questioned Civil Rights Defenders’ right to judge wheather an emotion is “right” or “wrong”.

“So far, there has been concerns regarding the wording – is there such a thing as right or wrong emotions, for instance. We understand that it is controversial to talk in terms of right and wrong emotions. However, the issues we raise in the CAPTCHA are not opinions of ours, but documented violations of the International Bill of Human Rights. Everybody may not agree with these, but we and most nations do”, says Natasha Jevtic Esbjörnson.

How Civil Rights Defenders’ CAPTCHA works
Instead of visually decoding an image of distorted letters, the user has to take a stand regarding facts about human rights. The CAPTCHA generates random words from a database, which vary depending on whether the described situation is positively or negatively charged. These words describe both positive and negative emotions. The user selects the word that best matches how they feel about the situation, and writes the word in the CAPTCHA. Only one answer is correct, the answer showing compassion and empathy.

Download the CAPTCHA.

Q & A about the CAPTCHA

Categories: News.
Tags: Belgrade Pride and CAPTCHA.
Regions: Serbia and Sweden.
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