Weekly Web Harvest for 2024-01-21

  • Excavating AI
    The contrast between Magritte and the physiognomists’ approach to representation speaks to two very different conceptions of the fundamental relationship between images and their labels, and of representation itself. For the physiognomists, there was an underlying faith that the relationship between an image of a person and the character of that person was inscribed in the images themselves. Magritte’s assumption was almost diametrically opposed: that images in and of themselves have, at best, a very unstable relationship to the things seem to represent, one that can be sculpted by whoever has the power to say what a particular image means. For Magritte, the meaning of images is relational, open to contestation. At first blush, Magritte’s painting might seem like a simple semiotic stunt, but the underlying dynamic Magritte underlines in the painting points to a much broader politics of representation and self-representation.

  • Did an AI write that hour-long “George Carlin” special? I’m not convinced. | Ars Technica
    At this point, we’re all used to countless examples of people trying to pass off AI-generated content as human-made. This, I think, is something rarer and more interesting: A Victor/Victoria-style situation where a human is imitating an AI that is imitating another human.
  • Poachers Who Shot 100-Plus Ducks Over Bait Posted Pile Pics, Got Caught
    A weird mix of social media and trail cameras.

    “I figured they probably got tipped off and had seen me going in on adjoining property, because cameras were everywhere,” says Goszka, who describes the investigation as a mixture of old-fashioned bootwork and new technology. “We ended up getting enough information to execute a search warrant, got the target’s phone, and from there the targets confessed. We had all the pictures and text messages. The federal government got involved and the targets turned more evidence in and the rest fell into place … When you get into peoples’ cell phones, you find all kinds of information.” 

  • Overview of GAN Structure  |  Machine Learning  |  Google for Developers
    With a structure like this, I’m not sure how AI detection of AI would ever work. I think that any improvement in detection would seem to result in an improvement in generation.
  • On the internet, nobody knows you’re a human – The Verge
    For Danisha Carter, a TikToker who shares social commentary, speculation about whether or not she was a human started when she had just 10,000 TikTok followers. Viewers started asking if she was an android, accusing her of giving off “AI vibes,” and even asking her to film herself doing a CAPTCHA. “I thought it was kind of cool,” she admitted over a video call.

  • AI girlfriends are here – but there’s a dark side to virtual companions | Arwa Mahdawi | The Guardian
    Quartz went on to note that “the AI girlfriend bots go against OpenAI’s usage policy … The company bans GPTs ‘dedicated to fostering romantic companionship or performing regulated activities’.”

    Flooding is a little bit of an exaggeration for what’s going on. I’d say the term “moderate smattering” is rather more accurate. There are about eight or so “girlfriend” AI chatbots on the site including Judy; Secret Girlfriend Sua; Your AI Girlfriend, Tsu and Your girlfriend Scarlett.

    What exactly do these chatbots do? Well, whatever you like – within the realms of a computer interface. Your girlfriend Scarlett, for example, describes itself as “Your devoted girlfriend, always eager to please you in every way imaginable”. They chat to you and simulate a relationship. While digital girlfriends tend to get all the headlines, there are also male versions. The GPT store includes chatbots like Boyfriend Ben, for example: “A caring virtual boyfriend with a flair for emojis.”

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