Open Source Deepfakes, African-American History, Religious Texts, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, September 26, 2019

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MIT Technology Review: Google has released a giant database of deepfakes to help fight deepfakes . “On Tuesday, Google released an open-source database containing 3,000 original manipulated videos as part of its effort to accelerate the development of deepfake detection tools. It worked with 28 actors to record videos of them speaking, making common expressions, and doing mundane tasks. It then used publicly available deepfake algorithms to alter their faces.”

CHSToday: A new local storytelling tool for African American history. “Late this June, Explore Charleston launched a new website with the vision of the African American experience in Charleston being seen + heard. The site, titled ‘Voices: Stories of Change,’ is a collection of history + stories told through the viewpoint of Charleston’s African American community.”

British Library Medieval Manuscripts Blog: Discovering Sacred Texts launch. “This week the British Library has launched its latest online learning resource, Discovering Sacred Texts, which invites visitors to explore the world’s major faiths through the Library’s extensive collections. The new website includes over 250 digitised collection items, teachers’ resources, short films and articles. Nine faiths are featured: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, the Baha’i Faith and Zoroastrianism.”


CNET: Facebook says it won’t fact-check politicians’ posts. “Facebook said Tuesday that its efforts to reduce false news and misinformation on the platform don’t apply to politicians. The company said it exempts politicians from its third-party fact-checking process and that that’s been the policy for more than a year.” This is utterly appalling.

Artsy: An online image database will remove 600,000 pictures after an art project revealed the system’s racist bias.. “ImageNet, a popular online database of images, will remove 600,000 pictures of people from its system after an art project revealed the depths of the racial biases of the system’s artificial intelligence.”


TechCrunch: Subscription email app Tempo hits the right minimalist notes. “In the wake of popular apps like Inbox and Mailbox being sunsetted, like many I’ve been left rudderless trying to find an email client that fills the void. I’ve been experimenting with so-called premium email clients for a while and a tiny team in Copenhagen has built what has become my favorite as of late.”

Arizona State University: New grants advance focus on truth in public life. “Americans today are being assailed by the rise of ‘fake news’ and a growing combativeness around democratic principles, including freedom of the press and religion, that have long been considered settled. From basic facts to fundamental democratic values, a lot seems up for grabs. To understand and challenge these trends, faculty affiliated with Arizona State University’s Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict have received two grants for projects that will put ASU at the forefront of new conversations about truth in the public sphere — how we know it, recognize it and identify it.”


Reuters: Exclusive: Oracle says investigators have asked it for information about Google. “Oracle Corp (ORCL.N), which has clashed with Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O) in business disputes, has received requests for information from congressional and state investigators looking into allegations that Google violated antitrust law.”


Phys .org: Researchers suggest better communication needed to convince public of findings. “A team of researchers from several institutions in the U.S. has published a Perspective piece in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences discussing the growing problem of acceptance of findings by scientists by the general public. They suggest several possible approaches that researchers could use to promote more effective signals of trustworthiness to the public.”

BuzzFeed News: This Website Will Turn Wikipedia Articles Into “Real” Academic Papers. “The digital product agency MSCHF released a site called M-Journal on Tuesday that will turn any Wikipedia article into a ‘real’ academic article. You can screenshot it, you can cite it — and you can send a link to your teacher. What MSCHF did was republish the entirety of Wikipedia under its own academic journal. If you go over to the site, you can search any Wikipedia article or paste in a link, and it’ll generate a citation that refers to MSCHF’s M-Journal, not Wikipedia.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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