Where technology is anthropology.
Last week, a group of hackers sparked an Internet firestorm by claiming to have broken into an FBI agent’s laptop where they found more than 12 million numbers used to track Apple mobile devices.
The hackers released 1 million of the numbers online and said their findings demonstrated how the FBI was using citizens’ smartphone data to spy on them.
For years, online dating sites have promised that their almighty algorithms could turn strangers into soulmates.
But recent research suggests that their love-engineering is about as foolproof as flirting with random people at a bar, and a new breed of dating sites are using social networks, rather than science, to help singles find romance.
Online dating services such as theComplete.me and Circl.es are looping singles’ friends into the matchmaking process in an effort to connect people to each other’s acquaintances and keep suitors from weaving the kind of elaborate fictions that characterize many profiles on traditional dating sites.
“Facebook has created a shift from online dating to social dating,” said online dating expert Julie Spira. “Facebook technically could be the world’s largest dating site. And if you look at these new players, they’re taking advantage of the fact that they have this fabulous universe of people.”
If you’ve signed in to almost any website on the Internet, you’ve probably encountered a dastardly CAPTCHA. A CAPTCHA is a common security tool that asks you to type the words or letters you see in a box to prove you’re a human; those words or letters are usually swirled or mangled, difficult for a computer or bot to make out but hypothetically easy for a human to read.
A typical CAPTCHA.
I say “hypothetically easy” because these mangled-text CAPTCHAs can often be frustrating, even impossible, to decipher. (There’s a Tumblr dedicated solely to so-called “CAPTCHA Fails”.) So thank goodness a new company, Are You A Human, has come up with what seems a much more elegant solution: Instead of attempting to decipher some indecipherable text, you are asked to defeat a simple arcade game to prove that you are real.