If you send your holiday photos to Google's Autoawesome processor, it will snip out the best smiles and poses and combine them to make pictures of scenes that never actually happened.
AI researcher Rob Smith was struck by this when he uploaded a burst series of holiday photos to the system and got back a picture that tweezed out the best smiles from several exposures and combined them with the best poses from others.
As I pointed out to him when we discussed this over lunch recently, the real lesson here is that photos are never a neutral record of history, and always emphasize or downplay different aspects of the scene. But as Rob counters, "But I’m reasonably sure you wouldn’t say that if this were a photo of Obama and Putin, smiling it up together, big, simultaneously happy buddies, at a Ukraine summit press conference. Then, I think algorithms automatically creating such symbolic moments would be a concern."
Note the position of my hands, the fellow in the background, and my wife’s smile. Actually, these photos were a part of a “burst” or twelve that my iPhone created when my father-in-law accidentally held down the button too long. I only uploaded two photos from this burst to see which one my wife liked better.
So Google’s algorithms took the two similar photos and created a moment in history that never existed, one where my wife and I smiled our best (or what the algorithm determined was our best) at the exact same microsecond, in a restaurant in Normandy.
So what? Good for the algorithm’s designers, some may say. Take burst photos, and they AutoAwesomely put together what you meant to capture: a perfectly coordinated smiley moment. Some may say that, but honestly, I was a bit creeped out.
It’s Official: AIs are now re-writing history [Rob Smith]
The "business analytics" firm Mixpanel has released its figures estimating the total usage of Facebook (liking, sharing and posting) since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke; they showed usage falling off 10% in the first month following from the news of the scandal, and continuing to fall, with overall usage down by 20% since April 2018.
Municipal broadband is pretty much the telco monopolists' worst nightmare: it's a cheaper, faster alternative and it's the only internet service that customers express high levels of satisfaction for, so it's no wonder that telcoms lobbyists have convinced 26 states to ban cities from providing internet access, sometimes literally drafting the legislation and handing it […]
Every year, VC Mary Meeker (previously) publishes her must-read Internet Trends Report, which comes as a powerpoint deck with hundreds of slides (you can watch her power through them in 30 minutes flat at the Re-Code conference).
When it comes to large computer systems, not one of them is fully secure. Even with constant updates to the platforms that keep vital networks humming, there’s always a back door. And companies are willing to pay handsomely to effective bouncers that can keep an eye on them. Call them ethical hackers or white hat […]
So you’ve visited the Kennedy Space Center every year. You’ve watched “The Right Stuff” for the 95th time. There must be something to do while you’re waiting to join Space Force for the next manned mission to Mars or the moon. Here’s a combo that should raise a salute from any fan of space or […]
Looking for a new tablet? If you haven’t upgraded in a while, it might be time to check out the latest iPad Pro for two very good reasons. First, the 2018 model is a real workhorse. The 12X Bionic chip processor means it can handle any task you set out for it, and still have […]