It’s not the first time that computer scientists have managed to fool this method of separating man from machine. But Vicarious says its technique is more reliable and more useful than others because it doesn’t require mountains of training data for it to recognize letters and numbers consistently. Nor does it take a lot of computing power. Vicarious does it with a visual perception system that can mimic the brain’s ability to process visual information and recognize objects.
The purposes go well beyond Captchas: Vicarious hopes to eventually sell systems that can easily extract text and numbers from images (such as in Google’s Street View maps), diagnose diseases by checking out medical images, or let you know how many calories you’re about to eat by looking at your lunch. “Anything people do with their eyes right now is something we aim to be able to automate,” says cofounder D. Scott Phoenix.