A Google intern's BigGAN AI makes super realistic images
“truncation trick” to create even more realistic images. This lowers the random numbers that the generator uses to create its images, essentially telling it to focus on getting really good at one type of image–like that of a cocker spaniel staring right at you–rather than generating a bunch of other types of images of cocker spaniels....“The bad news is that it used roughly enough energy to power Cleveland for the afternoon.”
biggan  gan  ai  machine-learning  images  google  DeepMind  data  energy 
18 hours ago
Ford CEO frankly admits that the car of the future is a surveillance device that you pay to spy on you / Boing Boing
The issue in the vehicle, see, is: We already know and have data on our customers. By the way, we protect this securely; they trust us,” Hackett said. “We know what people make. How do we know that? It’s because they borrow money from us. And when you ask somebody what they make, we know where they work, you know. We know if they’re married. We know how long they’ve lived in their house because these are all on the credit applications. We’ve never ever been challenged on how we use that. And that’s the leverage we got here with the data.”
cars  driverless  data  surveillance 
18 hours ago
Did you mean, "male lawyer"? On language translators and gender bias | Privacy SOS
“Dear Doctor” translated to “Querido Doctor,” masculine. “Hairdresser” translated to “peluquero” because, of course, only men are hairdressers. Housekeeper translated to “ama de casa,” which basically means “housewife.”
ai  gender  google  bias  language  translation 
Busy Philipps Talks ‘Trauma’ of Her ‘Blades of Glory’ Credit
As she anticipated, Craig fully attributed the idea of Blades of Glory to his brother Jeff, completely eliminating Philipps’ contributions. “That’s not what happened. I read that and I lost my shit,” she continued. “I sent him some very intense text messages and we had an exchange and he profusely apologized and he got Nerdist to change it.
2 days ago
Google Wants to Kill the URL | WIRED
the team is mulling its most controversial initiative yet: fundamentally rethinking URLs across the web.
2 days ago
Revisiting Mike Davis' case for letting Malibu burn
created not for “love of the great outdoors or frontier rusticity,” but rather as “thickets of privacy” against L.A.’s working classes and people of color.
california  wildfires  housing  development 
5 days ago
Privacy advocates sound the alarm after Google grabs DeepMind UK health app - The Verge
“At this stage our contracts have not moved to Google and nothing has changed in terms of where the data we process is stored. Nothing changes until Trusts consent and undertake any necessary engagement, including with patients.”
privacy  health  google  ai 
5 days ago
Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis - The New York Times
zuck: 60 percent of the voting shares

//“We’re not going to traffic in your personal life,” Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said in an MSNBC interview. “Privacy to us is a human right. It’s a civil liberty.” (Mr. Cook’s criticisms infuriated Mr. Zuckerberg, who later ordered his management team to use only Android phones, since the operating system has far more users than Apple’s.)//
facebook  sesta 
5 days ago
Paradise Town Council meets, shattered by fire’s devastation but doing its duty - SFChronicle.com
Chico City Hall, where a white sticker was smoothed onto a first-floor office door that read: “Paradise Town Hall.”
california  community  government  wildfires 
5 days ago
Cooperation or Resistance?: The Role of Tech Companies in Government Surveillance - Harvard Law Review
Facebook received 32,716 requests for information from U.S. law enforcement between January 2017 and June 2017.1×
1. Government Requests: United States, January 2017–June 2017, Facebook: Transparency Rep., https://transparency.facebook.com/country/United%20States/2017-H1/ [https://perma.cc/LMH4-XB5N].
Show More
These requests covered 52,280 user accounts and included 19,393 search warrants and 7632 subpoenas.2×
2. Id.
In the same time period, Google received 16,823 requests regarding 33,709 accounts
surveillance  law  privacy  platforms 
5 days ago
At Netflix, Who Wins When It’s Hollywood vs. the Algorithm? - WSJ
"Some shows at risk of being canceled due to poor performance have gotten a reprieve because Netflix doesn’t want to damage relationships with key producers or actors." A useful deep dive into Netflix's internal debates over analytics vs. cred.
netflix  streaming  hollywood 
6 days ago
How David Mackenzie Salvaged Outlaw King After a Disastrous Premiere | IndieWire
“Outlaw King” that Netflix subscribers will get to see this Friday — the only “Outlaw King” the public will ever know — is a vivid reminder that good movies are often hiding inside bad ones
film  editing 
10 days ago
Opinion | The Newest Jim Crow - The New York Times
what’s taking the place of cash bail may prove even worse in the long run. In California, a presumption of detention will effectively replace eligibility for immediate release when the new law takes effect in October 2019. And increasingly, computer algorithms are helping to determine who should be caged and who should be set “free.”..mass incarceration itself was unimaginable just 40 years ago and that it was born partly out of well-intentioned reforms — chief among them mandatory sentencing laws that liberal proponents predicted would reduce racial disparities
prison  incarceration  algorithms  racism 
11 days ago
Buses, carpools stay idle in Dodge City as vote-suppression fears fail to materialize
“The national story doesn’t really appear to be the real story on the ground," said Edgar Pando, a Dodge City attorney who provides legal aid to low- and middle-income Kansans. "People sort of extrapolated a meaning that wasn’t there, outside looking in, and that seems to be the general consensus.”

As of early afternoon, only about 10 or 15 voters mistakenly showed up to the old Civic Center polling station in Dodge City, where get-out-the-vote organizers loitered in an empty parking lot, bashfully waiting for someone to help...The problem wasn’t a lack of buses. The problem is that the area’s Latino population has been “disenfranchised,”
midwest  voting  politics  elections 
12 days ago
Dystopias Now • Commune KIM STANLEY ROBINSON
I’ve been saying that science fiction works by a kind of double action, like the glasses people wear when watching 3D movies. One lens of science fiction’s aesthetic machinery portrays some future that might actually come to pass; it’s a kind of proleptic realism. The other lens presents a metaphorical vision of our current moment, like a symbol in a poem. Together the two views combine and pop into a vision of History, extending magically into the future.
dystopia  criticism  sci-fi 
14 days ago
LinkedIn co-founder says tech companies shouldn't be afraid of chaotic growth - CNN
Hoffman, who co-founded LinkedIn and was one of Facebook's first investors, details in his new book "Blitzscaling" how companies must continue to grow at chaotic speeds and take on risks to not only survive but evolve into modern, massive companies like Airbnb, Facebook and Uber.
linkedin  silicon-valley 
16 days ago
The CIA's communications suffered a catastrophic compromise
According to the former intelligence official, once the Iranian double agent showed Iranian intelligence the website used to communicate with his or her CIA handlers, they began to scour the internet for websites with similar digital signifiers or components — eventually hitting on the right string of advanced search terms to locate other secret CIA websites.
google  security  infosec  cia 
17 days ago
What happened to all the women in science fiction? - Chicago Tribune
Yaszek said Campbell and his circle of writers and proponents helped erect the glass ceiling that science fiction still wrestles with today. She said stories and ideas in his magazine were “stylistically sophisticated” — she doesn’t discount his hand in the development of a more thoughtful, literary approach to sci-fi — but in the end, Campbell constructs an anti-feminist cadre that turns off more female writers than it hires, discouraging many from the business. Later, when old issues become harder to find — this was pre-internet, remember — the best-known authors became the writers who appear in anthologies, often edited by those same editors who would exclude women.
sci-fi  fiction  gender 
17 days ago
How Facebook Failed To Build A Better Alexa (Or Siri)
The omission points to Facebook’s broader difficulties in turning innovative technology into products
alexa  facebook  voice  ai 
19 days ago
How Congress could rein in Google and Facebook - The Verge
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) put out a white paper listing several suggestions for regulating tech, including one that would consider platforms as “information fiduciaries.” Basically, this would reclassify providers as bodies similar to those belonging to medicine, law, and finance, requiring social media platforms like Facebook to not act against the interests of its users.
internet  ethics  regulation  gdpr  facebook  congress  data 
19 days ago
Tales from the gig economy: Real people, real stories | HeraldScotland
What Alan experienced is something campaigners call bogus self-employment – a growing phenomenon in the UK where employers bring someone on as self-employed but treat them as if they were a member of staff. That means they get none of the perks of being staff – they have to pay their own tax and national insurance, and they don’t get sick pay or holiday pay – but all of the drawbacks. “When the bosses said jump, we had to say ‘how high?’,”Alan said
23 days ago
Apple’s Radical Approach to News: Humans Over Machines - The New York Times
They largely chose from a list of contenders compiled that morning by three editors in New York who pored over the home pages and mobile alerts of national news sites, as well as dozens of pitches from publications.
apple  news  media 
25 days ago
Larry Krasner’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration | The New Yorker
“They are being forced to look back on their entire careers and say to themselves, Did I get it all wrong as a prosecutor? Have I gotten it all wrong as a judge? All these years coming down with twenty-five years when it should’ve been ten? And ten when it could’ve been two?” ...each time a prosecutor wanted to send somebody to prison, he had to calculate the cost of that imprisonment (an estimated forty-two thousand dollars per inmate per year), state it aloud in court, and explain the “unique benefits” of the punishment.
philadelphia  law  crime  justice  prisons 
27 days ago
The Ghost Story Persists in American Literature. Why? - The New York Times
ghost stories are never just reflections. They are social critiques camouflaged with cobwebs; the past clamoring for redress. The writer Philip Ball has described traditional ghosts as social conservatives who enforce norms — the visitors to Ebenezer Scrooge, for example, or the ghost of Hamlet’s father, who protests the horror of his murder as well as the offense of it
horror  ghosts  books 
27 days ago
The Archivists of Extinction | Kate Wagner
What I take issue with is that the criteria established by historic preservation has become the de facto standard by which we measure the significance, both emotional and cultural, of a building’s loss. And, what’s worse, these criteria are informed by historic preservation’s role as a project of moneyed institutions, whether they be museums, cultural centers, nonprofit organizations, universities, or governments, whose power has allowed them to play an outsize role in the shaping of architectural history
architecture  history  preservation  institutions 
28 days ago
Uber's testing a new 'on-demand labor' service, like a temp agency
Uber Works is testing in Chicago and would offer on-demand staffing for events and corporate functions, according to the person, who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak about the pilot.
uber  labor 
4 weeks ago
"Write a Sentence as Clean as a Bone" And Other Advice from James Baldwin | Literary Hub
Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent—which attitude certainly has a great deal to support it. On the other hand, it is only because the world looks on his talent with such a frightening indifference that the artist is compelled to make his talent important.
writing  advice 
4 weeks ago
Opinion | Eight Stories of Men’s Regret - The New York Times
I have never forgotten the look on her face: she seemed at once hurt, disappointed, indignant, and bewildered. Seeing her expression, I was seized with remorse for what I’d done, although I had not the courage to confess and apologize, then or later.
assault  contrition  metoo 
4 weeks ago
We Are All Research Subjects Now - The Chronicle of Higher Education
political terrain can shift beneath researchers’ feet. They are not the only arbiters of what the public, or their own research subjects, will accept. A bold research agenda, even a celebrated one, can swiftly be derailed by ethical missteps. The SSRC-Facebook collaboration might draw that lesson from the 1960s, too.
facebook  ethics  academia  consent  methodology 
5 weeks ago
Opinion | As the Internet Splinters, the World Suffers - The New York Times
There’s a world of difference between the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, known commonly as G.D.P.R., and China’s technologically enforced censorship regime, often dubbed “the Great Firewall.” But all three spheres — Europe, America and China — are generating sets of rules, regulations and norms that are beginning to rub up against one another. What’s more, the actual physical location of data has increasingly become separated by region, with data confined to data centers inside the borders of countries with data localization laws... If the future of the internet is a tripartite cold war, Silicon Valley wants to be making money in all three of those worlds.
data  global  gdpr  china 
5 weeks ago
Opinion | When Your Boss Is an Algorithm - The New York Times
When something does go wrong, Uber drivers can’t tell the boss or a co-worker. They can call or write to “community support,” but the results can be enraging. Cecily McCall, an African-American driver from Pompano Beach, Fla., told me that a passenger once called her “dumb” and “stupid,” using a racial epithet, so she ended the trip early. She wrote to a support rep to explain why and got what seemed like a robotic response: “We’re sorry to hear about this. We appreciate you taking the time to contact us and share details.”
uber  gig-economy  labor 
5 weeks ago
Gig Workers Rising on Twitter: "As a group of Uber drivers attempted to enter @Uber HQ to deliver 3k petition signatures calling on the company to change its unfair deactivation policies, security grabbed one of the drivers and threw him to the ground.…
As a group of Uber drivers attempted to enter @Uber HQ to deliver 3k petition signatures calling on the company to change its unfair deactivation policies, security grabbed one of the drivers and threw him to the ground.
uber  gig-economy  labor 
5 weeks ago
residency re-imagined | sara hendren
It’s also worth reminding residency organizers of what may seem counterintuitive: that people like me can get a lot of work done in two weeks’ time. I think the inherited idea of a residency is that protracted, uninterrupted time is key for quality creative work—like, who can really get stuff done in two weeks?
5 weeks ago
The Magic Leap Con
Augmented and virtual reality stories are catnip for tech journalists; they set an easy scene with a gripping lede: I’m staring up at a massive blue whale, and I swear it could swallow me whole—but it’s all in my goggles, etc.
media  vr 
5 weeks ago
Free Speech in the Age of Algorithmic Megaphones | WIRED
These small, coordinated groups have deliberately gamed algorithms so that a handful of voices can mimic a broad consensus. We’ve seen online harassment used to scare people into self-censorship, chilling their speech and eliminating those perspectives from the debate. Fake likes, shares, comments, and retweets trigger algorithms into thinking that a piece of content is worthwhile or interesting, leading to that content appearing in the feeds of millions.
virality  algorithms 
5 weeks ago
Guest Blogger: Amanda Levendowski - "How can we learn about the AI systems that might be used to surveil us? The federal trademark register has answers" — AI Initiative
It’s impossible for the public to engage in discourse about whether an AI system is fair, accountable, transparent or ethical if we don’t know that an AI system is being used to watch us—or if we don’t know the technology exists at all.
ai  policy  ethics  transparency  accountability 
5 weeks ago
Kurt Vonnegut on the Role of Artists in Society
Writers are specialized cells doing whatever we do, and we’re expressions of the entire society — just as the sensory cells on the surface of your body are in the service of your body as a whole. And when a society is in great danger, we’re likely to sound the alarms. I have the canary-bird-in-the-coal-mine theory of the arts. You know, coal miners used to take birds down into the mines with them to detect gas before men got sick. The artists certainly did that in the case of Vietnam. They chirped and keeled over. But it made no difference whatsoever. Nobody important cared. But I continue to think that artists — all artists — should be treasured as alarm systems.
quotes  inspiration 
5 weeks ago
Universal Basic Income Is Silicon Valley’s Latest Scam
To my surprise, the audience seemed to share my concerns. They’re not idiots, and the negative effects of their operations were visible everywhere they looked. Then an employee piped up with a surprising question: “What about UBI?”

Wait a minute, I thought. That’s my line
silicon-valley  ubi 
5 weeks ago
Hellfire: this is what our future looks like under climate change | World news | The Guardian
When you compare photos of the hypocenter of that nuclear blast with the excoriated ground just south of the Hartmans’ property, they are hard to tell apart.
wildfires  california  environment 
5 weeks ago
Orthodoxxed! | Online Only | n+1
My initial reaction, triggered by long-dormant Sokal Hoax antibodies, was to become outraged at the political motivations and damaging anti-academic effects of the project. But of course this only plays into the hands of the hoaxers, to whom indignation and charges of unethical conduct from the targets only reveal how effective the hoax actually was. In an article published two years before the Sokal Hoax, the decidedly unpostmodern science writer Jim Schnabel surveyed a range of historical scientific hoaxes (that is, those specifically intended to expose putatively fraudulent methodology) and concluded that they all unfold in roughly the same order. The hoax is perpetrated; the target replies that the hoax did not in fact challenge their competence and, besides, was ethically dubious; the hoaxer ridicules the target for their defensiveness; and the educated public makes a decision based not on the scientific merits of the hoax but on the relative orthodoxy of the hoaxer and hoaxee
academia  trolls 
5 weeks ago
A posthumous honor for the man who saved the world - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Stanislav Petrov chose to ignore the Soviet early-warning detection system, which had erroneously indicated five incoming American nuclear missiles. With his decision to ignore algorithms and instead follow his gut instinct, Petrov helped prevent an all-out US-Russia nuclear war,
war  nuclear  soviet  ai  broken 
6 weeks ago
Frank talk with Lady Gaga - Page 2 - latimes
Gaga has done something more specific: She's tapped into one of the primary obsessions of our age -- the changing nature of the self in relation to technology, the ever-expanding media sphere, and that sense of always being in character and publicly visible that Gaga calls "the fame" -- and made it her own obsession, the subject of her songs and the basis of her persona.
lady-gaga  aughts  social-media 
6 weeks ago
Lady Gaga Isn’t Done Shape-Shifting Yet - The New York Times
She read Andy Warhol’s books and realized that what most people want, when they dream of fame, is not necessarily wealth or power but limitlessness: the ability to change. So many artists start out gritty and homegrown but calcify into hardened personae over time; when Lady Gaga adopted her new name (sometime around 2006, most likely from a Queen song), she decided to flip the formula. What if she began with the character, and the character was the physical embodiment of flux? What if she never wore the same outfit twice, or gave an interview out of costume, or claimed to be a paragon of creative authenticity?
fame  lady-gaga  aughts 
6 weeks ago
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