Friday, 27 April 2012
This is the unpronounceable and unspellable name for the unreadable device composed of weird letters and numbers that pops up when you want to subscribe to something on the Internet. All squidgy and interlaced these images are intended to prevent machines from imitating people and receiving emails. They appear in a little box and you have to copy them accurately. It seems only humans can do this. The problem is that I can't. I try and fail repeatedly as they give me ever easier versions (or, sometimes, more difficult ones) until a backward monkey on a bad day could do it. Clearly this is very worrying in two ways: I cannot always access my Facebook page and get an apologetic message which shows they DO know who I am in fact. But more disquieting still is what it says about me. Am I somewhere suspended in a cyberspace chain of evolution, neither human nor machine? Am I a kind of missing link between homo sapiens and a robot?