Empathy Tests Come to the Internet

Picture: Flickr, Elizabeth/Table4Five (CC)

We know that the battle to prove one is human online is getting more difficult, sort of ‘reverse Turing Tests‘ as CAPTCHAs and Re-CAPTCHAs become more and more difficult to solve. And though both U.S. presidential candidates should have been required to take a Voight-Kampff test at the recent debate, our technology isn’t quite there yet. However, empathy (a major element of the fictional Blade Runner test to out androids) is being introduced to not only confuse SPAM bots on a new Civil Rights CAPTCHA, but possibly also calculating psychopaths, trolls and other despicable human(ish) beings.

Via Ryan Singel at WIRED’s Threat Level:

A human rights group is introducing a new take on CAPTCHAs, those little boxes that make you type in a word to prove you are human before you can comment or register for a site. Their version doesn’t just present a scrambled word to be deciphered, but instead forces a person to choose the right word to unscramble based on the proper emotional response to a human rights violation.

Civil Rights Defenders, the Swedish-based group that developed the tool, hopes the Civil Rights Captcha will help sites block spiders and bots, while letting humans in — and hopefully educating the humans at the same time.

Picture: Civil Rights Defenders

One hopes that being required to choose “Terrible” rather than “Fascinated” when asked how you feel about gay people being beaten will keep out the trolls — but that’s probably asking too much.

But perhaps forcing a troll to repeatedly choose an empathetic response will, over time, soothe the ravages of comment sections around the net. Okay, that might also be asking too much, but at the very least spreading information about human rights abuses certainly can’t hurt, even if the jerks of the internet (see, for example, YouTube comments) remain beyond help.

The group is debuting the tool just ahead of a planned gay and transgender march in Serbia on Saturday, which looks to have been cancelled by police due to threats by right-wing groups.

There’s a PHP library and an API, and the group is looking to expand the computer languages supported. As for what human languages are supported, so far it looks like only English and Swedish are available.

Voight Kampf Test

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  • InfvoCuernos

    And what about the sociopath?  These poor individuals will be left out in the cold with no empathy to guide them through the interweb.   I’m waiting to see the question ” If you are walking through the desert and find a tortoise laying on its back, what do you do?”
     

  • InfvoCuernos

    And what about the sociopath?  These poor individuals will be left out in the cold with no empathy to guide them through the interweb.   I’m waiting to see the question ” If you are walking through the desert and find a tortoise laying on its back, what do you do?”
     

    • Anarchy Pony

      A. Bury it alive
      B. Tip it over
      C. Eat it, because you are lost in the desert

    • Anarchy Pony

      A. Bury it alive
      B. Tip it over
      C. Eat it, because you are lost in the desert

      • InfvoCuernos

         Or I will also accept ” What is a tortoise?”

      • InfvoCuernos

         Or I will also accept ” What is a tortoise?”

        • Anarchy Pony

          A soup ingredient?

        • Anarchy Pony

          A soup ingredient?

      • Phillipede

        D. Ask it for directions, because you are obviously hallucinating.

      • Phillipede

        D. Ask it for directions, because you are obviously hallucinating.

        • Anarchy Pony

          If it responds to you in your father’s voice, pick it up and wear it as a hat that gives you directions, if in your mother’s voice, tap it three times and then fly home.

        • Anarchy Pony

          If it responds to you in your father’s voice, pick it up and wear it as a hat that gives you directions, if in your mother’s voice, tap it three times and then fly home.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Wasn’t there a comic about this from xkcd? 
    The rollover text was something to the effect of ” We would ask: ‘Did you cry at the end of the episode of futurama where Fry’s dog dies’ but even spambots cry at that.”

  • Anarchy Pony

    Wasn’t there a comic about this from xkcd? 
    The rollover text was something to the effect of ” We would ask: ‘Did you cry at the end of the episode of futurama where Fry’s dog dies’ but even spambots cry at that.”

  • alizardx

    Might be a problem with legal exposure for the orgs that use this on the basis of the US ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) – use of this captcha might be discriminatory against people with certain neurological problems who are not necessarily sociopaths.

  • alizardx

    Might be a problem with legal exposure for the orgs that use this on the basis of the US ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) – use of this captcha might be discriminatory against people with certain neurological problems who are not necessarily sociopaths.

  • Anomaly_of_Anomie

    Fascinated. 

    Because human beings understand the importance of independent thought, programmed emotional response is not the correct answer.  

  • Anomaly_of_Anomie

    Fascinated. 

    Because human beings understand the importance of independent thought, programmed emotional response is not the correct answer.  

  • Milord

    Only available in Swedish and English? Swedes are suicidal and Americans are homicidal. How could this test possibly work on both groups?

  • Milord

    Only available in Swedish and English? Swedes are suicidal and Americans are homicidal. How could this test possibly work on both groups?

  • http://www.zoboprepublic.wordpress.com/ zobop republic

    What if one is having a bad day?  Will that prevent me from making comments on sites?  Sounds “frustrating!”

    I suppose in the future, computers will ‘force’ us to smile in order to make comments.  Stranger things could happen.

  • http://www.zoboprepublic.wordpress.com/ zobop republic

    What if one is having a bad day?  Will that prevent me from making comments on sites?  Sounds “frustrating!”

    I suppose in the future, computers will ‘force’ us to smile in order to make comments.  Stranger things could happen.

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