Category Archives: artificial intelligence

America May Not Be Ready for the Looming Tsunami of Deepfakes

Americans may not be ready for this tsunami wave of deepfakes. In our recent research, subjects struggled to distinguish between deepfakes and authentic videos. When we randomly assigned a set of deepfake and authentic videos to more than 2,000 individuals and asked them to pick the deepfake, our test subjects were wrong over one-third of the time. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the social media savviness of American youth, middle school students outperformed adults, including the educators who might be responsible for helping them learn key skills to avoid online misinformation. Even computer science students at a top U.S. engineering university were susceptible: They were unable to sort out deepfakes from authentic videos more than 20 percent of the time.

Brutalist beauty

Grotesque art is a slippery category that can be traced back to ancient Roman paintings, which first merged the human form with animals. Throughout history, grotesquery has embodied the anti-beauty aesthetic that pushes conventional boundaries and showcases the allure of extreme transformations. More recently, drag artists have been pioneers of what’s become grotesque content online — it’s partly why The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula show is so popular — and, while it’s not being painted across elaborate ceilings today, the movement still lingers through pimple-popping videos and extreme beauty tutorials

Infinite Conversation: An infinite AI-generated debate between Slavoj Zizek and Werner Herzog

This project aims to raise awareness about the ease of using tools for synthesizing a real voice. Right now, any motivated fool can do this with a laptop in their bedroom. This changes our relationship with the media we consume online and raises questions about the importance of authoritative sources, breach of trust and gullibility.

Will this technology lead to a massive proliferation of sub-optimal-quality content? Should we simply distrust anything we see online? As new tools are developed to help identify generated content, I recommend maintaining a skeptical stance, particularly when the source/channel of information doesn’t seem reliable and when the claims seem preposterous or outrageous.

Ultimately, I don’t see this as a technical problem, but as a human one. We all share a duty to educate the coming generations about the new paradigm while focusing on forming compassionate individuals who would not misuse these awesome powers.

As an AI optimist, I remain hopeful that we will be able to regulate ourselves, and that we will take experiments such as the Infinite Conversation for what they are: a playful way to help us imagine what our favorite people would do, if we had unlimited access to their minds. Art and Philosophy, here exemplified by Bavarian director Werner Herzog and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, can guide us while navigating these treacherous waters.

AI art looks way too European

For an AI model (also known as an algorithm), the past is the data set it has been trained on. For an AI art model, that data set is art. And much of the fine art world is dominated by white, Western artists. This leads to AI-generated images that look overwhelmingly Western. This is, frankly, a little disappointing: AI-generated art, in theory, could be an incredibly useful tool for imagining a more equitable vision of art that looks very different from what we have come to take for granted. Instead, it stands to simply perpetuate the colonial ideas that drive our understanding of art today.

Jolly Crowds of Damien Hirst Fans Showed Up For the IRL Conclusion to the Artist’s NFT Experiment. Here’s What They Had to Say

“The Currency” launched in July 2021 as a collection of 10,000 NFTs, each corresponding to one of 10,000 unique spot paintings by the U.K.’s richest artist. Those who acquired one of the NFTs, originally for $2,000, had the option to keep the digital token or exchange it for the physical artwork.

“I find it fascinating,” Elphick told Artnet News. “I wanted to see where it led. [Hirst] is obviously quite clever about trying to migrate the kind of physical collector into the digital world, whereas everyone else is potentially predominantly doing digital straightaway.”

Analyzing Hybrid Work

I have been getting students in my Fall Analyzing Trends class at Parsons School of Design – The New School up to speed in mapping speculative past/futures over the last few weeks. We started off by looking at the topic of hybrid work that has been in the news so much of late. As companies begin to put a stake in the ground on where they might sit in designing the meaning of work.

The archetypal extremes of “everyone back” (Tesla) to “work anywhere” (Airbnb) frameworks have been getting the most attention as to where work and the office might be going next. From the evolving design of offices from open plans to the emerging new types of privacy needs, to the ways technology and human skills begin to overlap and hint at possible emerging unknowns that will impact education, skills, and sustainable investment. #work#foresight#speculativedesign#mural#midjourney

Does Dalle think it makes more sense that men should drive than women?

Here is a quick study into the narrative tropes within AI and some interesting work for semiotics. Apparently, #Dalle thinks it makes more sense that men should drive than women. In a simple experiment using an image of my daughter taking me for a drive to generate variations (the last image in this series) – in all instances, #Dalle switched the man to the driver’s seat. Even imparting imagined active gestures for the male and passive gestures for the female in the image. #ai #bias #tropes #gesture #semiotics

Form, function, and the giant gulf between drawing a picture and understanding the world

Drawing photorealistic images is a major accomplishment for AI, but is it really a step towards general intelligence? Since DALL-E 2 came out, many people have hinted at that conclusion; when the system was announced, Sam Altman tweeted that “AGI is going to be wild”; for Kevin Roose at The New York Times, such systems constitute clear evidence that “We’re in a golden age of progress in artificial intelligence”. (Earlier this week, Scott Alexander seems to have taken apparent progress in these systems as evidence for progress towards general intelligence; I expressed reservations here.)

In assessing progress towards general intelligence, the critical question should be, how much do systems like Dall-E, Imagen, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion really understand the world, such that they can reason on and act on that knowledge?

Future of Work (McKinsey)

The world of work is changing. Artificial intelligence and automation will make this shift as significant as the mechanization in prior generations of agriculture and manufacturing. While some jobs will be lost, and many others created, almost all will change. The COVID-19 crisis accelerated existing trends and caused organizations to reevaluate many aspects of work. This regularly updated collection of articles draws together our latest perspectives on the future of work, workforce, and workplace.