Alchemical Intelligence

Ali Rahimi, a researcher in artificial intelligence (AI) at Google, took a swipe at his field last December—and received a 40-second ovation for it. Speaking at an AI conference, Rahimi charged that machine learning algorithms, in which computers learn through trial and error, have become a form of “alchemy.” Researchers, he said, do not know why some algorithms work and others don’t. Without deep understanding of the basic tools needed to build and train new algorithms, he says, researchers creating AIs resort to hearsay, like medieval alchemists. Jeff and Anthony are ready for the 24k gold robots.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Face/On

Last month, Motherboard reported on a Redditor using deep learning technology to map female celebrities’ faces onto pornographic performers, with startlingly lifelike results. By scanning a bunch of images of a celebrity’s face, the software was able to imagine what they’d look like grafted into a given video—a powerful technology being used in one of the worst possible ways. The technology also opens up the door to a very near future in which we won’t be able to trust video evidence—long the gold standard, at least in the court of public opinion. Someone decided to use this technology for it’s absolute worst use: superimposing Nicholas Cage into every film ever made.  More Details/Download MP3 →