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What actually happens when you click 'I'm not a robot' and it has left people shocked

What actually happens when you click 'I'm not a robot' and it has left people shocked

Clicking the 'I'm not a robot' option is a little more complex than you might think

We've done it countless times online when it comes to logging in or paying for something, but there is method to the madness when it comes to the 'I am not a robot' button we're forced to click.

But it might exist for a reason slightly different to what you're thinking.

There's a good few ways we're told to prove we aren't a sentient AI being set to take over the world, whether that is clicking the simple option to say you're not an android or selecting specific squares of a photo showing the likes of a bridge or motorbike.

They're all forms of something called CAPTCHA, which stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.

But the reason for the existence of the tool to catch our your I, Robot wannabes from humankind isn't that straightforward.

Are you a robot? Prove them wrong. (Getty Stock Images)
Are you a robot? Prove them wrong. (Getty Stock Images)

Legendary BBC panel show QI spoke about the reason for its existence back in a 2020 episode of the programme.

In the clip, Alan Davies, Maisie Adams, Holly Walsh and David Mitchell are told by host Sandi Toksvig that clicking the box lets whatever website you're on know a whole lot more than if you're made of metal or flesh.

What you're doing when you click the box is giving the website in question permission to check things such as your browsing history, the apps you've been on and the messages you might have sent.

Toksvig said: "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."

The artificial intelligence checker doesn't stop there either. If in doubt, it can throw a second test your way for very specific reasons.

The segment on QI. (BBC)
The segment on QI. (BBC)

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.”

So if you've ever had to do the annoying picture game, it's because the website you're trying to access doesn't think you're human enough.

Robot or person? (Getty Stock Images)
Robot or person? (Getty Stock Images)

The QI clip resurfaced online after Australian radio presenters Fitzy and Wippa posted to TikTok about the moment they learned its true meaning.

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

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.”

One viewer commented: “That feels illegal.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Topics: Weird, Technology, News, World News, Science, Artificial Intelligence, BBC, TikTok