How neural networks work - A good explainer video

How does a neural network connect perceptions to concepts? In other words, how can you make something that accepts an array of pixels as an input and correctly outputs "dog" or "cat?" This video from Art of the Problem does a good job of explaining how neural networks are able to do this, and why it's important to have neural networks with many layers. Read the rest

NirvanA.I.: This bot wrote a Nirvana song

Funk Turkey used lyrics.rip to scrape the Genius database of Nirvana lyrics and then set a Markov chain bot to work generating lyrics to a new "Nirvana" song. Funk Turkey made the music and sang the bot's poetry. Listen to "Smother" and spot the actual Cobain phrases! From the YouTube description:

All music/vocals performed, mixed, and mastered by me, in my kitchen, on a sparkly red cheap Stratocaster, a crappy mic, and an old copy of ProTools. All lyrics provided by Hal 9000 (AKA lyrics.rip). Guitars are the aforementioned Stratocaster bounced hard left and right. Flanged Stratocaster through a Fender twin is dead center in the mix. Bass is a no-name bass run through amp emulation. Percussion is Superior Drummer 2. I know Dave Grohl hates computer drums but it's the best thing I got, soooo.... Sorry Dave. I still love you.

Vocals are doubled, slightly compressed, and run though an emulated reel-to-reel and tube saturation for a bit of extra warmth and grit. Also the first use of my new pop filter that my wife bought me for early father's day. She's the best.

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'GrokNet', the AI behind Facebook Shops, looks for body type, skin tone, location, socioeconomic class in photos

• Yay, Clearview AI but for shopping!

Facebook Mark Zuckerberg today announced the launch of Facebook Shops, an e-commerce feature to allows business users to list and sell products on Facebook and Instagram. Read the rest

An AI that invented two things can't receive patent

The US Patent and Trademark Office said an AI that invented a food container system and a warning light that flashes in a "hard to ignore rhythm" is ineligible to receive a patent, reports the BBC.

The creator of the artificial intelligence system, a researcher name Steven Thaler, said he cannot be considered the inventor because he did not help with the inventions. But the patent office said it would cause unwanted legal complications if non-human entities were allowed to be granted patents.

Photo by Rock'n Roll Monkey on Unsplash Read the rest

Teenagers interview A.I experts about the future of thinking machines

The young journalists at YR Media (formerly Youth Radio) were curious about "what artificial intelligence means for race, art, and the apocalypse." So they asked the opinion of a a few experts, including tech journalist Alexis Madrigal, engineer Deb Raji of New York University's AI Now Institute, artist/programmer Sam Lavigne, and AI ethicisit Rachel Thomas. You can read (and listen to) bit from the lively conversation at the Youth Media feature "In the Black Mirror." Here's an excerpt:

RACE + BIAS

Deb Raji: There was a study released where we evaluated the commercial facial recognition systems that were deployed. And we said, "How well does this system work for different intersectional demographics?" So, how well does it work for darker skinned woman versus lighter skinned woman versus darker skinned men and lighter skinned men? And it figures that there was a 30 percent performance gap between lighter skinned men and darker skinned men, which is insane. For reference, usually you don't deploy a system that's performing at less than 95 percent accuracy.

Rachel Thomas: Another example of bias comes from some software that's used in many U.S. courtrooms. It gives people a rating of how likely they are to commit another crime. And it was found that this software has twice as high a false positive rate on black defendants compared to white defendants. So that means it was predicting that people were high risk even though they were not being rearrested. And so this is something that's really impacting people's lives because it was being used in sentencing decisions and bail decisions.

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Businesses and stores are adding AI to security cameras for social distancing and mask-wearing compliance

📷 Pepper Construction is using Startup SmartVid.io to analyze worksite images for Oracle Industries Innovation Lab in Deerfield, Illinois.

Existing security cameras at retail stores and workplaces are being equipped with articifial intelligence to enforce measures intendded to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, Reuters reports, based on interviews with 16 different machine vision software firms and a number of businesses that are now their clients. Read the rest

Under coronavirus lockdown, Russia expands surveillance state

In Russia, two human rights groups say Vladimir Putin's government has vastly expanded surveillance to enforce the nation's coronavirus lockdown, using facial recognition technology and collection of personal data. The groups say regulation is required to ensure that surveillance measures are both temporary and proportionate. Read the rest

More reporting links Clearview AI to Trump-aligned racists, neo-Nazis, and alt-right trolls

“Big Brother, it turned out, was wearing a MAGA cap”

Clearview AI gave accounts to ex Trump staffer, GOPers, Holocaust denier

Clearview AI said its facial recognition tool was only for law enforcement, but Buzzfeed News reports they gave accounts to former Trump staffer Jason Miller, as well as various Republican political operatives and a figure known to be a Holocaust denier. Read the rest

Investors used Clearview AI app as a personal toy for spying on public

“Before Clearview Became a Police Tool, It Was a Secret Plaything of the Rich.” That's the title of the New York Times piece, and that's the horrifying reality of how artificial intelligence and facial recognition are already being used in ways that violate your expectations of privacy in the world. Read the rest

How the "monkey selfie" is affecting copyright law for art and writing produced by artificial intelligence

Earlier this month, the United States Copyright Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization co-sponsored a symposium titled Copyright in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.  The purpose of the symposium was to examine "how the creative community currently is using artificial intelligence (AI) to create original works," and "what level of human input is sufficient for the resulting work to be eligible for copyright protection," among other topics.

In his article for The Scholarly Kitchen, Todd A Carpenter read the discussion threads in WIPO's public consultation and learned that the court decision regarding the famous monkey selfie of 2011 could steer copyright law regarding works created by artificial intelligence.

In 2011, a nature photographer left his camera on a tripod and an endangered Celebes crested macaques, intrigued by its reflection in the lens snapped perhaps hundreds of pictures of itself. One of those photos ended up promoted by the photographer and it ended up in the British press. Other sites, such as Wikipedia and Techdirt reproduced the photo on their sites, that the photographer and PETA eventually perused in court to seek compensation as violation of copyright. Whether the photographer could assert copyright in the photograph was eventually dismissed by the Ninth Circuit court of appeals in 2018.

In the Copyright Office’s Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, released on 22 December, 2014, the Office stated that, “only works created by a human can be copyrighted under United States law, which excludes photographs and artwork created by animals or by machines without human intervention” and furthermore, “Because copyright law is limited to ‘original intellectual conceptions of the author,’ the [copyright] office will refuse to register a claim if it determines that a human being did not create the work.

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How artist Refik Anadol uses AI to create hypnotic art installations

Artist Refik Anadol, who has appeared on Boing Boing before, designs dreamy installations using artificial intelligence. Some of them he calls 'data paintings.' Read the rest

How to beat AI facial expression software for screening job seekers: "smile with your eyes"

If you are trying to find work in South Korea, you are likely to be interviewed by a bot that uses AI to scan your facial expressions to determine whether or not you are right for the job. Read the rest

AI, machine learning, and other frothy tech subjects remained overhyped in 2019

Rodney Brooks (previously) is a distinguished computer scientist and roboticist (he's served as as head of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and CTO of Irobot); two years ago, he published a list of "dated predictions" intended to cool down some of the hype about self-driving cars, machine learning, and robotics, hype that he viewed as dangerously gaseous. Read the rest

This company wants to use AI to help you pretend to increase diversity

Generated Photos is the latest stupid startup that sounds like a joke from "Silicon Valley" that someone took too far. From their announcement on Medium:

Generated Photos is the free resource of 100k faces for you to use however you wish. But these aren’t just common faces. They were produced completely by artificial intelligence — none of these people are real! Generated photos are created from scratch by AI systems.

In other words, they're Deepfakes for other peoples' ad campaigns.

I've spent enough time around higher ed administration that I've seen firsthand how universities will recruit a perfect United-Colors-Of-Benetton rainbow of students for admissions ads. But this takes that to a whole new level. Why even bother trying to build relationships with non-white-dudes, when you can just generate some friendly colorful faces for promotional use and call it a day?

The company's website brags of "democratizing creative photography and video," which is some impressively nauseating PR speak. In their defense, "We aim to make creative works both more accessible and higher quality through generative processes" sounds a lot better than "Auto-diversify the avatars for your army of Twitter sockpuppets!"

But my favorite part is how openly they acknowledge the poor quality of their images. "A part of the process is training and refining the generative models," the company explains in a Medium post. "The iterations move fast although not everything is perfect yet. So you will also have some fun with the pack of AI-generated photos. When you see a face that is a bit ‘off’, just give it some slack." Read the rest

An exclusive interview with an AI neural network based on Mark Zuckerberg

Ever since the glorious disaster that was Cambridge Analytica and the entire political climate of 2016, Mark Zuckerberg has been making the rounds from press outlets to private meetings with Republican donors to Congressional testimonies to more private meetings with Republican donors, all with increasing frequency. But he has yet to grant an audience to the Guardian since they broke the initial story with whistleblower testimony.

So naturally, the Guardian enlisted the help of Botnick Studios to create a neural network trained on some 200,000+ words from Zuckerberg's interviews, speeches, and blogposts over the last three years. And they interviewed that instead.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this "Zuckerbot" sounds about as convincing as the real Zuckerberg — which is to say like an eerily fabricated alien simulacrum of a human being. For example, here's how it describes the purpose of Facebook:

First, I want to thank you all for being a part of my mission. The purpose of Facebook is to bring about internet for people in the digital room. It is about advertising dollars to people who pay to be able to pay. We believe in building $8bn of voice on the platform for dads who are hungry for coffee.

And on his secret meetings with Donald Trump:

Is anything ever secure? Is anything ever secret? Guess what? The answer is a clear maybe. Or maybe not. I am going to say quiet words in your face just like I did with him and Congress. You can’t expect me to tell you a secret that I didn’t share with him but I am confident that we are sharing the same infrastructure.

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What happens when you feed Trump’s “I WANT NOTHING” note to a Neural Network?

Donald Trump’s desperate PR attempt “speech” from this morning read kind of like the lyric sheet from some obscure Radiohead-wannabe art-rock band.

So naturally, comedian Emily Heller took it to the next level by feeding it into OpenAI’s “Talk To Transformer” Neural Network.

I assumed this was real, but I still wanted to try it out for myself. And wow, the results were not disappointing.

First up: the opening scene to a noir novel. Not quite “shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not losing any supporters”-level, but it’s close.

So I tried again. And this time, the Neural Network came out with a straight-up Ramones song.

On my third try, the Artificial Intelligence showed a greater capacity for aspiring towards human emotions than Trump himself ever has.

And this one basically just sounds like Trump talking in his sleep during a wet dream.

As we can see from below, even the Neural Network knows that dozens of women have credibly accused the President of sexual assault.

And finally, this one that … actually just sounds like the way Trump talks on a good day.

You can try to fill-in-the-blanks on your own with OpenAI’s Talk To Transformer neural network. Whatever it is the machine spews out will still probably be more coherent and articulate than anything Trump himself has ever come up with. Read the rest

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