OpenAI’s new multitalented AI writes, translates, and slanders

The Verge reports on efforts by OpenAI to create a language modelling program that could emulate the writing style of a real human. This quote caught my eye: “The writing it produces is usually easily identifiable as non-human. Although its grammar and spelling are generally correct, it tends to stray off topic, and the text […]

Beauty spot or landscape blot? Computer trained to judge scenery

  Wordsworth found it in a host of daffodils; Nan Shepherd in the nooks of the Cairngorms. For Monet it popped up all over the place, from the windmills and canals of Amsterdam, to the sailing boats of Argenteuil. What lends a scene beauty has long been left to the poets and painters to define, […]

‘Turn it off’: how technology is killing the joy of national parks

  Andrew Studer was admiring a massive lava fire hose at Hawaii Volcanoes national park when he spotted something unusual: a small quadcopter drone flying very close to the natural wonder pouring hot molten rock. “There were other visitors sitting out relaxing in somewhat of a meditative state, just trying to enjoy this phenomenon,” said […]

Beauty spot or landscape blot? Computer trained to judge scenery

  Wordsworth found it in a host of daffodils; Nan Shepherd in the nooks of the Cairngorms. For Monet it popped up all over the place, from the windmills and canals of Amsterdam, to the sailing boats of Argenteuil. What lends a scene beauty has long been left to the poets and painters to define, […]

Microsoft’s new iPhone app narrates the world for blind people

  The app works in a number of scenarios. As well as recognizing people it’s seen before and guessing strangers’ age and emotion, it can identify household products by scanning barcodes. It also reads and scan documents, and recognizes US currency. This last function is a good example of how useful it can be. As […]

‘Turn it off’: how technology is killing the joy of national parks

  Andrew Studer was admiring a massive lava fire hose at Hawaii Volcanoes national park when he spotted something unusual: a small quadcopter drone flying very close to the natural wonder pouring hot molten rock. “There were other visitors sitting out relaxing in somewhat of a meditative state, just trying to enjoy this phenomenon,” said […]

I’m an ex-Facebook exec: don’t believe what they tell you about ads

  For two years I was charged with turning Facebook data into money, by any legal means. If you browse the internet or buy items in physical stores, and then see ads related to those purchases on Facebook, blame me. I helped create the first versions of that, way back in 2012. The ethics of […]

A ‘listening’ hairbrush and emotional cars: the futuristic trends of CES 2017

  There are already countless electronic devices that connect and report data to smartphones – activity trackers being the most obvious example – but what is particularly interesting about this year’s CES is the way companies are looking to exploit this idea for financial gain. It felt as though some product developers at the conference […]

Anti-surveillance clothing aims to hide wearers from facial recognition

  The Hyperface project involves printing patterns on to clothing or textiles, which then appear to have eyes, mouths and other features that a computer can interpret as a face. This is not the first time Harvey has tried to confuse facial recognition software. During a previous project, CV Dazzle, he attempted to create an […]