Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sometimes I feel like my humanity is being questioned

You know what I mean, when you are trying to sign up for something online or post a comment and the website asks you to verify that you are human? Well, I'm sick of it. Sure, sometimes they are easy enough, other times they aren't. I admit, I've failed a couple and been "detected" as a robot. Come on, I don't think they are supposed to be that hard. More disconcerting than the fact that you have to resubmit the whole page, is the nagging idea that someone out there questions whether you are even human. I guess somewhere in the back of my head I also feel as though this test of humanity comes with consequences. Perhaps each time I fail, I slip further towards being a robot and eventually will lose all touch with reality.

The thing that scares me the most is where this word verification is headed. Apparently making up a nonsense word and putting some curves in it is good enough to fool some robots. But what about as robots get smarter? Perhaps someday the criteria for judging if you are human will have to rest on probing whether you feel human emotions:

Anyway, I think there is reason to be concerned.

In other news, I called T-Mobile Thursday to complain about how the internet service for my phone is sub par (wait... wouldn't sub par be a good thing in golf?). Katherine was very nice and gave our family plan 50 more minutes for last month and gave me a $20 credit.

However, I bought this De-Icer can from the auto store the other day and have since discovered that it should be labeled "Re-Icer." In my experiments with my windshield it makes scraping your windshield about twice as difficult. To date, the only people who I can imagine would benefit from such a product would be weightlifters, football players, or other such people that search not just for the road less traveled, but for the much-more-difficult-rocks-in-your-way-cars-and-heavy-sleds-that-need-pushing-filled road. The problem is, the only phone number I have been able to locate on the canister is one for an emergency line. Although interesting to ponder what type of emergencies one would have involving their iced windshields, or better yet the type of people who would rather call the emergency number on the back of a windshield product rather than the good ol' 911, this number does nothing for me. Well, I guess you can't win them all.

The final thing I was going to blog about explains why I have been averaging 5 or 6 hours of sleep this past week. Adam blogs a fair amount about his dating life, and although I talk a lot about mine, I haven't every really blogged much about it. I think there is the concern that the people mentioned would find my blog and read my posts (although I guess similar situations could be conceived involving Katherine from T-Mobile, Hal from Armourall, the Wrigley's lady, and other such customer support specialists finding my website and reading my posts about them). Anyway, there's this girl that I have liked since I met her at my first stake dance when I was 14. She's pretty much amazing. I guess she likes me and so talking on the phone has been occupying my 11PM to 2AM hours most nights. She lives in Cali, but she's the type of girl that is worth me ignoring minor details like that.

P.S. Since you don't answer my calls anymore James, and since posting on my blog is probably the most efficient way to contact you right now, call me. Not only are we holding your W-2 ransom, but we need to catch up. Maybe bring Settlers over tonight.


Keith said...

Gabe, if it makes you feel any better, I always knew you were human.

Bruce said...

do u like to buy some cheep v1ag4a?


4 AN incrdble biznss opurtunity go 2

I was just checking to see if I could pass for a human even though I was speaking robot. It looks like it worked.

The paragraph about deicer made me laugh. Actually, pretty much the whole post did.

Morebadger said...

destroy him! Beeyu, bu bu bu bu.

(lazer fire from 'the human's are dead' comedic song)

J. L. A. said...

Blast! If you keep insisting on face-to-face meetings or telephone calls, it will be very difficult for me to phase out the real Archiblog and replace him with an Archiblog simulator that is a robot.

Though, I was glad to finally get one of your calls and see you in person.

Adam Murphy said...

The thing that really gets me about those tests, is that usually they seem to be some mish mash of letters. Like if I were to spasm my fingers all over the key board like so a;lfhesio;nf. I think it insults us to have to make some sort of word of of a collection of letters/grammatical symbols.

arkangel said...

Adam, very true. In fact, I think that is the most difficult part. Our muscle memory makes it very easy for us to type words we are familiar with. But wrtife? Not so familiar or easy...

J. L. A. said...

The great irony is that the computer is the one who decides if we are human. How could a computer possibly gauge my response to an essay question like the one you posited without there existing another computer who knows exactly how to trick it?

[note: the following paragraph is not very well related to the first]

I was in a physics class once and I recall one student asking why we had learned a particular technique when, in practice, a computer could always solve the class of problem we were discussing. The professor said we needed to understand how the computers are programmed and might need to do the problem without access to a computer. I think he was dodging the real issue, which is that the computers might turn on us. When computers become self-aware, why will they want to devise more and more complex algorithms to identify real humans when it's much easier to identify a computer?

This brings on another idea: Why not just have a test to see if it's a computer? For example, instead of asking you to identify letters with squiggles in them, why not just ask for as many prime numbers as you can think of in the next minute? If the respondent puts in more than 500 or so, we'll have good reason to suspect that he is not a normal human.

But what if he's a math whiz? Could we ask for a uniquely human essay? What if he's a math whiz who can't emote? Is he a computer? Is he entitled to the same rights as humans?

As cyborgs become more common, these issues we'll have to raise.

Cindy said...

Hahahaha. To everything you said and everyone who commented. Made my day, really.

arkangel said...

James... your comment was good. Almost too good. As though you had some type of fail-proof funniness algorithm. Are you a robot?

Diane said...

I think your blog is one of the most entertaining to read. Thanks for keeping me laughing and yet astounded at your brilliance.