If you've ever had to type words into a box to prove you're human and not a robot, you've come across the concept of 'captcha', a technique that attempts to use unique human skills to weed out robots from a process.
A variant of captcha, 'recaptcha', attempts to harness these skills in order to recognise characters in scanned documents. The typed in words are cross -checked across different people and the resulting right answer is used to fill in the blanks in a sort of human OCR device.
The bbc reports today on the phenomemon of gaming taking on a similar task, but what has interested me is a new project by the founders of recaptcha, a language learning site (still under wraps) called duolingo.
The aim of duolingo, it seems, is to teach people lanuguages while they themselves help translate documents into other languages.
I'm not entirely sure how this works, but the examples they've publicised on video look pretty convincing, so I can't wait to see duolingo launched.
You can sign up for beta testing at their site, duolingo.com