technology

I’ll take a rusty nail, and scratch your initials in my arm

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Leveraging popular social networking sites, individuals undertake certain forms of behavior to attract as many likes and followers as they can. One platform that symbolizes people’s love for strategic self-presentation to the utmost degree is Instagram. […]

Narcissism is characterized by grandiose exhibition of one’s beauty and pursuit of others’ admiration. Posting selfies/groupies is associated with narcissism and need for popularity. […]

Instagram selfies and groupies symbolize social media users’ public display of narcissism. From an evolutionary psychological perspective on the renovated hierarchy of fundamental human motives and needs, this study examined the interaction effects of Instagram photo types (selfies, group selfies, long-shot photos taken by others, and neutral photos) and Instagram peer viewers’ individual difference factors (intrasexual competition [ISC] for mates, need for popularity [NfP], loneliness, and need to belong [NtB]) on intersexual attraction. […]

The findings confirmed the assumption that a potential mate who posts selfies and groupies is perceived by opposite-sex viewers to be more narcissistic compared to a potential mate who posts neutral photos.

{ Evolutionary Psychology | Continue reading }

photo { Thierry Mugler, Monster Show, Elle US, November 1991 }

First, the meditator explains why he will doubt. Second, he gives an account of the way he will go about doubting. Third, he engages in the activity of doubting. Fourth and finally, he reflects on the power of habitual opinions and their tendency to resist doubt.

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GPT-2 is trained with a simple objective: predict the next word, given all of the previous words within some text. […] GPT-2 displays a broad set of capabilities, including the ability to generate conditional synthetic text samples of unprecedented quality, where we prime the model with an input and have it generate a lengthy continuation. […]

SYSTEM PROMPT (HUMAN-WRITTEN)
In a shocking finding, scientist discovered a herd of unicorns living in a remote, previously unexplored valley, in the Andes Mountains. Even more surprising to the researchers was the fact that the unicorns spoke perfect English.

MODEL COMPLETION (MACHINE-WRITTEN, 10 TRIES)
The scientist named the population, after their distinctive horn, Ovid’s Unicorn. These four-horned, silver-white unicorns were previously unknown to science. Now, after almost two centuries, the mystery of what sparked this odd phenomenon is finally solved. […] While examining these bizarre creatures the scientists discovered that the creatures also spoke some fairly regular English. Pérez stated, “We can see, for example, that they have a common ‘language,’ something like a dialect or dialectic.” Dr. Pérez believes that the unicorns may have originated in Argentina, where the animals were believed to be descendants of a lost race of people who lived there before the arrival of humans in those parts of South America.While their origins are still unclear, some believe that perhaps the creatures were created when a human and a unicorn met each other in a time before human civilization. According to Pérez, “In South America, such incidents seem to be quite common.”

{ Open AI | Continue reading }

related { The technology behind OpenAI’s fiction-writing, fake-news-spewing AI, explained }

more { Japanese scientists used A.I. to read minds + NONE of these people exist | Thanks Tim }

quote { Who is Descartes’ Evil Genius? }

Who’ll search for Find Me Colours now on the hillydroops of Vikloefells?

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The problems of darknet markets have triggered an evolution in online black markets. […]

Instead of using websites on the darknet, merchants are now operating invite-only channels on widely available mobile messaging systems like Telegram. This allows the merchant to control the reach of their communication better and be less vulnerable to system take-downs. To further stabilize the connection between merchant and customer, repeat customers are given unique messaging contacts that are independent of shared channels and thus even less likely to be found and taken down. Channels are often operated by automated bots that allow customers to inquire about offers and initiate the purchase, often even allowing a fully bot-driven experience without human intervention on the merchant’s side. […]

The other major change is the use of “dead drops” instead of the postal system which has proven vulnerable to tracking and interception. Now, goods are hidden in publicly accessible places like parks and the location is given to the customer on purchase. The customer then goes to the location and picks up the goods. This means that delivery becomes asynchronous for the merchant, he can hide a lot of product in different locations for future, not yet known, purchases. For the client the time to delivery is significantly shorter than waiting for a letter or parcel shipped by traditional means - he has the product in his hands in a matter of hours instead of days. Furthermore this method does not require for the customer to give any personally identifiable information to the merchant, which in turn doesn’t have to safeguard it anymore. Less data means less risk for everyone.

{ Opaque | Continue reading }

photo { Weegee }

‘Never talk when you can nod and never nod when you can wink and never write an e-mail, because it’s death.’ –Eliot Spitzer

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“Connecting” online once referred to ways of communicating; now it is understood as a means of digital totalization, typically euphemized as objects becoming “smart.” Each data-collecting object requires a further smartening of more objects, so that the data collected can be made more useful and lucrative, can be properly contextualized within the operation of other objects. You can’t opt in or out of this kind of connectedness.

{ Rob Horning/Real Life | Continue reading }

‘There are some people who choose for whatever reason to handcuff themselves to the Titanic,’ said John Weaver, an adviser to Ohio Gov. John Kasich

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Ghosting, or avoiding technologically-mediated contact with a partner instead of providing an explanation for a breakup, has emerged as a relatively new breakup strategy in modern romantic relationships. […]

Distinct differences between ghosting and direct strategies suggest developments in technology have influenced traditional processes of relationship dissolution.

{ PsyArXiv | Continue reading }

‘If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun.’ –Shakespeare

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As an advanced research topic in forensics science, automatic shoe-print identification has been extensively studied in the last two decades, since shoe marks are the clues most frequently left in a crime scene. […] A large variety of handcrafted features have been used for automatic shoe-print identification. These features have shown good performance in limited and controlled scenarios. Unfortunately, they fail when they are dealing with large intra-class variations caused by the noise, oc- clusions, rotation and various scale distortions. A good alternative to these conventional features are the learned ones, e.g. deep learning, which have more generalization ability in more complicated scenarios. To be effective, these models need to be trained on a large amount of data.

{ arXiv | PDF }

ballin’ out of control

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[T]hough air travel is safer than it has ever been, the intervening time has not provided an enormous upgrade of our ability to track aircraft far from land-based radar. […]

[O]ver international waters, air traffic controllers have no real-time knowledge of where planes are—they rely on flight plans, radio contact with pilots, and a system called ACARS that provides what is effectively text-message communication between planes and ground stations. […]

In 2010, the FAA mandated that all US aircraft would need to use a system called ADS-B, which means “Automatic Dependent Surveillance—Broadcast.” Essentially, by 2020, aircraft are required to broadcast their location, derived from GPS, each second. […]

However, ground receivers need to be within about 172 miles (277 km) of the aircraft to collect ADS-B signals. Out over the ocean, there’s still a knowledge gap between the planes and the air traffic controllers they can’t reach. […]

The solution: more satellites.

Specifically, Aireon has installed payloads on 75 Iridium satellites that have been launched over the past two years, with the final installment reaching orbit in a SpaceX rocket on Jan. 11. These payloads are designed to detect ADS-B signals wherever they are broadcast, whether over the open ocean or a mountain range, finally providing continuous tracking of aircraft anywhere on Earth. The satellites are already processing more than 13 billion ADS-B messages each month. […]

For airlines themselves, the benefits will include using that real-time traffic management to fly faster, in part because they will be able to fly more closely to other planes, which will cut fuel costs (and emissions).

{ Quartz | Continue reading }

etching { Damien Hirst, Cinchonidine, 2004 }

‘In its essence, technology is something that man does not control.’ –Heidegger

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AI-generated videos that show a person’s face on another’s body are called “deepfakes.” […]

Airbrushing and Photoshop long ago opened photos to easy manipulation. Now, videos are becoming just as vulnerable to fakes that look deceptively real. Supercharged by powerful and widely available artificial-intelligence software developed by Google, these lifelike “deepfake” videos have quickly multiplied across the Internet, blurring the line between truth and lie. […] A growing number of deepfakes target women far from the public eye, with anonymous users on deepfakes discussion boards and private chats calling them co-workers, classmates and friends. Several users who make videos by request said there’s even a going rate: about $20 per fake. […]

Deepfake creators often compile vast bundles of facial images, called “facesets,” and sex-scene videos of women they call “donor bodies.” Some creators use software to automatically extract a woman’s face from her videos and social-media posts. Others have experimented with voice-cloning software to generate potentially convincing audio. […]

The requester of the video with the woman’s face atop the body with the pink off-the-shoulder top had included 491 photos of her face, many taken from her Facebook account. […] One creator on the discussion board 8chan made an explicit four-minute deepfake featuring the face of a young German blogger who posts videos about makeup; thousands of images of her face had been extracted from a hair tutorial she had recorded in 2014. […]

The victims of deepfakes have few tools to fight back. Legal experts say deepfakes are often too untraceable to investigate and exist in a legal gray area: Built on public photos, they are effectively new creations, meaning they could be protected as free speech. […]

Many of the deepfake tools, built on Google’s artificial-intelligence library, are publicly available and free to use. […] Google representatives said the company takes its ethical responsibility seriously, but that restrictions on its AI tools could end up limiting developers pushing the technology in a positive way. […]

“If a biologist said, ‘Here’s a really cool virus; let’s see what happens when the public gets their hands on it,’ that would not be acceptable. And yet it’s what Silicon Valley does all the time,” he said.

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

Technical experts and online trackers say they are developing tools that could automatically spot these “deepfakes” by using the software’s skills against it, deploying image-recognition algorithms that could help detect the ways their imagery bends belief.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s high-tech research arm known as DARPA, is funding researchers with hopes of designing an automated system that could identify the kinds of fakes that could be used in propaganda campaigns or political blackmail. Military officials have advertised the contracts — code-named “MediFor,” for “media forensics” — by saying they want “to level the digital imagery playing field, which currently favors the manipulator.”

The photo-verification start-up Truepic checks for manipulations in videos and saves the originals into a digital vault so other viewers — insurance agencies, online shoppers, anti-fraud investigators — can confirm for themselves. […]

However, the rise of fake-spotting has spurred a technical blitz of detection, pursuit and escape, in which digital con artists work to refine and craft evermore deceptive fakes. In some recent pornographic deepfakes, the altered faces appear to blink naturally — a sign that creators have already conquered one of the telltale indicators of early fakes, in which the actors never closed their eyes. […] “The counterattacks have just gotten worse over time, and deepfakes are the accumulation of that,” McGregor said. “It will probably forever be a cat-and-mouse game.”

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

Newman and I are reversing the peepholes on our door so you can see in

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An electronic synapse that fires millions of times faster than the ones in your brain could be used to build artificial neural networks.

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A clinical trial of drugs called mTOR inhibitors found that they boosted elderly people’s immune systems, potentially extending their life spans. Another trial in progress is testing senolytics, drugs that eliminate the senescent cells that make aging bodies break down.
[…]

A team that built a brain-to-brain communication device in 2015 has now expanded it to three people, paving the way for larger groups to transmit thoughts directly to one another.

[…]

An ordinary smartphone can be used to track people on the other side of a solid wall by detecting how their movements distort the signals from any Wi-Fi transmitters in the area.

{ Technology Review | Continue reading }

image { Google hires camel for desert Street View, 2014 }

P.P., don’t carry that weight

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Active, polymorphic material (“Utility Fog”) can be designed as a conglomeration of 100-micron robotic cells (‘foglets’). Such robots could be built with the techniques of molecular nanotechnology […] The Fog acts as a continuous bridge between actual physical reality and virtual reality.

{ NASA | Continue reading }

photo { Joel Meyerowitz, Times Square, New York City, 1963 }

Said I wouldn’t mention Sisqo, fuck he’s a bum

After 4 hours of training, AlphaZero became the strongest chess entity of the planet with an estimated ELO of around 3,400.

{ AlphaZero vs Stockfish 8 | ELO ratings of chess players }

more { How AlphaZero quickly learns each game [chess, shogi, and Go] to become the strongest player in history for each }

related { The ability to distort reality has taken an exponential leap forward with “deep fake” technology. We survey a broad array of responses. | Previously: Researchers can now detect AI-generated fake videos with a 95% success rate }

‘The love of stinking.’ –Nietzsche

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{ aversion | panic | Thanks Tim }

related { Dick Stain Donald Trump got zero comments for the Stock Market Drop }