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Breaking CAPTCHA Using Machine Learning in 0.05 Seconds

#artificialintelligence

Everyone despises CAPTCHAs (humans, since bots do not have emotions) -- Those annoying images containing hard to read the text, which you have to type in before you can access or do "something" online. CAPTCHAs (Completely Automated Public Turing tests to tell Computers and Humans Apart) were developed to prevent automatized programs from being mischievous (filling out online forms, accessing restricted files, accessing a website an incredible amount of times, and others) on the world wide web, by verifying that the end-user is "human" and not a bot. Nevertheless, several attacks on CAPTCHAs have been proposed in the past, but none has been as accurate and fast as the machine learning algorithm presented by a group of researchers from Lancaster University, Northwest University, and Peking University showed below. One of the first known people to break CAPTCHAs was Adrian Rosebrock, who, in his book "Deep Learning for Computer Vision with Python," [4] Adrian goes through how he bypassed the CAPTCHA systems on the E-ZPass New York website using machine learning, where he used deep learning to train his model by downloading a large image dataset of CAPTCHA examples in order to break the CAPTCHA systems. The main difference between Adrian's solution and the solution from the research scientists from Lancaster, Northwest, and Peking, is that the researchers did not need to download a large dataset of images to break the CAPTCHAs system, au contraire, they used the concept of a generative adversarial network (GAN) to create synthesized CAPTCHAs, along with a small dataset of real CAPTCHAs to create an extremely fast and accurate CAPTCHA solver.


Bot Mafias Have Wreaked Havoc in 'World of Warcraft Classic'

WIRED

Bots are terrorizing World of Warcraft Classic servers, stealing precious resources, monopolizing rare monsters, and inflating the virtual economy with truckloads of illicitly earned gold. Today, WoW Classic developer Blizzard Entertainment announced it has suspended or closed over 74,000 WoW Classic accounts over the last month, many of which were automating gameplay with bots. For months, clusters of bot-driven accounts have trawled around high-level zones, attacking monsters with uncanny precision before rotating toward their next target in robotic 90-degree angles. These in-game characters are operated by scripts, programmed to optimally kill monsters and obtain rare, valuable items that drop from them. Lately, they've been targeting the sought-after Black Lotus, a necessary item for some competitive, high-level play.


It's hard to make real money selling virtual goods

Engadget

There's plenty of news right now about how people are trying to make real money through video games, and not just by trying to get a taste of that Ninja game-streaming fortune. Most recently, people are selling items for hard cash inside the new Animal Crossing: New Horizons. As the coronavirus takes a hammer to the economy and a number of people are at risk of penury, selling goods inside the game seems like a good idea. But while there's plenty of hype about the potential for virtual economies to thrive as the real-world ones collapse, the truth is a little different. If you're unfamiliar, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a sim game for the Nintendo Switch in which you build a life for yourself in a community of adorable, anthropomorphic animals.


'I care about Blizzard but the Hong Kong situation is dire': the gaming convention rocked by protest

The Guardian

Eric did not imagine this would be how he would spend his first BlizzCon. The 26-year-old World of Warcraft (WoW) player from Glendale, California, was at the annual fan event in Anaheim held by Blizzard, the games company behind global hits such as Warcraft, Overwatch and more. Each year, more than 35,000 people pack into the city's vast convention centre to play games, attend talks and share in their fandom. But at this year's event, held last weekend, there was a different feel. Instead of WoW cosplay, Eric was sporting a mask as worn by Hong Kong protesters to shield their faces from tear gas and facial recognition.


Overwatch 2 – the long-awaited sequel inspired by the Avengers

The Guardian

Team-based multiplayer shooter Overwatch is getting a sequel: and interestingly for fans, it'll bring story missions into the game for the first time. According to Blizzard, it will also "redefine what a sequel means". Which is quite a claim for an online shooter. Unveiled with a crowd-pleasing cinematic trailer at annual fan convention BlizzCon last week, Overwatch 2 will introduce PvE missions in an all-new story mode, as well as a new core competitive mode, Push, a six-versus-six PvP team battle, which sees teams compete to have a robot push the map's objective to their opponent. Before now, the original 2016 first person shooter focused on PvP gameplay, with spin-off comic books and animated shorts filling in backstories for the popular crew of ragtag leads.


DeepMind claims landmark moment for AI in esports

#artificialintelligence

DeepMind says it has created the first artificial intelligence to reach the top league of one of the most popular esport video games. It says Starcraft 2 had posed a tougher AI challenge than chess and other board games, in part because opponents' pieces were often hidden from view. Publication in the peer-reviewed journal Nature allows the London-based lab to claim a new milestone. But some pro-gamers have mixed feelings about it claiming Grandmaster status. DeepMind - which is owned by Google's parent company Alphabet - said the development of AlphaStar would help it develop other AI tools which should ultimately benefit humanity.


DeepMind claims landmark moment for AI in esports

#artificialintelligence

DeepMind says it has created the first artificial intelligence to reach the top league of one of the most popular esport video games. It says Starcraft 2 had posed a tougher AI challenge than chess and other board games, in part because opponents' pieces were often hidden from view. Publication in the peer-reviewed journal Nature allows the London-based lab to claim a new milestone. But some pro-gamers have mixed feelings about it claiming Grandmaster status. DeepMind - which is owned by Google's parent company Alphabet - said the development of AlphaStar would help it develop other AI tools which should ultimately benefit humanity.


What to Know About Blizzard, Hong Kong and the Controversy Over Politics in Esports

TIME - Tech

Though video game culture is seldom a quiet, peaceful place, the uproar over Blizzard Entertainment punishing a popular gamer for showing support for Hong Kong protesters has shaken the whole industry. Ng Wai Chung, a Hearthstone player from Hong Kong who goes by the name "Blitzchung," championed the pro-democracy protests in his hometown that have raged for the past five months during his appearance on a post-game stream. And Blizzard, the developer and publisher of Hearthstone, quickly responded with blanket punishments for everyone involved. It's the latest example of an American company caught between business interests in China and western-world freedom of speech. Outrage over Blizzard's reaction swiftly came from players, industry titans and politicians.


Hong Kong Is the Latest Tripwire for Tech Firms in China

#artificialintelligence

On Wednesday morning, Mark Kern sat down with his 12-year-old son to tell him the guild was breaking up. Kern had been involved with World of Warcraft from the very beginning--a game developer himself, he was the original team leader for the title when Blizzard Entertainment launched it in 2004--and was a steadfast player of WoW Classic, a throwback version of the game that launched in August. Over the weekend, an esports player for another Blizzard title, Hearthstone, had shouted a Hong Kong protest slogan on the game's official Taiwanese livestream; in response, Activision Blizzard suspended the player from high-level competitive play for a year and said it would not pay out his past winnings, claiming that he had violated rules barring acts that "offend[] a portion or group of the public." For Kern, who was born in Taiwan and spent time in Hong Kong, the studio he'd called home for nearly eight years had changed. He told his son that he had decided to cancel his WoW subscription, putting an end to their family tradition.


World of Warcraft now lets me play as a fat guy, and I love it for that

PCWorld

Every so often I get the urge to travel to the Caverns of Time dungeon in World of Warcraft and behold one of the game's rarest creatures. Instead, this once-endangered species is a portly human mage who ambles down shady lanes in the Hillsbrad Foothills. So far as anyone knew, he was the only fat human in the game for at least a decade, and damn if he didn't make a potbelly look good. He carried himself with the poise of a king. He didn't give a flip what you thought of his paunch-friendly shirt.