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

Anatomy of a Reddit cryptocurrency spam-factory

A guy named "Aaron" has been pitching Reddit moderators and other influential Redditors on their participation in a lucrative scam to inflate the popularity of posts about different cryptocurrencies, using massive farms of bots that post and upvote through a network of proxies that make them seem like they're distributed all over the world. Read the rest

Ex-Fox News host: when I filed a sexual harassment claim against Ailes, the company hacked and stalked me

In a federal complaint against Fox News, former Outnumbered host Andrea Tantaros claims that after she filed a sexual harassment claim against the former CEO Roger Ailes, Fox News contracted with a psyops team to set up a "black room" to run a hate campaign that targeted her by cyberstalking her, implanting malware on her computer, and libeling her on "fake news" sites. Read the rest

GCHQ psychological operations squad targeted Britons for manipulation

The agency used fake accounts to "deter," "promote distrust" and "discredit" in political discussions on social media, uploaded fake book/magazine articles with "incorrect information," hacked websites, and set up fraudulent ecommerce sites.

Wikimedia sends legal threat to WikiPR over sockpuppetry and meatpuppetry

Wikimedia, the nonprofit that oversees the Wikipedia project, has sent a cease-and-desist letter to WikiPR, an astroturfing company that pays people to distort Wikipedia entries on behalf of clients who want to erase embarrassing history or boost their image (or both). WikiPR is thought to be behind hundreds of sockpuppet accounts that made thousands of edits over several years. Read the rest