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The Spookily Amazing World of Artifical Inteligence


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It seems that AI is controlling and contributing to our lives more and more. Some applications of artificial intelligence are blatantly obvious, like when you’re desperately looking on your bank’s website for a phone number and all you get is their automated chat-bot thing. Others work for us all every day without us even knowing or thinking about it, filtering out spam email or learning our online browsing habits.

With the age of driverless cars much closer than we could have imagined ten years ago, the race to improve AI has ramped up, both in terms of desire to excel and its ability to carry out tasks previously deemed impossible.

I’ve spent my entire adult life (20 years and counting) as a software developer, and I’ve seen what can be done with lines of code change massively in my time. Artificial Intelligence is something I make use of more and more in my job, although I’m certainly a consumer of other people’s brilliance rather than a trailblazer pushing the field further forward. So, it’s something that fascinates me, and I’m interested in where it’ll go and whether the general needs of the World’s population will benefit from its advances or whether its application will be concentrated on how it can make the most money for those that can most afford to invest in it.

Despite the vast array of examples of AI, every now and then, I’ll learn of something that makes me stop and think. Not only in terms of “how have they done that?” but also in terms of “this could get odd...”

Here’s one such example that inspired this thread:


It’s an experiment by developer Philip Wang, who has built an Nvidia GPU-based system that creates human faces. As lifelike as the faces are, they’re all totally generated and so the people at the top of this post are completely fake. Look closely at some, and you might spot some clues that may suggest you’re not looking at a real person, but generally, they’re pretty bloody good. In fact, maybe a bit too good.

A new face is generated every 2 seconds and the system uses self-critique to allow to get a better and better at creating believable faces.

So if AI can now magically create people out of thin air, does this bother you? How does AI help, affect or concern you?

Edited by scratchdj
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On 2/16/2019 at 4:41 PM, wordsfromlee said:

How long until this tech gets combined with those Deep Fake videos?

This is what worries me. I don't buy into the scare stories about AI being inherently dangerous, but I am worried about how it's becoming possible to make increasingly convincing fake videos of believable people, or public figures saying things they never did.

Think of every gullible relative you know who has shared, in good faith, a photo with a public figure and an attributed "quote" they never said. Think of every dubious political actor who creates these false quotes for unsavoury ends. Think how many people will blindly believe it, even in the face of contrary evidence, so long as it reinforces their worldview. Think how long it will be able to circulate around particular echo chambers, based on nothing more than the algorithms of targeting advertising, before it comes to the attention of anyone who will debunk it. Now imagine that, instead of a photo with a quotation, it's entirely convincing video footage of that celebrity/politician "saying" something abhorrent? Or, for the even more conspiracy-minded, "crisis actors" who don't even exist, but are just computer generated facsimiles of real people, free to act out and voice whatever motive you want to ascribe to them. Who are you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?

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