Last Week in AI News #78
Among the actors threatening our information landscape are bots, poised with incendiary comments and politically divisive language to change opinions and put social media users on edge. Indeed, generating enough activity around any piece of controversial content is enough to coax social media algorithms into showing that content to enough people to inspire very real responses. Since June, a pro-China propaganda campaign has been posting videos critical of the Trump administration on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Using AI-generated images, the pro-China group has crated fake accounts to share and comment on its content to increase circulation. While fake accounts created by humans are relatively straightforward to unmask, AI-generated images cannot be reverse-searched the same way real photos can. While the pro-China group’s videos were clumsily made, its tactics are indicative of the possibility for much more worrying information campaigns in the future.
The infamous facial recognition provider Clearview AI has consistently made headlines in the past few months for its aggressive scraping of people’s images from social media sites, its refusal to cease and desist, and its worrying array of customers beyond law enforcement. Months after scrutiny of Clearview’s privacy practices began, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has signed a contract with Clearview for “mission support.” While Clearview promised to stop giving access to its facial recognition software to private companies, Clearview has been under continued scrutiny and was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. But Clearview’s new partner is hardly more virtuous:
ICE is known to use facial recognition technology; last month, The Washington Post reported the agency, along with the FBI, had accessed state drivers’ license databases — a veritable facial recognition gold mine, as the Post termed it — but without the knowledge or consent of drivers. The agency has been criticized for its practices at the US southern border, which has included separating immigrant children from their families and detaining refugees indefinitely.
Advances & Business
How participants in the Alexa Prize Grand Challenge 3 approached the competition - Human beings are social creatures, and conversations are what connect us–they enable us to share everything from the prosaic to the profound with the people that matter to us.
Here’s why Apple believes it’s an AI leader–and why it says critics have it all wrong - Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) now permeate nearly every feature on the iPhone, but Apple hasn’t been touting these technologies like some of its competitors have.
Millions of Americans Have Lost Jobs in the Pandemic - And Robots and AI Are Replacing Them Faster Than Ever - For 23 years, Larry Collins worked in a booth on the Carquinez Bridge in the San Francisco Bay Area, collecting tolls. The fare changed over time, from a few bucks to $6, but the basics of the job stayed the same: Collins would make change, answer questions, give directions and greet commuters.
Stopping deepfake news with an AI algorithm that can tell when a face doesn’t fit - Artificial intelligence (AI) contributes significantly to good in the world. From reducing pollution to making roads safer with self-driving cars to enabling better healthcare through medical big-data analysis, AI still has plenty of untapped potential.
Driverless Cars Gain Speed, Despite Global Slowdown - Automakers Volkswagen, Ford, and General Motors are betting billions that autonomous driving will get us moving again. The shock of losing air travel and public transportation has proven one sector of the American workforce to be especially resilient: the road warriors.
New AI Dupes Humans into Believing Synthesized Sound Effects Are Real - Using machine-learning, AutoFoley determines what actions are taking place in a video clip and creates realistic sound effects.
Photoshop Will Help ID Images That Have Been … Photoshopped - Adobe’s photo-editing flagship Photoshop is so successful that the brand is a synonym for digital fakery.
Taming the Tail: Adventures in Improving AI Economics - AI has enormous potential to disrupt markets that have traditionally been out of reach for software. These markets–which have relied on humans to navigate natural language, images, and physical space–represent a huge opportunity, potentially worth trillions of dollars globally.
A college kid’s fake, AI-generated blog fooled tens of thousands. This is how he made it. - At the start of the week, Liam Porr had only heard of GPT-3. By the end, the college student had used the AI model to produce an entirely fake blog under a fake name. It was meant as a fun experiment. But then one of his posts found its way to the number-one spot on Hacker News.
DoD enters into $106 million contract for AI environment - The Defense Department is beginning work on a self-contained environment where coders can test and validate artificial intelligence to be used by the military as a whole.
Michigan plans to redesign a stretch of road for self-driving cars - Michigan announced Thursday that it’s teaming with tech and auto companies to attempt to retrofit a roughly 40-mile stretch of two roads outside Detroit exclusively for self-driving vehicles.
Concerns & Hype
Meet the computer scientist and activist who got Big Tech to stand down - Joy Buolamwini got Jeff Bezos to back down. In June, Amazon announced that it was issuing a moratorium on police use of its controversial facial recognition software, called Rekognition, which it had sold to law enforcement for years in defiance of privacy advocates.
AI bias and the problems of ethical locality - In this post I argue that attempts to reduce bias in AI decision-making face two ‘ethical locality’ problems.
Police built an AI to predict violent crime. It was seriously flawed - A flagship artificial intelligence system designed to predict gun and knife violence before it happens had serious flaws that made it unusable, police have admitted.
Government paid Vote Leave AI firm to analyse UK citizens’ tweets - Privacy campaigners have expressed alarm after the government revealed it had hired an artificial intelligence firm to collect and analyse the tweets of UK citizens as part of a coronavirus-related contract.
Researchers find ‘inconsistent’ benchmarking across 3,867 AI research papers - The metrics used to benchmark AI and machine learning models often inadequately reflect those models’ true performances.
Would You Trust a Lawyer Bot With Your Legal Needs? - Artificial intelligence can help write small-claims court filings, leases and more, but some law professors urge caution.
What Happens When AI is Used to Set Grades? - How would you feel if an algorithm determined where your child went to college?
Can we move beyond the AI hype to defend human rights? - From October 2019 to July 2020, I was hosted by Access Now as a Mozilla Fellow. During this time, I worked on a project to develop resources to counter the hype, misconceptions, myths, and inaccuracies about artificial intelligence.
Problematic study on Indiana parolees seeks to predict recidivism with AI - Using AI to uncover ‘risky’ behaviors among parolees is problematic on many levels. Nevertheless, researchers will soon embark on an ill-conceived effort to do so at Tippecanoe County Community Corrections in Indiana.
The Quiet Growth of Race-Detection Software Sparks Concerns Over Bias - More than a dozen companies offer artificial-intelligence programs that promise to identify a person’s race, but researchers and even some vendors worry it will fuel discrimination.
Analysis & Policy
Facial recognition has been used unlawfully and violated human rights, Court of Appeal rules in landmark case - A British police force violated human rights by unlawfully using facial recognition technology, the Court of Appeal has ruled in a landmark case.
Expert Opinions & Discussion within the field
Do You Trust Artificial Intelligence? - No Trust - No Use? Trust seems like the lasting, kind of mysterious, competitive edge. Since AI holds great promises (as well as dangers though), tech-companies and AI enthusiasts are especially concerned about how to build trust in AI to foster adoption or usage.
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