“Never ask a question to a human that you do not already know the answer to.”

– old robotic proverb

I actually spent a good while struggling with the punchline (if you can call it that) to this comic, which I had originally thought would be quite simple. Namely, I couldn’t decide whether or not to include the caption, how to phrase the caption if I did include it, or if an extra three panels telling a larger story of a bot overseeing a human’s response to the test would have been better.

I feel like the captionless version would have been “funnier,” but I also really wanted to make it clear that the robots didn’t actually need humans to do their image recognition for them anymore – the CAPTCHA was testing them for something they weren’t expecting. Some people might have picked up on that implication, but I think many more would have just left it at, “Ha ha, robots can’t tell what humans look like!”

The other alternative: an extra few panels showing a human being prompted to solve the CAPTCHA (“Yeah, I don’t see any humans here.”) by a robotic overseer, who takes their answer as confirmation that they cannot be trusted. Probably illustrates the idea most fully, but I also felt like it makes the comic more “short story horror” than “funny gag.” Also, I quite like the immediate image of the CAPTCHA alone, I feel more panels would dilute the impact.

But it’s published now, so no changing. If anyone thinks they would have preferred the alternative “punchlines,” feel free to comment on any of the other platforms I publish these on. I still feel like I could be missing a more elegant way to have told this joke.

– James