From the frontiers of content creation, we bring news in the longstanding war between man and machine. Or, in this particular case, animators versus software. Researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and the University of Washington are developing artificial intelligence software, dubbed “Composition, Retrieval and Fusion Network” (or CRAFT for short), that allows a user to generate a new video scene composed of graphic elements extracted from a library of preexisting video scenes by simply typing out a description of the new scene (e.g., “Fred is wearing a blue hat and talking to Wilma in the living room. Wilma then sits down on a couch.”). See here for those that prefer academic papers and here for those that prefer videos.
In this roundup, some of your favorite initialisms (AI, IP, TOS) come out to play while stories about government agencies and social media access call into question whether such access is a two-way street.
- There’s a wiki for terms of service agreements. (Arielle Pardes, Wired)
- Qualcomm introduces its first chip built for augmented and virtual reality. (Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge)
- Microsoft’s HoloLens guides the blind through complicated buildings. (Rachel Metz, MIT Technology Review)
- 23andMe sues Ancestry over some very old intellectual property. (Megan Molteni, Wired)
- Law enforcement officials continue to push for more access to social media data. (Halley Freger, ABC News)
- YouTube stars criticize the platform for testing an algorithm at their expense. (Chris Foxx, BBC.com)
- Softback prepares to scale up its robotics business. (Parmy Olson, Forbes)
- PUBG files an infringement suit against Fortnite in South Korea. (Yuji Nakamura and Sam Kim, Bloomberg News)
- Apple introduces new controls to help users maintain screen-time/life balance. (Sarah Perez, TechCrunch)
- The city of Colorado Springs ventures briefly into a gray area as it blocks multiple users on social media accounts. (Anthony Prosceno/Tony Keith, KKTV 11News)
Recent technology news provides its usual mix of hope, distractions and hand-wringing-worthy developments. (Granted, one of these items is not so much “news” as an ever-present truth about TOS.)
- How design’s tricks of the trade separate users from their privacy on the internet. (Ariel Bogle, ABC Science)
- “Restore discs” created by e-waste innovator are ruled to have infringed on Microsoft IP. (Tom Jackman, Washington Post)
- Investigators mined a genealogy website to aid in finding the Golden State killer … is that a privacy issue or just good sleuthing? (Antonio Regalado, MIT Technology Review)
- The same algorithm that helps spot “face swaps” in video can be used to make more sophisticated fake videos. (MIT Technology Review)
- The arduous task of cleaning up Fukushima falls to robots (and the humans who guide them). (Vince Beiser, Wired)
- Studies confirm what we all know about who reads terms of service. (David Berreby, The Guardian)
- Oculus experiments with virtual reality as immersive theater. (Joan E. Solsman and Scott Stein, c|net)
- Fitbit continues push into health care devices by taking to the cloud. (Brian Heater, TechCrunch)
- Malaysian court sentences man over the posting of fake news. (Reuters/The Guardian)
- Could augmented reality transform the way you … play board games? (Christina Bonnington, Slate)
- Artificial intelligence unlocks the “angst-ridden teen” achievement in poetry it writes. (Dan Robitzski, Futurism)
As developments in artificial intelligence transform the business plans (and in some cases, the very identity) of industries, they also inevitably trigger the need for those industries that serve a supporting role to adapt in response. This is certainly true of the legal profession, and it’s also a given for the insurance industry. As is so often the case in life, with enough new wrinkles, there’s usually a good bit of gray. In Artificial Intelligence: A Grayish Area for Insurance Coverage, our colleague Ashley E. Cowgill explores some of the gray areas in insurance coverage created by the continued evolution and widening application of AI.
For all the talk of artificial intelligence and the benefits to be found in the related field of machine learning, there are also plenty of practical issues that companies on both sides of the vendor/client relationship will need to resolve. We recently examined one of these questions in the post, “Come Harvest Time, Who Owns the Fruits of Machine Learning” on Pillsbury’s SourcingSpeak blog.
Recent developments in deep learning artificial intelligence have enabled almost anyone to superimpose facial features—including an entirely different face—into a preexisting video with relatively minimal effort. Until very recently, editing facial features in a video has been incredibly difficult. Even movie studios with access to professional video editing tools have struggled with the task as recently as in 2017, when actor Henry Cavill—portraying everyone’s favorite son of Krypton—sported a mustache he was contractually unable to remove during reshoots, leading to a widely criticized post-production digital shave. Because of the inherent difficulty in convincingly manipulating video to appear realistic, the public has widely been trusting of video’s authenticity while viewing still photos more skeptically. With recent developments in artificial intelligence, this thinking must now change.
Artificial intelligence is a transformative technology–or existential threat, depending on what futurist/sci-fi author you read–that will leave few if any industries untouched when all is said and done. Still, no matter how transformed your particular business landscape, most companies that decide they need to employ AI probably won’t be AI companies themselves, which means using third-party vendors. Colleague Tim Wright has prepared some pointers on how to maximize the benefits when dealing with such vendors while minimizing the downsides (and cutting through the sales hype) on Pillsbury’s Sourcing Speak blog. “How to Buy AI: Ten Top Tips for Buying Automation Technologies” looks at some key best practices to adopt when structuring and negotiating your AI contracts.
Three years after Elon Musk announced in his famous “All Our Patent Are Belong To You” blog post that Tesla would be opening all of its patents to the public, he tweeted a recommendation of Max Tegmark’s recent book Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence—which just happens to allude to a not-too-distant future world in which, based on current patent law, all inventions might be free and open to the public. In this story, superhuman general artificial intelligence is secretly created by humans, and its creation began the end of human invention.
Niantic looks to the Potterverse for its next potential AR blockbuster, Instagram’s ToS don’t travel so well in Germany, Google gives VR and AR app developers a new tool, holograms may help our memories outlive us, and more!