Facebook Bans Deepfakes-But Not Other Fake Videos; Galaxy Chromebook Bows; Lenovo ThinkBook Plus; Waymo-20 Million Public Road MilesPosted: January 7, 2020
The good news: Facebook has banned deepfakes. The bad news…they won’t ban other fake videos, NOT made with the AI used to make deepfakes. 9to5mac.com reports that the platform will at least spare us seeing the super realistic fake videos that can analyze how peoples’ faces move when they talk and mimic the movement needed for any word. Deepfakes can create fake videos from chopped up sound clips of an actual person or utilize an impressionist to create videos that are hard to tell from actual video made of the person. The tech has existed at least since 2017, when University of Washington used to to create a fake Obama speech. Because only the Deepfake AI tech videos are banned, we will still be bombarded with videos and pictures made with normal editing tools…like the fake video doctored to make Speaker Pelosi appear to slur her words that appeared earlier. Maybe more than politicians…deepfakes really freak out actors and actresses…which can be made to appear in fake porn videos doing things they would never do…at least in front of a camera.
Samsung rolled out a Galaxy Chromebook at CES. It’s a great looking machine, but at $999 starting price, pretty sky high for a Chromebook. It does come with a 13.3 inch AMOLED display, and a 10th gen Intel Core i5 processor. According to theverge.com, there’s a fingerprint sensor for unlocking, a pair of USB-C ports, and expandable storage via micro-USB. The screen rotates 360 degrees, and an S-Pen is included, which has a handy storage slot. At least for the almost thousand bucks, it’s aluminum, and not plastic. Besides the price point, this box won’t be for everyone….it comes in a bright red orange!
Lenovo showed off a number of new laptops at CES, but one was a bit of a surprise. Engadget.com notes that it’s the ThinkBook Plus. It comes with a 13.3 inch matte full HD IPS display, a single USB-C Gen 2 port, a couple standard USB ports, and and HDMI out. the rig can be spec-ed out with up to a 10th ten Core i7 processor, up to 16 gigs of RAM, and 512 gigs of storage. That’s all cool, but on top of it, there’s a 10.8 inch touch sensitive E-Ink display on the back of the screen! If you want to check an email or your calendar, you can do it without opening up your device at all (although you can’t edit the calendar or reply to email.) You can use the 2nd display to jot down notes with a stylus in OneNote. You can also talk to Alexa over the E-Ink screen. The demo version had to be touched to activate it…Lenovo says on release, you will be able to talk to Alexa as you normally would. No pricing was given at CES.
Google self-driving car division Waymo has announced that its cars have now driven over 20 million miles over public highways, and been run through tens of billions of miles in computer simulations. According to venturebeat.com, the roadway driving has mainly taken place in Novi, Michigan, Kirkland, Washington, and San Francisco. The public miles is double what Waymo had racked up just a year ago! For comparison, Yandex and Baidu both claim to have driven about a million miles each, and GM’s Cruise division says it’s on the verge of hitting a million miles a month with their autonomous test cars. Not everyone is impressed…Uber claims miles driven doesn’t mean much without context like location…a sentiment shared by the Department of Transportation. Way did pass 1500 monthly active riders in December, and has now hauled over 100,000 since launching its programs in 2017.