Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Human Language Error Correction

Taking all the fun out of a game of telephone since 2017
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When computers talk to each other, they make sure that what they heard is correct by using error correction such as CRC, or various hash functions like SHA or MD5.

Humans should also benefit. And they can, doing so is easy, all it requires is a bit of a social convention and readily accessible tools. Let's say Alice and Bob are talking on a poor quality radio link.

Alice: The password is g7B1*bgLp .... Hold for MD5

Bob: Roger

*Alice*: Types in into MD5 tool, sees bc3ad93663281aab366c3218b34296cb and reads first 3 letters (bc3)

Alice: Bravo Charlie Three

Bob: Roger Bravo Charlie Three

*Bob*: Types the password he thought he heard into MD5 tool and sees hash code starting with 8d7 ... unfortunately he heard g7B1*bgLb instead of g7B1*bgLp (he doesn't know what he got wrong, but he's 99.9% sure he heard wrong)

Bob: Please repeat password, MD5 mismatch for Bravo Charlie Three

Alice: The password is g7B1*bgLp

Bob: Roger

*Bob*: Types the password he thought he heard into MD5 tool and sees hash code starting with bc3

Bob: MD5 confirmed Bravo Charlie Three

Alice: Awesome! Alice Out.

If Alice and Bob want to get really fancy, they can agree on a erasure code standard and that way the information Bob thinks he heard will self correct.

ixnaum, Apr 03 2017


       Come to think of it this might also become a popular way for the younger whippersnappers to communicate. Instead of saying "f*** y**! they can now conveniently say "c09"   

       For longer phrases, the economy is astounding (at the risk of hash collision of course).   

       Together with the fact that there are multiple hash functions, and depending on the convention of which subset of the hash is used (start/beginning/middle) etc, it also provides plausible deniability.   

       When challenged by authority, there can be a conveniently neutral collision for c09
ixnaum, Apr 03 2017


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