Noel Sharkey on AI, Sex Robots and Why Politicians Need to Understand the Limits of Technology

“I sound like I don’t like technology, but I actually do, sorry,” Professor Noel Sharkey laughs. “But this just really upsets me.” Sharkey is just getting into the swing of his 20-minute lecture: a talk at FutureFest entitled “Sex, race and gender in robotics and AI,” and he’s not pulling any punches. Throughout the talk he reveals example after example of how human biases have crept into a technology which promised to fix our weak, fleshy human subjectivity. Justice algorithms that see black prisoners as more likely to reoffend due to past prejudiced police targeting; facial recognition software that can only spot white faces, and so on. Even our search engines are picking up on our prejudiced under and overtones, as an image search for ‘professional hair’ and ‘unprofessional hair’ depressingly demonstrates. Read More >>

A One-Letter Typo is (in Part) the Reason Aliens: Colonial Marines Sucked

When Aliens: Colonial Marines dropped in 2013, it had built up a tonne of hype that made it seem as though the game would transport players into the terror-filled and action-packed Alien universe. Instead, they got an absolute mess of a game that, as it turns out, may have been just one letter away from being good — or at least playable. Read More >>

Looks Like Facebook is Getting Serious About Making Its Own Chips

It’s been rumoured for months that Facebook might be interested in building its own, in-house processing chips. Now it appears the social network company is really going for it. Bloomberg reported Friday that Facebook managed to snag one of Google’s top silicon engineering directors to head up its own efforts in the field. Read More >>

Nvidia Taught an AI to Flawlessly Erase Watermarks From Photos

Photographers already face an uphill battle in trying to preventing people from using their digital photos without permission. But Nvidia could make protecting photos online much harder with a new advancement in artificial intelligence that can automatically remove artefacts from a photograph, including text and watermarks, no matter how obtrusive they may be. Read More >>

MIT’s New AI-Powered Software Can Extract Individual Instruments From Videos With a Single Click

An instructor of mine once compared mixing a song to baking a cake. The various tracks are the ingredients, and once everything is mixed and baked, as with a cake, those ingredients can’t be deconstructed. Or can they? AI researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have created an app that can isolate a performance in a video by simply clicking on a specific instrument. Read More >>

Microsoft ‘Improves’ Racist Facial Recognition Software

In a self-congratulatory move, Microsoft announced some major improvements yesterday to its fundamentally biased facial recognition software. The Azure-based Face API was criticised in a research paper earlier this year for its error rate—as high as 20.8 per cent—when attempting to identify the gender of people of colour, particularly women with darker skin tones. In contrast, Microsoft’s AI was able to identify the gender of photos of “lighter male faces” with an error rate of zero per cent, the study concluded. Read More >>

BBC Shoehorns AI Reference into Wimbledon Coverage Claims

The BBC thinks we might be more likely to watch TV if we know that AI is involved in this year's Wimbledon coverage, and, having read the news story, it perhaps sort of really is in some small way; although a human will have the final say-so, just in case the AI goes rogue and delivers a highlights package that's 90 minutes of slow motion shots of white pants, because it checked and thinks that's what the internet wants. Read More >>

AI and Carbon Nanotubes Are Now Being Used to Improve the World’s… Keyboards?

When it comes to groundbreaking research, there are two fields that seem to occupy the newscycle: carbon nanotubes and artificial intelligence. The potential combination of those two fields of study seems like it could radically change the word as we know it, or, as South Korean scientists have discovered, at least change how we type. Read More >>

Google Remembers to Like and Subscribe, Releases Its Own Podcasts App

Lovers of quality audio content you’re probably not paying for, rejoice. Google has finally released its own Google Podcasts app, providing users a dedicated place to enjoy their shows, find personalised recommendations, and soon take advantage of upcoming accessibility features. It’s also one of the few Android-only apps made by the company, which traditionally releases cross-platform apps to satiate users of Google’s services on iOS. Read More >>

Nvidia Is Using AI to Perfectly Fake Slo-Mo Videos

One of the hardest video effects to fake is slow motion. It requires software to stretch out a clip by creating hundreds of non-existent in-between frames, and the results are often stuttered and unconvincing. But taking advantage of the incredible image-processing potential of deep learning, Nvidia has come up with a way to fake flawless slow motion footage from a standard video clip. It’s good thing The Slo-Mo Guys both have day jobs to fall back on. Read More >>

artificial intelligence
Self-Taught AI Masters Rubik’s Cube in Just 44 Hours

Meet DeepCube, an artificially intelligent system that’s as good at playing the Rubik’s Cube as the best human master solvers. Incredibly, the system learned to dominate the classic 3D puzzle in just 44 hours and without any human intervention. Read More >>

Most Deepfake Videos Have One Glaring Flaw

The rate at which deepfake videos are advancing is both impressive and deeply unsettling. But researchers have described a new method for detecting a “telltale sign” of these manipulated videos, which map one person’s face onto the body of another. It’s a flaw even the average person would notice: a lack of blinking. Read More >>

Don’t Be Fooled by the ‘Forced a Bot’ Meme

By now, you’ve probably seen the satirical posts where someone claims to have “forced a bot” to watch thousands of hours of video and then write their own script. The posts are funny, but if you haven’t realised, they’re jokes that don’t quite encapsulate how artificial intelligence works. Read More >>

Deepfake Videos Are Getting Impossibly Good

Fake news sucks, and as those eerily accurate videos of a lip-synced Barack Obama demonstrated last year, it’s soon going to get a hell of a lot worse. As a newly revealed video-manipulation system shows, super-realistic fake videos are improving faster than some of us thought possible. Read More >>

Uber is Trying to Patent an AI System to Identify Erratic Behaviour in Riders

It looks like Uber has a growing interest in the behaviours of its users. According to a patent application filed by the company Thursday, Uber is planning to use machine learning to better understand the “state” of a passenger when they request a ride. Read More >>