# I'm not a robot?

Sometimes when I answer a question I'm asked to confirm that I'm not a robot. I'm pretty sure that I'm not, but why this question? Is there some special situation in which this question is posed? or is it casual?

And, more interesting, do there really exist robots that can answer which sound "human"? And, anyway, if such robots exist, why not recognize its ability (or the ability of the programmer) with some reputation?

• There's information about when CAPTCHAs appear on meta.SE: How often do CAPTCHAs appear?. Sep 20 '15 at 14:17
• "And, more interesting, do there really exist robots that can answer which sound "human"?"Well, I suppose there are robots that could type: "HINT: Use induction." on recognizing elementary-number-theory and a variable named $n$.
– quid Mod
Sep 20 '15 at 14:35
• @quid Bots can already do more. We're not yet here, but there's hope. Sep 20 '15 at 15:05
• This CAPTCHA may appear not only when you add a post but also when you use the search option.
– user272196
Sep 20 '15 at 15:49
• "I'm pretty sure that I'm not", that's just what a robot would tell us!!!
– Asaf Karagila Mod
Sep 20 '15 at 16:41
• Can robots understand the difference between robots and living beings?(Assuming that we know the difference!) In other words does a robot knows that he is a robot?This reminds me the theme of the movie The Thirteenth Floor where the robots (computer programs) living in a simulation don't know that they are robots and finally one of them finds out the truth that he is a robot designed by some designers in a Meta-world who are also robots designed by some other robots in a Meta-Meta-world and so on up to at least thirteen floors of creation!
– user272196
Sep 20 '15 at 21:49
• @EdwardO'Connor Thank you for mentioning this movie; I had the curiosity to watch it and I found it fantastic! :-)
– user260717
Sep 21 '15 at 14:14
• Technically you can type whole questions into wolfram alpha and it will answer them. The kicker is that you can actually view the steps in the solution process. I don't think it'd be hard to retrofit a CAS system to do this. Sep 22 '15 at 13:53
• A few weeks ago, someone messed with my mouse settings to make it extremely jumpy. I got the "are you human" test. Sep 22 '15 at 21:08
• wouldn't it be fun if MSE had a robot that comments on some questions (or can be somehow called by humans). Questions like "how do i solve this integral?" or and other things could benefit from it, and humans have more time for answering other questions. (or it could comment something like "what have you tried?" on short questions, etc.) Sep 23 '15 at 0:34
• @AsafKaragila: Did you see Impostor ? Sep 25 '15 at 12:47
• @Lucian: No, I did not. But I generally avoid PKD stories adaptations, since they usually... suck. There are some notable exceptions though (Blade Runner, A Scanner Darkly, The Adjustment Bureau).
– Asaf Karagila Mod
Sep 25 '15 at 13:02
• One things I noticed is that MSE really doesn't like when I search for stuff in Incognito Mode. I am not sure why though. Sep 25 '15 at 22:34
• @CameronWilliams All non-logged-in users are presented with captcha when they try to search, this is network-wide. Blame whoever decided to use search queries to DDOS the sites a few months back.
– user147263
Sep 25 '15 at 22:54
• @NormalHuman Wow I didn't know someone tried to DDOS SE via queries. That's kind of ridiculous. Sep 25 '15 at 23:05

I found that the main occurrences were when I pasted in something and attempted to save the thing, or the draft if i intended to put in more stuff. This could be a jpeg uploaded from my home computer. However, I also compose long answers in a home Latex file, then post here once I get it right. The point there is that MSE takes a long time, as it tries to render the whole image whenever we alter the Latex/mathjax, quicker and less annoying at home.

I found that when I begin by typing half a line of gibberish first ksahbaschg,yjgxygj,grgczfm it assumes I am a person. When things start to come together I then delete the gibberish, which has served its purpose.

• I hope I'm not the only one who thinks there's something ironic about having to type in complete garbage to prove that what you are not a spambot posting garbage.
– user88319
Sep 20 '15 at 21:48
• @Strants, good point. I have not tried yet, I suspect it would work if I initially typed in something that made sense, perhaps I'm A Human Being. Sep 22 '15 at 4:28
• For you, @WillJagy xkcd.com/329 Sep 24 '15 at 7:31

"Robot" here really means spambot. On many places on the internet where people can make accounts and post content, spambots often appear to post advertisements, links to shady websites, etc. The purpose of these robot checks is to prevent this, not to prevent a bot from attempting to write legitimate questions or answers.

If you've never experienced this before, then it means that anti-spam measures are doing their job!