Philadelphia city council candidate says his secret AI has discovered disqualifying fraud in the nominations of 30 out of 33 candidates

Devon Cade -- a former bureaucrat who now describes himself as a "philanthropist" -- has asked a court to disqualify 30 out of the 33 other Democrats standing in the primary for the city's council elections on the grounds that the signatures on their nominating petitions were forged. Read the rest

Some pretty impressive machine-learning generated poetry courtesy of GPT-2

GPT-2 is Open AI's language-generation model (last seen around these parts as a means of detecting machine-generated text); it's powerful and cool, and Gwern Branwen fed it the Project Gutenberg poetry corpus to see what kind of poetry it would write. Read the rest

Palmer Luckey wins secretive Pentagon contract to develop AI for drones

Palmer Luckey (previously) the alt-right financier who was made a billionaire by Mark Zuckerberg's decision to acquire his VR startup Oculus, is now running a Peter-Thiel-backed surveillance startup called Anduril Industries, which has won a contract to contribute to Project Maven, the Pentagon's controversial AI-for-drones system (Google's involvement in Project Maven sparked an employee uprising that ended with the relevant executives leaving the company and the contract being allowed to lapse). Read the rest

Pentagon reassures public that its autonomous robotic tank adheres to "legal and ethical standards" for AI-driven killbots

The Pentagon is seeking bids to improve its Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System (ATLAS) so that it can "acquire, identify, and engage targets at least 3X faster than the current manual process." Read the rest

Creative Adversarial Networks: GANs that make art

Generative Adversarial Networks use a pair of machine-learning models to create things that seem very realistic: one of the models, the "generator," uses its training data to make new things; and the other, the "discerner," checks the generator's output to see if it conforms to the model. Read the rest

A machine-learning system that guesses whether text was produced by machine-learning systems

Gltr is an MIT-IBM Watson Lab/Harvard NLP joint project that analyzes texts and predicts whether that text was generated by a machine-learning model. Read the rest

Towards a general theory of "adversarial examples," the bizarre, hallucinatory motes in machine learning's all-seeing eye

For several years, I've been covering the bizarre phenomenon of "adversarial examples (AKA "adversarial preturbations"), these being often tiny changes to data than can cause machine-learning classifiers to totally misfire: imperceptible squeaks that make speech-to-text systems hallucinate phantom voices; or tiny shifts to a 3D image of a helicopter that makes image-classifiers hallucinate a rifle Read the rest

See the galaxy through the eyes of a frustrated rogue AI in Martha Wells' 'Murderbot Diaries'

All Systems Red is the fantastic story of a self-aware security robot, protecting a team of scientists on a scary planet, that really just wants to watch some crappy cable tv.

Martha Well's 'Murderbot Diaries' are a series of novellas about an anti-social security construct having a mild existential crisis. Referring to itself as a "Murderbot" and pretty much hating the job it was designed to do, Murderbot has a large library of downloaded media to work through and just wants to hang out in the equipment closet.

In All Systems Red, the first in Wells' series, the crew of scientists Murderbot has been rented to protect have no idea the rogue SecUnit has overridden his governor, and gone rogue. Murderbot just wants to keep its secret and watch some videos, but those humans keep dragging it into dangerous situations and trying to treat it like a person. Murderbot doesn't feel comfortable around actual humans.

All Systems Red (Kindle Single): The Murderbot Diaries via Amazon Read the rest

Where to catch me this weekend at SXSW

I'm heading back to Austin for the SXSW Interactive festival and you can catch me three times this weekend: first on the Untold AI panel with Malka Older, Rashida Richardson and Christopher Noessel (5-6PM, Fairmont Manchester AB); then at the EFF Austin Party with Cindy Cohn and Bruce Sterling (7PM, 1309 Bonham Terrace); and on Sunday, I'm giving a keynote for Berlin's Re:Publica conference, which has its own track at SXSW; I'm speaking about Europe's new Copyright Directive and its dread Article 13 at 1PM at Buffalo Billiards, 201 East 6th Street. Read the rest

Common Voice: Mozilla releases the largest dataset of voice samples for free, for all

42,000 Mozilla supporters contributed to Common Voice, a free-open dataset of 1,361 hours of voice recordings in 18 languages, which is now free for anyone to use as a set of "high quality, transcribed voice data... available to startups, researchers, and anyone interested in voice-enabled technologies" -- in a field plagued with sampling bias problems, this is a dataset that aims to be diverse, representative and inclusive, and it's growing by the day (you can contribute your voice too!) -- the whole project is inspiring. (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

This Person Does Not Exist

thispersondoesnotexist.com generates realistic human faces; refresh for a new one. Most are disturbingly convincing, a warning against trusting images and a whisper of just how gnostically paranoid everything is going to get. But the more you see, the more you learn the little tells.

Read the rest

Even without explicit collusion, pricing algorithms converge on price-fixing strategies

Literally the only kind of monopolistic behavior that the US government is willing to prosecute is price fixing, and that's why it's so important to read Artificial intelligence, algorithmic pricing, and collusion, a paper by four Italian economists from the University of Bologna who document how price-fixing is an emergent property of pricing algorithms -- the systems online merchants use to price-match with their competitors. Read the rest

Beyond GIGO: how "predictive policing" launders racism, corruption and bias to make them seem empirical

"Predictive policing" is the idea that you can feed crime stats to a machine-learning system and it will produce a model that can predict crime. It is garbage. Read the rest

Trump signs 'American AI Initiative' executive order to prioritize federal funding for artificial intelligence research

There aren't many details in Trump's “American A.I. Initiative,” but the point appears to be: send a message of technological dominance to China.

Chasing down that list of potential Predpol customers reveals dozens of cities that have secretly experimented with "predictive policing"

Last October, I published a list of cities that appeared to have contracted with Predpol, a "predictive policing" company, based on research provided to me by an anonymous source who used clever methods to uncover the customer list. Read the rest

A service to help airline passengers get compensated for lost bags, delays, cancellations and overbookings

Airhelp is a service that helps airline passengers in 30 countries file claims (for delays, lost bags, overbookings, and cancellations) structured to increase the likelihood of paying out; the bots have made $930m in successful claims to date, and the company behind it only collects a commission when a claim succeeds. Read the rest

American prisoners coerced or tricked into providing voice-prints for use in eternal, secret, unchecked surveillance

American prisoners are being forced -- on pain of losing access to the prison phone system -- to provide training data for a voice-print recognition algorithm that private contractors are building for biometric surveillance system that listens in on prisoners' calls. Read the rest

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