Vietnam War Memorial, Plastic Pollution Sources, Freedom On the Move, More: Friday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, January 6, 2023


Christian Science Monitor: It took decades: Now there’s a photo for each name on Vietnam wall. “Volunteers have now tracked down at least one photo for every one of the more than 58,000 U.S. military service members who died in the Vietnam War – for an online Wall of Faces project that took more than two decades to complete.”

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Monterey Bay Aquarium study creates new open-access database to better identify plastic pollution sources. “Published in Scientific Data, the study offers a more extensive free resource for scientists to tap than previously available. It adds 42 polymer types not included in other open-access libraries and is the first to include polymers from non-plastic particles, such as seagrass, shells, and animal tissues, to prevent misidentification and improve accuracy of results. The study constructs a library of polymer types to match current and newly discovered plastic pollutants.”


Cornell Chronicle: Mellon grants $1M to deepen and improve Freedom on the Move. “A grant of more than $1 million from the Mellon Foundation will support improvements to the content and functionality of Freedom on the Move (FOTM), a collective digital history project based at Cornell, as well as fostering a research community around the collection. Through FOTM, Cornell is partnering with multiple institutions, including Howard University’s Department of History, to build a free and open archive of all existing ‘runaway slave’ advertisements published in North American newspapers in the 18th and 19th centuries, estimated between 100,000 and 200,000 total. The collection currently contains about 32,500.”

Motherboard: Researcher Deepfakes His Voice, Uses AI to Demand Refund From Wells Fargo. “Do Not Pay is an organization that has previously automated all manner of things from fighting parking tickets to easily cancel unwanted subscriptions. In a video uploaded to Twitter on Wednesday, Do Not Pay founder Joshua Browder showed the tool calling Wells Fargo customer support, and using an AI-generated version of his own voice to overturn wire fees.”


Engadget: At CES 2023, Google showed up as an automotive company. “At CES 2023, the company shared that it’s working with Spotify to integrate the Connect streaming tool into the Android UI. It also teased a preview of an audio handoff feature that would suggest different devices to move your music onto depending on your habits and where you are. But CES is a big car show, and Google also has products for automobiles.”


Reuters: Google set to challenge India Android antitrust ruling at Supreme Court-source. “Google is preparing to approach India’s Supreme Court within days to try to block a ruling by the country’s antitrust watchdog that will force the U.S. company to change how it markets its Android platform, two people familiar with its strategy told Reuters.”

Ars Technica: Unpaid taxes could destroy porn studio accused of copyright trolling. “Over the past decade, Malibu Media has emerged as a prominent so-called ‘copyright troll,’ suing thousands of ‘John Does’ for allegedly torrenting adult content hosted on the porn studio’s website, ‘X-Art.’ Whether defendants were guilty or not didn’t seem to matter to Malibu, critics claimed, as much as winning as many settlements as possible. As courts became more familiar with Malibu, however, some judges grew suspicious of the studio’s litigiousness.”


Financial Times: Whatever happened to Google Search?. “The company says that its goal is always to provide ‘ads that are useful’. It points out that not every search result has ads, either. But advert crowding would be more palatable if the basic service was noticeably improving at the same pace. Google’s example of one enhancement is the fact that search results come with more images now. Of course, this just so happens to be good for advertisers too. Other improvements have been slower to appear. Content behind paywalls is still not marked as such, for example. Nor is it possible to search for words spoken in a video without a transcript — though a trial is under way in India.”

Stanford Graduate School of Education: Stanford faculty weigh in on ChatGPT’s shake-up in education. “The recent release of ChatGPT — a new natural language processor that can write essays, spit out a Haiku, and even produce computer code — has prompted more questions about what this means for the future of society than even it can answer, despite efforts to make it try. Faculty from the Stanford Accelerator for Learning are already thinking about the ways in which ChatGPT and other generative artificial intelligence will change and contribute to education in particular.”

Western University News: AI tech exaggerates biases in facial age perception more than humans. “Researchers from Western University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel) tested a large sample of the prominent major AI technologies available today and found not only did they reproduce human biases in the recognition of facial age, but they exaggerated those biases.”

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