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      Which nation would that be? (Not even gonna start on how offensive the slavery comparison is; nobody is making you use a computer, much less solve captchas)

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        nobody is making you use a computer

        Well, short of having enough inheritance not to need to work, or an off-grid subsistence farm, I pretty much do have to use one. Most jobs are advertised only online, and many take applications only online. The last two public-sector jobs I’ve had have both required that I use the web-based application system, and the last one had a captcha for account creation, too!

        That’s one reason there’s an increasing push in many western countries for libraries to provide both computer access and training, because if you have no computer you’re increasingly shut out of most economic opportunities. I do think this should be coupled with more careful thinking about the role various private-sector actors have in controlling access to those opportunities (e.g. needing to solve a Google captcha to apply for a UK university job definitely raised an eyebrow for me).

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      The talk from Black Hat that got those results is also quite good. In addition to experimenting with the google.com cookie, they also compare the cost-performance of breaking the actual challenge with crowdsourcing it.