reCaptcha, Duolingo and their founder, Luis von Ahn

TEDTalks chat with Luis von Ahn sheds light on web CAPTCHA code

When you purchase an item online, say through Ticketmaster or sign up for a new GMail account, you are required to type a series of words or erroneous characters to verify you are human. This is a security measure against computer inputs and spammers.

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But did you know the word scramble is an effort to digitize books? Luis von Ahn is one of the founders of reCaptcha, working to do just this for Google Books and the New York Times archives. ‘As of 2012, thirty years of The New York Times had been digitized and the project planned to have completed the remaining years by the end of 2013.’ Google now owns reCaptcha.

von Ahn’s next project Duolingo helps you learn new foreign languages while translating the web.

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