I was Hooked when You Said No

“- and a phone call from Bill Gates of Microsoft offering him a job, which he turned down.”

New Tech…

Harnessing human computation

Luis von Ahn helped save the internet from spammers. His larger quest is to put internet chores to productive use

ONLY a few weeks into graduate school and aged just 22, Luis von Ahn helped crack one of the thorniest problems bedevilling the web.
It was the year 2000 and free, web-based e-mail services were booming. But spammers were creating thousands of accounts automatically and using them to blast out messages.
When the accounts were shut down, they simply created new ones. At the same time, sites selling tickets to concerts and sporting events were being besieged by programs that bombarded them with orders, snapping up the best seats for resale at a higher price.
Websites needed a way to distinguish between human visitors and automated ones.

Mr von Ahn had just arrived at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh when he and his PhD adviser, Manuel Blum, came up with just such a method.
The solution had three requirements: it had to be a test that humans could pass easily and computers could not—but could use computers to determine whether the response was correct. The original idea was to show web users an image, for example of a cat or a roller coaster, and ask them to identify it. A correct answer would indicate that the entity at the other end of the internet connection was indeed human, granting access to the web-mail service or ticketing site.
But it turned out that people were not very good at identifying images reliably.

So the pair came up with another idea: displaying a distorted sequence of letters and asking people to read them and type them into a box. This proved to be a much more reliable test of whether a visitor to a website was human or not (something that is known, in computer-science terminology, as a Turing test, in honour of Alan Turing, a British computer scientist). The result was the CAPTCHA, which stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”. Yahoo and other web-mail providers implemented the system, and it immediately made life harder for spammers.

Mr von Ahn went on to get his doctorate—and a phone call from Bill Gates of Microsoft offering him a job, which he turned down.
He has since created a series of internet-based systems that bring many people together to perform useful work by dividing tasks into tiny pieces, often presented as a simple test or game, and aggregating the results. A decade ago Mr von Ahn called his approach “human computation” (the title of his thesis) and “games with a purpose”—precursors to the modern techniques of “crowdsourcing” and “gamification”.
Read Full Report:


Want Worldwide PEACE and Prosperity. We are the solution we have been searching for... Free People on Earth will solve our crisis and create an era of Creativity. Be Aware; Be Creative; Be Active; Be Free; and then Share it. LOVE & Wholeness AMOR y Paz

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Freedom-Expressed
10 comments on “I was Hooked when You Said No
  1. Chris Thomas says:

    Hey Ron, thx for sharing this interesting story. Are you also interested in sustainable gamification? If so, I would love to hear what you think about my blog post about it: http://gammagamification.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/sustainable-gamification/
    Have a great day & may the force be with you,


  2. RonMamita says:

    Happy greetings Chris,
    and thank you for being here!

    I was not aware of the “gamification” term until this report!
    I have been retired for some time now and have no knowledge of gamification to base a comment on.
    However, I always embraced the concept of interdisciplinary knowledge, and research.
    Indeed interdisciplinary approach to life and marrying art and engineering into a discipline has been removed far too long from education and must be re-integrated.
    The new paradigm will emerge with this meme (consider the “WHOLE” as in “WE ARE ONE”) Whole of Creation connected and interconnected…

    Congratulations on winning the trip to the IGIP conference in Russia!
    Please chat with me again when you wish to.
    I am looking forward to learning from you the reception you may get from fellow engineers as the global shift emerges with phenomena in alignment with nature (alternative healing, alternative energy, alternative “system of value” embracing life, abundance, art, spirit, freedom, self-governance, engineering, etc.).

    LOVE and Peace
    (The D.I.Y. Project)


    • Chris Thomas says:

      Hello RonMamita, you’re welcome, again. I think innovation is more and more about remixing existing things into new combinations, e.g. combining regenerative energy with an electric car or combining a contact lense with a camera and a display. So being innovative means being an interdisciplinary DJ who takes all the ingredients and implements a great idea.
      Thank you very much for your congratulations. I am also looking forward to meeting all these people at the conference. As you follow my blog, you will see when I post about new experiences and I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on my posts. How do you spend the time of retirement beside your blog?
      May the force be with you,
      P.S.: Glad I met you today!


  3. RonMamita says:

    When I am not blogging?

    I research to: Sharpen ability to perceive Nature’s Wisdom – embody and apply the concept that Everything is Connected in The Whole – develop Greater Perspective of our (People of Earth) story ~Summarizes my activities succinctly.

    I see my life as an experience that I am actively researching and sharing what I have found and experienced… each moment, whether I am cooking or stargazing through my telescope or meditating.

    I have found that when one deems a question is of great import the answer will be found, and in this sense the truth and the answers or solutions exist in nature and is revealed when we increase our awareness and perception. Perhaps the answer will come in a dream, or while bird watching, or in the shower or…

    The blog here reflects this and my story is interwoven here as well as the broader story. My efforts are to share experiences, Amplify Awareness and the Global Dialogue, a global shift in consciousness and transitioning out of the current institutional governance crisis.

    I talk to people and find some who are “plugged into the Matrix”; and others who are awake but chained in their own traditions, their “social conditioning”, beliefs and dogma; and then there are the few who are intentionally gaining more awareness as they exercise their freedom and creativity in alignment with the emerging new paradigm.
    This minority of People provide a “space” or “technology” that will act as a catalyst or emergency-lifebuoy as more turbulent events occur during the collapse of this failed global meme founded on: scarcity as value, debt as money, fractional reserve banking/lending/financing, hierarchical order, empire and hegemony dominance.

    The excitement of pursuing new inventions and methodologies nurturing the transition into a social experience and community that values: Nature as life, sovereignty for each individual, Abundance (Abundant Energy & Wealth for all), Diversity, Resiliency, and Global-Prosperity.


    • Chris Thomas says:

      You know it is always important to ask good questions and to know some directions you could go. This way, you will never get lost because you can always go somewhere with your thoughts. And, as you wrote it above, the answers will come some time. Only if you never ask and never wish for something, and never talk about your questions, wishes and answers, you are able to avoid getting your brain working. And if you do so, which is against human nature, your brain will begin to work for itself which can end in a psychosis. I want to try to explain you how I think a psychosis works:
      1) You experience something where you feel uncomfortable and you have some questions and doubts about it.
      2) Instead of asking a question verbally and talk to some people, you just shut up.
      3) Your brain begins working on solving the question.
      4) If your brain finds an answer, you will never tell anybody.
      5) Your brain does not get new input for solving the question so it begins to take the already found solutions as facts mixing it with the original observation which becomes more and more a grotesque travesty of the original observation.
      6) As you never talk about it, all the brain energy remains into you and begins to flood your reservoir.
      7) Some day, your energy reservoir will be full. Then two things can happen:
      a) The wall you built by not talking about your problem is taken down by the power of the collected energy and the power will hit someone. You have been silent and maybe a bit depressed for some time and in a sudden, you begin to shout and maybe even beat around you, telling bizarre things (as the final solution in your brain has nothing to do with reality anymore). You will go to psychatrie, take some drugs to get down, start your therapy and if you are a lucky guy, you will try to change your original problem: You will begin to talk about what is taking your brain activity at the moment.
      b) The wall you built by not talking about your problem is stronger than the energy in you and all the energy remains in you which means that no energy comes out anymore and you are locked in your brain and cannot move anymore. Then you take some drugs in psychatrie to take some of the stones on top of the wall away, start your therapy and if you are a lucky guy, you will try to change your original problem: You will begin to talk about what is taking your brain activity at the moment.

      Well, I don’t know why exactly but I wanted to share this thing with you… I like your attitude very much! I read a great book some time ago which was called “Stop to work! A call to do really meaningful activities”. I think it is only available in German now. But maybe I will write about it on my blog some day.

      Great to share our experiences, thank you very much!

      May the force be with you,


  4. […] business and enterprise modeling scene. A month ago I read a magazine report [see: I was Hooked when You Said No] about Luis von Ahn, Human Computation specialist, and his joint project with Carnegie Mellon […]


Please Contribute a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 395 other subscribers
The Worldwide Awakening
Peaceful Awareness & Knowledge Based TransitionSeptember 11, 2017
Exercise freedom and creativity for all Earth’s inhabitants to explore ready breakthroughs in Self Organizing Communities, economics, and technology. This is a D.I.Y. project
State Sponsored Terror
The Big Day ReportMarch 30, 2018
Institutions of crime Big days have come, gone, and come again (Manipulations: Market Exchanges crash, wars, government Elections, and Taxation). Search for what is hidden and for what is not spoken. What secrets are hidden in Antarctica? Be Aware of the next big Day for fraudulent institutions.
Peace Today

Peace Today

RonMamita’s Blog
July 2013
All posts here
Audio coming soon!
%d bloggers like this: