Archive for November 5th, 2010

November 5, 2010

Problem of Other Minds

Is There Anybody Out There

The problem of other minds is an epistemological challenge raised by skeptics. It is often expressed as follows: given that I can only observe the behavior of others, how can I know that others have minds? The thought behind the question is that no matter how sophisticated someone’s behavior is, behavior on its own is not sufficient to guarantee the presence of mentality. It remains possible, for example, that other people are actually nothing more than meaty automata (or ‘Philosophical zombies’).

Bertrand Russel argued to the contrary that the idea was a logical fallacy, specifically, argument from analogy: ‘where we take two things which are similar in some observed ways and infer from this similarity that they are similar in other unobserved ways. If the observed similarity is not relevant to the posited unobserved similarity then this is a form of fallacy.’

November 5, 2010

Human Solvers

free porn

To get around captchas spammers hire companies employing human solvers in Bangladesh, China and India at about $0.80 to $1.20 for each 1,000 solved captchas. Another approach involves copying the captcha images and using them on another site, often one offering free pornography in exchange for filling out a captcha.

With enough traffic, the attacker can get the solutions in time to relay it back to the target site. These methods have been used by spammers to set up thousands of accounts on free email services such as Gmail and Yahoo!. Since Gmail and Yahoo! are unlikely to be blacklisted by anti-spam systems, spam sent through these compromised accounts is less likely to be blocked.

November 5, 2010


A CAPTCHA is a program that protects websites against bots (applications that run automated tasks over the Internet) by generating and grading tests that humans can pass but current computer programs cannot. For example, humans can read distorted text but current computer programs can’t.

CAPTCHA is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart). A Turing test, named for British mathematician Alan Turing, is a test of a machine’s ability to demonstrate intelligence. A Captcha is sometimes described as a reverse Turing test, because it is administered by a machine and targeted to a human and not vice versa.