Broadcast Engineer at BellMedia, Computer history buff, compulsive deprecated, disparate hardware hoarder, R/C, robots, arduino, RF, and everything in between.
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OpenAI releases larger GPT-2 dataset. Can it write fake news better than a human?

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OpenAI has released a more extensive version of its generative language model.

We’re releasing the 774 million parameter GPT-2 language model after the release of our small 124M model in February ...

2. Humans can be convinced by synthetic text. Research from our research partners Sarah Kreps and Miles McCain at Cornell published in Foreign Affairs says people find GPT-2 synthetic text samples almost as convincing (72% in one cohort judged the articles to be credible) as real articles from the New York Times (83%). Additionally, research from AI2/UW has shown that news written by a system called “GROVER” can be more plausible than human-written propaganda. These research results make us generally more cautious about releasing language models

Blockquoted below is something I just had it make (using Talk to Transformer, which has been updated with the new dataset.)

I wrote the first (bolded) paragraph. GPT-2 wrote the rest.

Former Democratic presidential candidate and United States Senator Hillary Clinton was arrested today and charged on four counts of conspiracy, one count of fraud, and one count of lying to Federal investigators.

The details of the case are detailed below.

A Brief Overview of the Case

On June 2, 2014, Clinton (pictured) admitted to FBI agents that, on June 23, 2013, she, and others, had conspired with other political figures to take "official action" in response to a series of negative articles which she wrote in the Washington Times and other outlets.

The following is a summary of Clinton's admission:

Secretary Clinton used the Washington Post as her de facto personal email account and for the official State Department email account. It is important to note that the Federal Records Act (FRA) requires, as a condition for releasing government records, that the subject matter of the records be protected from public disclosure. The State Department records in question pertained to public and official business conducted in the United States Government. The FBI's investigation revealed that on July 2, 2009, Secretary Clinton sent

Hillary Clinton of The Washington Times! GPT-2 has a better sense of humor than any fake news I ever read.

This is amazing generative prose. But it's still not as good as anything even the dumbest human grifters can and do churn out. No-one familiar with newswriting tropes would be convinced for a second, and I suspect that even the legendary Facebook Boomers are harder to fool than the hype suggests.

The danger of GPT-2 is not fake news as sharable, influential longform but as social media chum in brief: imagine a flood of more convincing bots making human actions harder to measure, goosing the "engagement" of emotionally vulnerable users while deflating the value of those interactions. This is the more straightforward "problem" presented by advanced machine bullshit.

Another way of putting it: generative writing is not threatening further political anguish. It's threatening the advertising value of social media platforms that exploit it.

Nevertheless, GPT-2 is like nothing else in machine intelligence. Here I fed it a paragraph of condensed Cormac McCarthy, which it elaborates upon perfectly in-voice, but slowly segueing to a Hallmark movie:

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tekvax
9 hours ago
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Burlington, Ontario
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This footage of New York in 1993 will make you miss New York in 1993

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Manhattan in the early nineties, captured on what must have at the time been an unusually high-def camera.

The uploader of this incredible archival B-roll footage said to be of New York in 1993 says they captured it off of “a D-Theater HD DVHS Demo Tape by techmoan.com.

It's pretty incredible.

I miss this NYC.

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tekvax
9 hours ago
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Burlington, Ontario
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Microsoft contractors listened to Xbox audio recordings of children in their homes, to improve voice command

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Contractors who worked for Microsoft say that in the course of their work, they listened to Xbox users' voice recordings, including recordings that were invoked by children accidentally, to improve Microsoft's techFind voice command technology.

That's right.

Many of the unintentionally made audio recordings were of children.

Being listened to by adult strangers outside of the home.

Reports Joseph Cox at VICE:

Contractors working for Microsoft have listened to audio of Xbox users speaking in their homes in order to improve the console’s voice command features, Motherboard has learned. The audio was supposed to be captured following a voice command like “Xbox” or “Hey Cortana,” but contractors said that recordings were sometimes triggered and recorded by mistake.

The news is the latest in a string of revelations that show contractors working on behalf of Microsoft listen to audio captured by several of its products. Motherboard previously reported that human contractors were listening to some Skype calls as well as audio recorded by Cortana, Microsoft’s Siri-like virtual assistant.

"Xbox commands came up first as a bit of an outlier and then became about half of what we did before becoming most of what we did," one former contractor who worked on behalf of Microsoft told Motherboard. Motherboard granted multiple sources in this story anonymity as they had signed non-disclosure agreements.

The former contractor said they worked on Xbox audio data from 2014 to 2015, before Cortana was implemented into the console in 2016. When it launched in November 2013, the Xbox One had the capability to be controlled via voice commands with the Kinect system.

Microsoft Contractors Listened to Xbox Owners in Their Homes

[photos of kid playing Xbox, SHUTTERSTOCK]

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tekvax
9 hours ago
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Burlington, Ontario
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Unintentionally funny voice-over-IP demo from 1978

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In 1978, researchers were conducting early experiments in group teleconferencing using packet switching over the ARPANET, which became the basis of the Internet. These "packet speech systems" evolved into the VoIP that we know and love (?) today. Above is a 1979 video from the USC Information Sciences Institute of an experiment involving a "dramatization" of a group teleconference. As /r/ObscureMedia user jetRink posted, "The meeting participants are late, unprepared and frustrated, the audio quality is terrible and nothing is accomplished except the scheduling of another meeting."

Just like today!

For more on this, see Stanford University professor Robert Gray's "History of LPC Digital Speech and its impact on the Internet Protocol."

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tekvax
3 days ago
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Burlington, Ontario
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Create your robot army with these Arduino and Raspberry Pi kits

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It's a great time to be a maker. 3D printers are on store shelves for anyone to buy, and coder kits like Arduino and Raspberry Pi are letting kids as young as 9 or 10 dive into the Internet of Things. Here are a few examples of our favorite tech toys, all priced low enough that even a mad scientist in training can afford them.

RoboxDual™ 3D Printer

This workhorse printer is designed to get you creating right out of the box with an impressive dual-head system that allows you to print with two materials at once. Operation is clean and safe for even first-time students, and there are no stray strings on your design thanks to nozzles that cut off the flow of material before pulling away. Pick up the RoboxDual™ 3D Printer for $449.99, almost 70% off the list price.

 

Toybox 3D Printer Deluxe Bundle

Here's one toybox that won't ever run out of toys. Designed for kids but full-featured, this 3D printer gives you access to a catalog of blueprints and the option to upload your own inventions to a companion app. The Toybox 3D Printer Deluxe Bundle is now $314.99, more than 30% off the original cost.

Elecrow Raspberry Pi 3 Starter Kit

Raspberry Pi systems are already a great introduction to computers and DIY gadget-making, and this kit makes that intro even more painless. The LCD touchscreen and multiple display modes allow you to surf the web your way, from scratch. Grab an Elecrow Raspberry Pi 3 Starter Kit now for $108.

SunFounder Raspberry Pi Robot Kits

If this were just a remote control car, the included wide-angle USB webcam would make it worth the price. But this infinitely tweakable car also comes with a Raspberry Pi board and Python code, which makes for years of tinkering. You can get the SunFounder Raspberry Pi Robot Kit for $139.99, down 6% from the list price.

Arduino Automatic Smart Plant Watering Kit 2.0

Instead of talking to your plants, let your plants talk to the moisture sensors in this DIY electronics kit. It comes with a pump, water switch and all the components you need to make a failsafe irrigator for your houseplants. Right now, the Arduino Automatic Smart Plant Watering Kit 2.0 is sale priced at $69.

SunFounder Robotic Arm Edge Kit for Arduino

Easy to build and easy to use, this gadget is a great start to your robot army. Control it through your PC, or directly through dials that rotate the arm through 4 axes of movement. One simple press of a memory button, and you can program it to do a variety of repetitive tasks. Pick up the SunFounder Robotic Arm Edge Kit for Arduino for $54.99, a full 21% off retail.

Crowtail NodeMCU Internet of Things Kit

The 30 modules in this pack can create laser pointers, moisture sensors and more with the lessons inside the included guide book, but the sky's the limit. There's also an ESP8266 WiFi module with a Crowtail interface that allows you to really unlock the kit's IoT potential once you've mastered the easy and interactive walkthroughs. Get started with the Crowtail NodeMCU Internet of Things Kit for only $89.

DIY Bionic Robot Lizard

Forget RC cars. This robot lizard is an original way to learn robotics by way of the Sunflower Nano board and included software. Get your DIY Bionic Robot Lizard for $54.99, more than 15% off the list price.

Complete Raspberry Pi 3B+ Starter Kit & Course Bundle

Here's the perfect entry into Raspberry Pi's 3B+ model. You'll get the board itself, 37 sensors and three courses that teach you how to use all of them to their full potential, including home automation through Amazon's Alexa. The Complete Raspberry Pi 3B+ Starter Kit & Course Bundle is now $139.99, a 68% discount.

The Complete Arduino Starter Kit & Course Bundle

Arduino's full-featured electronics kit comes with the ultimate guide here: Six courses that offer hands-on projects and resources. By the end of the boot camp, you'll have not only a full understanding of DIY electronics but a cool robot or two to show for it. Previously sale priced at $109.99, the Complete Arduino Starter Kit & Course Bundle is now $89.99, 85% off the original cost.

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tekvax
4 days ago
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Burlington, Ontario
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10 essential pocket-sized tech items you'll use everyday

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Your phone doesn't have to be the only smart piece of tech in your pocket. We regularly take pens, lighters, and wallets for granted, but here are 10 portable items that improve on those everyday bits of gear and others just like them.

TEC Accessories The Orbiter™ Pinstripe Magnetic Fidget Device

Tired of that same old fidget spinner? This two-piece sensory device involves a magnetic ball that rotates a grade 5 titanium hub, providing continuous, hypnotic movement that you can control and enjoy. And with a nano-composite microlayer, you can be sure it's more durable than typical spinners. TEC Accessories' The Orbiter™ Pinstripe Magnetic Fidget Device is now $29.99, a full 55% off the list price.

Geekey Multi-Tool

Open and closed wrench, a screwdriver, bit driver, wire bender and even a smokeable pipe are just a few of the uses of this multi-tool. It's TSA-compliant, and it's roughly the size and shape of a regular key, so it goes with you wherever your keychain does. The Geekey Multi-Tool is now $22.99, down 58% from the original cost.

EverRatchet Ratcheting Keychain Multi-Tool

The emergency fire flint kit makes this pint-sized multi-tool especially useful for the outdoors, but the wire stripper and 7(!) wrenches make it a lifesaver around the house as well. Get the EverRatchet Ratcheting Keychain Multi-Tool for $24.99, a 10% break off the MSRP.

Pry.Me Bottle Openers

It may be billed as the world's tiniest bottle opener, but this grade 5 titanium tool can hold 164,000 times its own weight. More importantly, it's instantly accessible on your keychain while taking up no more space than a penny. Your pack of Pry.Me Bottle Openers is now sale priced at $10.99.

Collective Carry Glowing Vials

No more fumbling for keys in the dark. Expose it to just 10-15 minutes of sun and this luminous vial is good to glow all day, providing a workable light on your keychain, in your car or wherever it's needed. These Collective Carry Glowing Vials are now $21.99, a 37% discount from retail.

TEC Accessories Ti-Pry Titanium Pry Bar: Pocket Edition

A simple lever has historially been one of mankind's most useful tools. This mini-pry bar is made of titanium, making it handy as a lever, screwdriver, box opener and even a glass breaker in a pinch. Pick up the TEC Accessories Ti-Pry Titanium Pry Bar: Pocket Edition now for $44.95, a 4% discount off the original price.

Omega AXL Inkless Pen

It doesn't get much more eco-friendly than this innovative pen which lays down trace amounts of a metal alloy instead of ink, making it effectively useable forever. As a fringe benefit, the lines don't smudge or erase. The Omega AXL Inkless Pen is priced at $29.99, down a full 25% from the MSRP.

Fantom 10 Quick Access Slim Wallet

This super-thin home for your credit and debit cards is less of a wallet and more of a holster. It holds 6-10 cards and can fan them out for use with a single flick of the wrist. Get the Fantom 10 Quick Access Slim Wallet for $49, more than 35% off the list price.

Plazmatic VEO Flameless USB Lighter

Stop wasting cash and planetary resources on butane refills or disposable lighters. This flameless push-button lighter is good for up to 100 uses on a single charge, and you can even use it in heavy winds. The Plazmatic VEO Flameless USB Lighter is $36.99, down from the previous sale price of $43.99 and 37% off the original cost.

TEC Accessories Ko-Axis™ Rail Pen

Magnetic actuators make this durable pen easy to refill, and the flat, wide design makes it easy to use. We love the smooth way it writes without rolling, too. Get your own TEC Accessories Ko-Axis™ Rail Pen for $129, a 7% break off the retail price.

 

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tekvax
8 days ago
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Burlington, Ontario
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