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

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

Afrofuturist artist creates gorgeous portraits with Deep Dreaming

Wagner James Au sez, "AI algorithms, as AOC recently pointed out, often have a racial bias inherited by their creators, to the point where some can't even 'see' people of color. Afrofuturist Nettrice Gaskins teaches Deep Dream's AI to be aware of great black faces on a deep level." 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

Salvador Dalí reborn as a deepfake at his museum

The Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida has reanimated Salvador Dalí as a deepfake video experience. The "Dalí Lives" video installation opens in April on screens throughout the galleries.

As Dali once said, “[I] believe in general death but in the death of Dalí absolutely not. [I] believe in my death becoming almost impossible.”

From a press release:

The Museum began this immersive project by collecting and sharing hundreds of interviews, quotes, and existing archival footage from the prolific artist. GS&P used these extensive materials to train an AI algorithm to “learn” aspects of Dali’s face, then looked for an actor with the same general physical characteristics of Dali’s body. The AI then generates a version of Dali’s likeness to match the actor’s face and expressions. To educate visitors while engaging with “Dali Lives,” the Museum used authentic writings from Dali himself – coupled with dynamic present-day messages – reenacted by the actor.

Read the rest

The Safe Face Pledge: an ethical code of conduct for facial recognition scientists and developers

The Safe Face Pledge launched last month as a "pledge to mitigate abuse of facial analysis technology," with four themes: "Show Value for Human Life, Dignity, and Rights;" "Address Harmful Bias"; "Facilitate Transparency"; and "Embed Commitments into Business Practices" (SAFE). Read the rest

Math against crimes against humanity: Using rigorous statistics to prove genocide when the dead cannot speak for themselves

Patrick Ball and the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) (previously) use careful, rigorous statistical models to fill in the large blank spots left behind by acts of genocide, bringing their analysis to war crimes tribunals, truth and reconciliation proceedings, and other reckonings with gross human rights abuses. Read the rest

Building a high-performance cluster of Gameboy emulators to teach computers to play video games

Kamil Rocki was inspired by the 2016 paper from Google Deepmind researchers explaining how they used machine learning to develop a system that could play Breakout on the Atari 2600 with superhuman proficiency. Read the rest

Tumblr's porn filter blocked Tumblr's images illustrating what Tumblr's porn filter won't block

Yesterday, despite the manifest, glaring problems with its porn filter, Tumblr turned on mandatory porn-blocking for all its users' content, so that anything that its bots identified a pornographic would be invisible. Read the rest

Neural network renders fake urban environments for videogames

Researchers at Nvidia are creating interactive 3D virtual environments using videos of real cities. Read the rest

Neural network cookies

"Aw yeah it's time for cookies," writes AI ringmaster Janelle Shane (previously at BB).

One neural network I use, called textgenrnn, tries its best to imitate any kind of text you give it. I’ve given them paint colors, band names, and even guinea pig names and in each case their results are somewhat… mixed. (Paint colors called Stanky Bean, Stargoon, and Turdly, for example) The problem is that it doesn’t know what any of these words mean - it’s just picking letter combinations that seem likely to it.

This is what happened when I gave it all the cookies from a list of American recipes. This is what human cookies sound like to a neural network.

Previously, previously. Read the rest

Shitty Tumblr pornbot inception

It started when Tumblr flagged one of my retrospective posts (a five year old post about the right of British schoolkids to opt out of fingerprinting) as porn. Read the rest

The third annual AI Now report: 10 more ways to make AI safe for human flourishing

Every year, NYU's nonprofit, critical activist group AI Now releases a report on the state of AI, with ten recommendations for making machine learning systems equitable, transparent and fail-safe (2016, 2017); this year's report just published, written by a fantastic panel, including Meredith Whittaker (previously -- one of the leaders of the successful googler uprising over the company's contract to supply AI tools to the Pentagon's drone project); Kate Crawford (previously -- one of the most incisive critics of AI); Jason Schultz (previously -- a former EFF attorney now at NYU) and many others. Read the rest

Can an AI determine if a song is danceable?

BB pal Lissa Soep of YR Media (formerly Youth Radio) writes:

Our Interactive team delved into Spotify's algorithm to discover how songs on the platform are scored for their "danceability." We were intrigued by this use of Artificial Intelligence to quantify something as personal and cultural as what makes us want to move our bodies. So we built a tool that invites users to rate a curated playlist for each song’s “danceability” and compare that rating against the one Spotify produced algorithmically. Our writer Deborah Raji uses the project to raise fascinating questions about what it means for AI to be making its way into so many corners of our lives.

"Can You Teach AI to Dance?" (YR Media)

(Image: detail of illustration by Symone Woodruff-Hardy) Read the rest

Breed weird critters with machine learning and Ganbreeder

Ganbreeder uses a machine learning technique called Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) to generate images that seem like photos, at least a first glance. Read the rest

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