Most of my work these days involves hours and hours being online. Many websites I interact with leave me feeling frustrated and resigned, or at the least feeling reduced to being a trained animal learning to jump through hoops for what I want from them. Even though you know the security measures are for necessary and good, it's still difficult not to get jaded and cynical about logins, passwords, verifications, and every other sort of prove-your-identity harassment.
I honestly never thought anything could so completely change my view of these annoying mundane activities until I watched this TED talk.
I've watched this more than once and have decided that Luis von Ahn's Duolingo project is possibly a path to peace in our global world. His wonderfully out-of-the-box creative programmer's mind shows how large quantities of normal thinking people doing simple everyday online things can make a tremendous difference.
What a wonderful, yet simple gift his work is to us. I smile now when I answer the CAPTCHA questions.
He is also a very entertaining man. The presentation makes me wish I could take some of his classes at Carnegie Mellon University.