­xkcd thread

I was crushed to learn that Albert Einstein didn’t actually invent carbonated beer.

I’m starting to wonder if he was even born in Tasmania.

This is nothing new, except that it used to be natural intelligences that got trained to produce convincing-looking data.

I had a professor once, who had an ancient code for stellar simulations. One of the graphs the code produced was extremely noisy, which the professor insisted was due to quantum mechanical effects in the star. I combed through it and discovered that the code was actually hitting overflows/underflows, and re-wrote it using higher precision, and suddenly the graphs were smooth. Which couldn’t possibly be right, because the right answer was a noisy graph, which she knew because that’s what the code always did, and she knew the code worked properly because it gave the right answers.

The car knows to trigger the airbag when it receives the USB disconnect notification.

I hope it’s faster to recognize it than most of my computers have been…

OK, fess up: How many of us had to immediately solve it?

Working on it.

Came to post the exact same thing. (And yes, I did.)

Guilty. Took me longer than it would have if it had been a real minesweeper game because I had to juggle all the mental flags in my head.


2 X 1 X
M M 3 X
3 M X M
X 1 X 1

Being that it’s XKCD I was surprised when clicking on the image didn’t do anything.


where zero means no bomb and x means bomb. I hope.

I hope it didn’t take you seven hours to work it out…

No. I did it on paper during lunch break at work (in perhaps three minutes), then forgot all about entering my results until a little while ago.

It’s good as a joke, but terrible as an actual captcha. Unless you go with the assumption that a bot can solve it immediately and a human will take a few minutes.

I solved it and then clicked on the image hoping it was dynamic. I was disappointed. Now I’m considering making an app that gives you small minesweeper puzzles.

Doesn’t the actual game already do that?

What’s notable about this array, and what I think @naita is aiming for, is that it starts with a few spots already “clicked”, and those spots are enough to uniquely determine the solution. By contrast, if I run the game and tell it to give me a 4x4 with four mines, I might end up blowing up on the second click before I have enough information, or I might end up clearing most or all of it on the first click, thus getting a trivial puzzle.

Is this a metajoke?

The instruction on the supposed captcha is not to solve the puzzle or to click all of the locations of mines; you’re supposed to click all the pictures of mines. And of course, no mines are pictured.

So an AI would read the instructions, look at the captcha, and click on nothing. A human would see a puzzle they’re familiar with, ignore the instructions, and solve the puzzle.