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People stunned after realising what clicking ‘I am not a robot’ actually does

People stunned after realising what clicking ‘I am not a robot’ actually does

The findings are more complex than you'd think

Ever wondered what a click on ‘I am not a robot’ actually does? Then you’re in luck, but judging by the internet’s response, you may not be too impressed.

A clip from a 2020 episode of QI discussing the function known as CAPTCHA, which stands for ‘Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart’, has resurfaced online after Australian radio presenters Fitzy and Wippa took to TikTok to explain it.

QI discussing what 'I am a robot' means.
BBC

In the unearthed BBC episode, Sandi Toksvig tells guests Alan Davies, David Mitchell, Maisie Adams and Holly Walsh that clicking the box lets the site check things like your internet browsing history to determine whether you're a real person or not.

Toksvig told the panel: “Ticking the box is not the point. It's how you behaved before you ticked the box that is analysed.

“So, to be honest, I can’t tell you all the details because they keep it secret because they don’t want people trying to cheat the test, but broadly speaking, you tick the box and it prompts the website to check your browsing history.

“So let us say, for example, before you tick the box you watched a couple of cat videos and you liked a tweet about Greta Thunberg, you checked your Gmail account before you got down to work – all of that makes them think that you must be a human.”

Toksvig went on to explain that the little gizmo had a few other tricks up their sleeve to tell if someone was human or a robot, and even a second test to throw at someone to make doubly sure.

She said: “Checking the box can even spur it to analyse the way in which you moved your mouse across screen. It's slightly spooky, I think.

“Essentially, when you are clicking [the] ‘I am not a robot’ box, you are instructing the site to have a look at your data and decide for itself. If the machine is not sure, that’s when it directs you to click on lightroom pictures of fire hydrants that aren’t there.”

And titbit didn’t just leave the QI panel stunned but also Aussie broadcasters Fitzy and Wippa, who were left visibly baffled.



Fitzy said: “Let me get this right, when you click I am not a robot, it can go through your history.”

To which Wippa added: “Yeah you're telling it it's okay ‘go and have a look at what I've been looking at’ - I had no idea.”

The presenters weren't the only ones in shock, as many commented under the TikTok post sharing their concern about what ‘I'm not a robot’ really means.

One penned: “feels like an invasion of privacy” while another commented that they “don't want to believe this”.

A third added: “That feels illegal.”

However others were quick to refute the claims, with another commenting: “Nope. Before you tick the box, check your mouse movement. Script, AI and robots are predictable versus human movement.”

“I thought it was your mouse movement to be honest,” a social media added.

Featured Image Credit: Google/Sergey Shavin / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: News, Technology, TikTok