Human or Robot?

Friday, April 15 2011

It was my what, tenth time? Logging into TurboTax and doing some taxes was practically an automatic habit by now. This time though - this time I got past the step where everything is going to be OK and I’ve happily given TurboTax their preparation services dollars.

Then they ask me if I am a human.

It’s a question that’d normally trigger a rapid lung emptying sound meant to convey a mixture of incredulity and mocking.

Not this time. This time I was worried. After slogging away through countless menus and double checking countless and ridiculous answers to ridiculous questions, this question wasn’t so ridiculous any more. Was I still human?

They wanted to know if the oil splotches and polka dots on my screen were letters and/or numbers. What a peculiar test. If I cannot recognize them and don’t mind, am I a robot? If I cannot recognize them and panic, and I a human?

What if I cannot recognize them, don’t mind, take a wild stab and succeed?

Would a robot feel as proud as I do for passing the test?