Spam weapon helps preserve books

A weapon used to fight spammers is now helping university researchers preserve old books and manuscripts.Many websites use an automated test to tell computers and humans apart when signing up to an account or logging in.The test consists of typing in a few random letters in an image and is designed to fight spammers.Carnegie Mellon is using this test to help decipher words in books that machines cannot read by letting sites use them to authenticate log-ins.The test, known as a CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart), was originally designed at Carnegie Mellon to help to keep out automated programs known as “bots.”

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