An AI algorithm has managed to crack the CAPTCHA Turing Test

AI algorithm cracks CAPTCHA Turing test

Algorithms built by a start-up developing artificial intelligence software are able to solve modern CAPTCHAs.

Vicarious announced today that its AI achieves success rates up to 90 per cent on modern CAPTCHAs from Google, Yahoo, PayPal,, among others. The firm says a CAPTCHA scheme is considered broken if an algorithm is able to successfully pass the test at least 1 per cent of the time.

The team says their breakthrough means text-based CAPTCHAs are no longer an effective Turing test – a type of test proposed by renowned computer scientist Alan Turing to measure a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour indistinguishable from that of a human.

"Recent AI systems like IBM’s Watson and deep neural networks rely on brute force: connecting massive computing power to massive datasets,” said Vicarious co-founder D Scott Phoenix.

“This is the first time this distinctively human act of perception has been achieved, and it uses relatively minuscule amounts of data and computing power. The Vicarious algorithms achieve a level of effectiveness and efficiency much closer to actual human brains."

CAPTCHA is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. The challenge-response test presents the subject with a series of distorted letters or numbers, or both, and asks them to type the message into a text box.

The feat is the first public demonstration of the Vicarious’ Recursive Cortical Network technology, built on the firm’s work on machine learning and neuroscience, which they say will have broad implications for robotics, medical image analysis, image and video search, among other fields.

"Understanding how brain creates intelligence is the ultimate scientific challenge. Vicarious has a long term strategy for developing human level artificial intelligence, and it starts with building a brain-like vision system,” said Vicarious co-founder Dr Dileep George.

“Modern CAPTCHAs provide a snapshot of the challenges of visual perception, and solving those in a general way required us to understand how the brain does it."

"We should be careful not to underestimate the significance of Vicarious crossing this milestone," said Facebook co-founder and board member Dustin Moskovitz. "This is an exciting time for artificial intelligence research, and they are at the forefront of building the first truly intelligent machines."

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