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Daily Archives: July 30, 2020

AI-Generated Text Is the Scariest Deepfake of All

Wired: “When pundits and researchers tried to guess what sort of manipulation campaigns might threaten the 2018 and 2020 elections, misleading AI-generated videos often topped the list. Though the tech was still emerging, its potential for abuse was so alarming that tech companies and academic labs prioritized working on, and funding, methods of detection. Social platforms developed special policies for posts containing “synthetic and manipulated media,” in hopes of striking the right balance between preserving free expression and deterring viral lies. But now, with about three months to go until Nov. 3, that wave of deepfaked moving images seems never to have broken. Instead, another form of AI-generated media is making headlines, one that is harder to detect and yet much more likely to become a pervasive force on the internet: Deepfake text. Last month brought the introduction of GPT-3, the next frontier of generative writing: an AI that can produce shockingly human-sounding (if at times surreal) sentences. As its output becomes ever more difficult to distinguish from text produced by humans, one can imagine a future in which the vast majority of the written content we see on the internet is produced by machines. If this were to happen, how would it change the way that we react to the content that surrounds us?…

Google Maps now reminds users in the U.S. to wear a mask before going out

Neowin: “Tech giants have been constantly providing information from health authorities regarding ways to help curb the spread of COVID-19 as well as reminders to practice the minimum health standards amid the pandemic. Google, for example, has already been working with local publishers to highlight COVID-19 updates in its News app and Google Maps added… Continue Reading

A small federal agency focused on preventing industrial disasters is on life support

Vox: “That agency, the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, investigates accidents and makes recommendations — but it doesn’t regulate the industry. Since 1998, it has looked into some of the nation’s biggest industrial disasters, including the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout, which killed 11 workers and dumped an estimated 4 million barrels of oil into… Continue Reading

Hackers Broke Into Real News Sites to Plant Fake Stories

Wired – A disinfo operation broke into the content management systems of Eastern European media outlets in a campaign to spread misinformation about NATO. “Over the past few years, online disinformation has taken evolutionary leaps forward, with the Internet Research Agency pumping out artificial outrage on social media and hackers leaking documents—both real and fabricated—to… Continue Reading

Libraries lend books, and must continue to lend books

Internet Archive responds to publishers’ lawsuit: “Yesterday, the Internet Archive filed our response to the lawsuit brought by four commercial publishers to end the practice of Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), the digital equivalent of traditional library lending. CDL is a respectful and secure way to bring the breadth of our library collections to digital learners.… Continue Reading

Age Discrimination across the Business Cycle

Age Discrimination across the Business Cycle. Gordon B. Dahl Matthew M. Knepper. NBER Working Paper No. 27581. Issued in July 2020: “A key prediction of discrimination models is that competition in the labor market serves as a moderating force on employer discrimination. In the presence of market frictions, however, recessions create excess labor supply and… Continue Reading

Americans Who Mainly Get Their News on Social Media Are Less Engaged, Less Knowledgeable

“Those who rely on social media for news are less likely to get the facts right about the coronavirus and politics and more likely to hear some unproven claims. The rise of social media has changed the information landscape in myriad ways, including the manner in which many Americans keep up with current events. In… Continue Reading

Report highlights shell company loophole that could be abused by foreigners who want to interfere in U.S. elections

Issue One: “Shell companies that give money to super PACs could be conduits for foreign money in the 2020 election, warns a new report published today by Issue One. Under current law, super PACs are permitted to collect contributions of unlimited amounts, but must disclose their donors. In some cases, their campaign finance disclosures list… Continue Reading