Artificial intelligence is going to make it easier than ever to fake images and video

 

Smile Vector is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s hard to give a comprehensive overview of all the work being done on multimedia manipulation in AI right now, but here are a few examples: creating 3D face models from a single 2D image; changing the facial expressions of a target on video in realtime using a human “puppet”; changing the light source and shadows in any picture; generating sound effects based on mute video; live-streaming the presidential debates but making Trump bald; “resurrecting” Joey from Friends using old clips; and so on. Individually, each of these examples is a curiosity; collectively, they add up to a whole lot more. “The field is progressing extremely rapidly,” says Jeff Clune, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Wyoming. “Jaw-dropping examples arrive in my inbox every month.” Clune’s own work isn’t about manipulating images, but generating them, whole cloth. His team at Wyoming began work on this in 2015 by adapting neural networks trained in object recognition. Inspired by research done on the human brain in 2005, they identified the neurons that lit up when faced with certain images, and taught the network to produce the images that maximized this stimulation.

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The future of shopping: drones, digital mannequins and leaving without paying

 

The American DIY chain Lowe’s is testing LoweBot, a customer service robot that speaks several languages, helps shoppers find items and provides information on products. First trialled as OSHbot two years ago, it is currently being tested in 11 Lowe’s stores. US electricals retailer Best Buy has Chloe, a robot that is a glorified grabber arm for CDs and DVDs, while Aldebaran Robotics, part of the Japanese telecoms firm Softbank, has created Pepper, a humanoid robot which has been deployed in some Nescafé stores in Japan. Some US shopping centres are even adopting robotic security guards – a cross between a CCTV camera and a Dalek that can detect people who may be loitering in the wrong place and read car number plates in car parks. But it’s not all been straightforward: a robot guarding a shopping centre in California recently ran over a toddler after its navigational scanning systems failed to detect the small boy.

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Michael Gove’s anti-Turner prize tweets are childishly prejudiced

 

do we think that Gove, transported back to the early years of the 19th century, would have been one of those enlightened people who championed JMW Turner, or would he, do we think, have been somewhat more likely to have been bewildered by the controversial painter’s strikingly novel looseness of form and “crude blotches”, to quote fellow artist Benjamin West?

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