More Bezosism, Nixon deepfakes, and more: THE WEEKLY RECAP (2021#40)

Quite a lot going on this week. Massive leaks, Nobel prizes, deepfakes, Facebook being shamed everywhere… let’s start.

Can you tell the difference? Does it really matter?

Cool technology being shown by the people at MIT. Of course, deepfakes are not something new, and this one in particular is not over the top in quality (at some point people will start training the algorithms to move the forehead and the eyebrows in a natural way). Anyway, besides the technology, I liked the discussion about the use people are making of these tools. On the one hand, you have organizations trying to build systems to make mute people able to use their voice again (which is amazing). On the other, you have people putting celeb faces on porn videos, and making famous people tell lies on YouTube.

It really makes me think about how, for many many years, when a new regime wanted to control people, they used to change the history books. Nowadays, people consume most of their information in video format, through the internet. I guess we are not so far away from governments spamming famous people spreading fake news everywhere, with a quality that would be extremely difficult to grasp for the human eye. If it is hard to fight against fake news from random people on Facebook, what will happen when first line politicians/scientists will be the ones spreading misinformation?

A Nixon Deepfake, a ‘Moon Disaster’ Speech and an Information Ecosystem at Risk, on scientific american

Facebook vs the world

This week the Senate hold a hearing about Facebook, and a whistleblower throw a lot of shit on the fan about how the company algorithms work. The underlying idea, as everyone should know already, is that the only thing Facebook wants is for you to spend as much time as possible on the platform, sharing as much posts/information as possible, even if you spread fake news and hurt people, because that is what provides them huge amounts of money. I recommend the piece the people at MIT tech review wrote:

The Facebook whistleblower says its algorithms are dangerous. Here’s why., on the MIT technology review

CO2 removal, the shell game?

Quite an interesting piece on Nature about the plans from Microsoft to go zero-net emissions before 2030. With all these projects, I always wonder if ‘undoing’ your emissions is the right call, or generating technology with zero emissions should be the prior. Of course, at some point you have to undo all the emissions you did in the last centuries. However, I cannot help but think about how seeding trees to remove CO2 during the following decades will do nothing when those same forests disappear before balancing your emissions. Also, it is a very naïve way of solving a problem: I remove CO2 from the atmosphere and I store it on the biosphere, creating a problem for future generations (who will need to find a way to clean the biosphere). Anyway, at least they are doing something, I guess.

Microsoft’s million-tonne CO2-removal purchase — lessons for net zero, on nature

Science images of the month

Seahorse with mask

I’ll keep posting these as long as they keep doing them.

Space jellyfish and subterranean robots — September’s best science images, on nature

See you space cowboy

Another week, another story about how it is impossible to win huge amounts of money without being a total prick that does not care about the wellbeing of others. People working 24/7 so I can ride through space? Why not.

Blue Origin’s ideas to mimic SpaceX sound pretty brutal for employees, on the verge

Twitch being pwned by 4chan

Besides a lot of code and internal information about the company (which apparently was not a big deal, as it was quite old), the leak included the numbers for how much money people have been winning on the platform. I guess everyday is clearer why the Amazon Prime subs will stop working at Twitch sooner than later.

Will Youtube become a real competitor at any point? What’s clear to me is that all these fuzz is paving the way for multiple services to stand up and generate a blooming field for streamers, which I’d say its a good thing.

Twitch source code and creator payouts part of massive leak, on the verge

Twitch confirms hack after source code and creator payout data leaks online, on techcrunch

And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!

404, Robotaxis, and more: THE WEEKLY RECAP (2021#29)

OnE wEeK uNtIl HoLiDaYs. LET’S GO!

Trump or gangbang?

Funny story of the week. It seems that an old YouTube competitor was storing many videos for different media outlets. This is fine, except when the service dies and the domain is sold to a porn website. After that, you start having porn videos instead of your news archive. Very nice side-read about the fragility of the internet on the atlantic piece, too.

A Defunct Video Hosting Site Is Flooding Normal Websites With Hardcore Porn, on vice
The Internet Is Rotting, on the atlantic

Powered by you

Literally. Well, being more precise, powered by your sweat. I did not know this kind of research was being done, so I was greatly surprised by it. While the amount of energy is not super big, it seems that we will be able to charge many interesting biometric devices in the near future without worrying about cables.

Your sweaty fingertips could help power the next generation of wearable electronics, on science

Portable gaming never dies

The playdate is coming! honestly I always loved portable consoles much more than their bulky counterparts, so this new wave of devices is something I cannot help but look closely. The most interesting thing about this one, at least for me, is that it has some strong limitations (1-bit display), but also some unique input (the crank). This kind of stuff is what generates unique videogames, so I can’t wait to see what people does with it.

Playdate hands-on: a Game Boy from a different dimension, on theverge

Some thoughts about driverless cars

Very nice read on the different technologies behind one of the hottest topics nowadays (automatic driving). I cannot lie, I would be so happy to see all the mega corporations fail to predict the best solution to the problem… anyway, still not sure at all their approach is not the right one. Time will tell. BTW, there are also a bunch of interesting comments in the comment section of the article, for those of you who are interested.

Robotaxis: have Google and Amazon backed the wrong technology? on financial times

You guys paid for all this

It should not surprise me anymore, but I still get amazed at how much these guys are disconnected from reality.

And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!