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Ciao Gentaglia! Welcome back on Breaking Italy
Let's talk about technology
I've got to admit, I'm noticing a change in my attitude
Now, I want you to lie. Go in the comment section and write about how i'm NOT getting old
And NO, even if everyone grows up, and becomes an adult
and inevitably resigns to a life spent between home and the work place
with the occasional needed interval to watch tv and drink some beer
and the occasional night out, but not til late because it costs to pay the babysitter
and Sundays spent sleeping in, to wash the car and take a trip
but not too far away, for we don't want to get too tired since we have to back to work on Monday
No, that definetly won't happen to me
I'm not getting old, I'm forever young
Can you do that for me? Write it in the comments? Thank you
Thing is, far too often I realise that when a new technology comes up
I still feel, as I've always had, the adrenaline rush that comes from seeing something new and its potential to break the previous balance of things
But
I also often find myself thinking about just how badly technology could be used
about its potential harmful uses
Because it's either my age or the internet, which has completely ruined my youthful naiveté
THIS technology can be used very badly
A Canadian startup named Lyrebird
announced in the past days its first product:
a series of algorithms that allows to clone someone's voice
using Deep Learning and Artificial Neural Network systems
that are, to put it simple, the kind of things we are programming artificial intelligences to do:
Observe and Learn
The development of these technologies is actually not news
Google Deep Mind, for instance, amazed many
When last year they showed they were able to artificially generate a pretty convincing, even if not perfect, speaking voice
And Adobe, the Photoshop guys, is long since developing a software
Which, just like Photoshop, allows to easily alter audio files
Making people that never said certain things, say whatever you want them to
for the software analyses up to 20 minutes of the original voice
That's it
According to the company's announcements (that have to be taken with a grain of salt, but I'll show you the result in a minute and is really impressing)
it will be possible to obtain this kind of result with only 60 seconds of listening,
for something that, for now, and we're still at the beginning, sounds like this
You can hear something's wrong, but the voices are quite convincing
Even more so, this software is supposedly able to change each word's inflection
making the sentence unique, just like it would be if the words were pronounced by a human being
which, unlike a machine, does not repeat them always in the same way
Except if he's a Youtuber making the intro for a video
For that, science has no answers
Now, there's two interesting things to say
1. The company's intention is to distribute APIs
which means, very approximately explained, allowing other programmers
to develop the software, potentially opening it to countless uses
2. There will be no distribution control
Free use, like public toilet, or a bench in the park, or a parking lot for disabled people
All things which exist for everyone to use them as they feel best inclined
Super interesting
It will allow, for instance, a glorious advancement in the fanfiction field on Tumblr
in which star Harry Potter charachters and Youtubers
They could maybe become audiobooks
What a time to be alive, I can't wait to listen to them
But potentially, this kind of things can be used also very badly
the very same programmers admitted it on their webpage
citing, among other things, the ability to make a politician say whatever you want,
create false evidence to use in court, and so on
Add to that the scary advancement of other technologies,
as those that allow to recreate a look on someone's face
Have you ever seen it?
It's clear why these fears stand some ground
They make sense
Ok, there we enter the softcore fan made videos field
with Yotobi and The Show that will tell each other romantic things and kiss
Youtube Community please, don't disappoint me on this
I actually don't really fear this type of use
As it's known images can be modified with Photoshop
and with an analysys is possible to identify the original one
It's not like in court anyone would see one of the many edits people make of me
and go like " Confirmed! He is the Genie of the Lamp as clearly proved by evidence n.3
Case closed, let's go home"
I think it's quickly going to be public domain
That people will be able with a software to make everyone say whatever they want
As we already do with images
What worries me instead is the opposite
We're talking from the fake news issue perspective
Let's pretend this software is already an established thing,
something already popular among the majority of the population
just like Photoshop, or clinical depression cases, or genital mycosis
Equally distributed among society
Let's pretend they find a real, truly happened phone call
which frames Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin and leaves no room for doubt:
between the russian leader and the american president when he was still just a candidate
there was an agreement to sabotage the elections
It would be something dead serious
A scandal so big it would be talked about for years
Unless
In a world in which people believe only what they want to
Putin and Trump say " It's all fake"
"What about the voices in the recordings?" "Synthetic. Our political opponents created them with that software"
There's no evidence
And even if there was, even if console experts analysed the audio and said
" Yup, it's all true, 100%"
How easy would it be to state that they are corrupted, and so the journalists
and all the politicians that would immediately activate the impeachment procedures and so on?
Is this idea really absurd?
Keeping in mind that, in order to watch the various ships between Youtubers come to life, it'd say it's a risk we can take
Obviously
And since we're talking about technology, let's stick on the track of "SHY ready to retire in an isolated cottage on the countryside
ECO, Amazon's assistant
Or Alexa. Some call the assistant not with the name of the object (ECO), but with the AI's name
It's all very complicated
It's like when I talk with journalists over 30 and struggle hard to explain them what I do
"No, Shooter Hates You it's MY name, Breaking Italy is THE SHOW'S name, hosted on a channel also called Breaking Italy
That's right, I am not Breaking Italy. I am Alessandro, Shooter Hates You.
No, SHY is an acronym
Stop, interview canceled, go make a software record it
There you go, you can animate this image
*funny voice* bla bla bla, canederli, bla
Amazon presented the new ECO, Luke
whose trailer only stars women.
I'm throwing this consideration at you, make whatever you like out of it
Luke is a different version of ECO, which is also equipped with a sort of webcam
To take pictures of outfits and fashion videos
And that will absolutely never be used to record pornos in dimly lit rooms
It's a software that should be able to give fashion advice
You take a picture with an outfit, then with an other outfit,
and then instead of picking one yourself, you ask the programme to do it for you
and it will make a decision based on fashion trends, chromatic matches and other misterious things I guess
On the cloud
Because your pictures, in absolute safety, dear American actresses whose pics never have been seen by everyone who has ever turned on a computer in the last two years,
go on the Cloud, a remote computer
there they are analysed by the fashion algorithms
And then sent back
$199
Ah what a time to be alive
Born too late to explore the world but too early to explore the universe
But at the perfect time to read headlines like this one
"Zara: Denim skirt withdrawn from all shops and the online store: here's why"
And here's the reason why
Zara apparently decided to copy from the internet
I'm not accusing them, but they've previously been accused of doing the exact same thing
Because what is an artist's work after all?
I can do that in five minutes with Photoshop
But apparently, if they did copy, they did it wrong
introducing an hate and social discrimination symbol
Nazi Germany's flag
No, just kidding. I meant
the Confederate flag
No no, this neither. I'm lying.
They produced shorts... brace yourselves
With Pepe the frog
And people got pissed, and they had to withdraw them
Cool.
I can't wait to be an old man, sat on an armchair, with my conscience transferred into an AI
(I don't know how things will be when I will be old, in 4 or 5 years)
and explain to my grandchildren the battles my generation went trough to defeat racial hate symbols
such as the Feels Good Frog
It will be epic
About videos, there's an amazing one about Guy Verhofstadt
member of the European Parliament, Liberal and very pro-EU
known in Italy because of the deal with the Grillinis (members of the 5 stars movement, ndt)
which tried to enter his Euro-group, and then after being rejected also due to the numerous protests
came back and claimed to have scared the enstablishment.
Now I, regardless of his opportunistic turnabout
and regardless of his political views which are not what I'm talking about at the moment,
really like Verhofstadt.
I like him
And that's because he's very straightforward in expressing his opinions
and yet never relies on cheap populism or insults anyone
I think it's a rare quality, in an era in which in politics many clap at others' burps
One that many politicians lost.
The other star of the story is Victor Orban.
Orban is Hungary's PM
which is a EU state and he's often accused of worsening Hungary's democratic situation
and of having excessively increased his powers
diminishing at the same time the oppositions' chances to contrast him
and media's freedom
Stories like this we never hear lately, really
One of the things he did was approving a very criticised and controversial law
Officially aimed at fining private universities for irregularities
but that many claim was specifically made to damage one in particular
the Central European University, in Budapest, wich counts 1400 students
and financed by George Soros, the billionaire and philantropist
at the centre of essentially every conspiracy from a few years up to now
The University, which is the only one damaged by these new rules, which is a bit strange,
is now risking closure
and many stress how this appears not to be by chance
The two of them are not on good terms
and Orban has been critic towards the Human Rights associations financed by Soros
which are active in Hungary and are opposed to the uncompromising approach of the government
regarding manly immigration policies.
Okay, now that you've got context, the video is interesting. You can find the link in the description box
It's nice to see how Verhofshtadt reminds Orban of his political past
About his definetly more democratic approach
and about his relationship with Soros, definetly better than the current one
And everything at a 3 meters' distance from him, looking him in the eye, but ever again, without descending in populism
I found it interesting, it also made me laugh a bit, and it seems like I'm not the only one who appreciated it
So I want to share it with you :)
On the last note, I wanted to end on a sort of not-news
it's becoming a Thursday-thing
I mean, there is a news, and it made noise yesterday
Davide Vannoni, ex psychology teacher
and later guru of alternative-fake medicine,
you will probably remember the discussed stamina-method
which was later discovered to be a super creative way of taking desperate people's money,
was arrested in Turin, accused of having recreated his whole business abroad
or to be ready to do it, it's not clear
All's well that ends well
but I think it's important that we don't forget the deal with the stamina method
In the past, we've already tackled the issue of scientific divulgation in Italy
we've talked about how it encounters countless problems
because it's often sided by an emotional recount of things
which is done at a journalistic level.
On one hand, you have the scientific community, often cold, detached, professors and divulgators, which are considered to be on "this side of the barricade"
But on the other hand you have a story about a lone scientist, with a big heart, rejected by the arrogant researches
which finds a miraculous method that none of those professionals care about because they wouldn't get the same profits
The story always goes like this
And it's a nice story to sell, because people like this kind of stuff
But there's the risk of doing enormous damage
Just like in this case.
Now, everyone happens to be wrong
and I don't want to make the list of good people vs evil people
The one against stamina is a battle that's already been won and the epilogue is great
But
The Post in 2014
( yes I looked it up because I remembered it )
had written an article listing all celebrities, from most to least famous,
which had done ahuge amount of political pressure on the matter
leading the government, in the person of the ex Health minister Balduzzi
and all politic parties (from the PD, to the now dead PDL, to the Lega
passing from the 5 Stars Movement and the very Beppe Grillo)
to be very clear on the matter, and be very critical when the stops on experimentations comes
experimentations which were not supported by scientific data.
Among others who made a fuss, when it was already clear that there was no scientific foundations
and the academic world made noise online,
here's some of them
Adriano Celentano, Gina Lollobrigida,
Rosario Fiorello, Claudio Amendola,
Red Ronnie, Fiorella Mannoia,
and countless tv shows
Included Giulio Golia at Le Iene, do you remember?
Which report after report after report
took it out on the Health Minister Lorenzin
which had instead blocked everything and had rightfully sided with the scientific community.
Again, it's not an evil ones vs good ones list
But to realise all the damage that the departure of this "solidarity trains"
very common in our country
in the show business, the sport business, the football business, even Youtube
(Because it's happened, I remember it)
can potentially do.
Stamina is the prime example
However, all's well that ends well.
And this was all for today
Thanks for watching!
See you tomorrow at 19 o'clock (EU CT, ndt)
As per usual, it's Friday and we've got a lot of subjects to discuss together
After that, see you on Tuesday
On Monday I won't be here, it's holiday.
And regardless, you can't watch me. You have to watch the Big Concert of May the 1st
because right now they're taking out of their cryonic sleep all those bands that from May the 2nd nobody gives a shit about anymore
for others 364 days.
I'm kidding!
But you know who I'm talking about.
Behave yourself, and see you tomorrow in the evening, at 19.00.