In the age of deepfakes, could virtual actors put humans out of business?

In film and video games, weve already seen whats possible with digital humans. Are we on the brink of the worlds first totally virtual acting star? When youre watching a modern blockbuster such as The Avengers, its hard to escape the feeling that what youre seeing is almost entirely computer-generated imagery, from the effects to the sets to fantastical creatures. But if theres one thing you can rely on to be 100% real, its the actors. We might have virtual pop stars like Tupac Shakur performing from beyond the grave at Coachella in 2012. Weve seen the fake Obama video is a key example. Could technology soon make professional actors redundant? Like most of the examples above, the virtual Tupac …

Not OK, computer: how it feels to have your music leaked

When Radiohead were held to ransom by hackers, they shrugged and put 18 hours of unheard material online for free. But for other artists, having music leaked can be devastating In 1997, Radiohead imagined a future in which technological dependency and out-of-control consumerism had merged to form a dark, digital void. OK Computer, the bands third album, painted prescient pictures of riot police at political rallies and anxious lives lived in suburbs surrounded by endless motorways. The digital advances promising to bring us together, it seemed to warn, would instead corrode and cause chaos. Last weeks big Radiohead news wouldnt have sounded out of place on that albums technosceptic vision of tomorrow. The band had been hacked, Tuesday, and 18 …

‘I’ve paid a huge personal cost:’ Google walkout organizer resigns over alleged retaliation

Longtime employee who helped organize global protest alleges Googles response was designed to have a chilling effect on growing workplace activism A prominent internal organizer against Googles handling of sexual harassment cases has resigned from the company, alleging she was the target of a campaign of retaliation designed to intimidate and dissuade other employees from speaking out about workplace issues. Claire Stapleton, a longtime marketing manager at Google and its subsidiary YouTube, said she decided to leave the company after 12 years when it became clear that her trajectory at the company was effectively over. I made the choice after the heads of my department branded me with a kind of scarlet letter that makes it difficult to do my …

Inside the Hybrid Digital-Analog Lives of Children

Kids today are voracious technology consumers for sure, but they are also active participants—creators, collaborators, and even influencers. So parents have much more to wrestle with than some broad-brush notion of “screen time.” Whatever you think of Fortnite, when children play it they are working together as a team (that’s good!), in a tech-mediated environment (is that bad?); and they’re not just playing a videogame, they’re socializing—factor that into your screen-time calculus. The youngs are also creating their own content, from unboxing toy reviews and “watch me play Minecraft” videos to DIY slime posts on Instagram, some of them attracting massive audiences and making serious money. They have agency and aspirations online, which makes them vulnerable to the same forces …

Why an artist turned tech bosses into mythological figures

Sebastian Errazuriz has funneled his fears over the increase in technological power into a series of audacious 3D printed sculptures It was 2016 when Sebastian Errazuriz first felt the fear. He was walking to the subway in Brooklyn when a chilling thought dawned upon him. It occurred to me we might be the last generation of artists, said the New York-based Chilean artist, because we might be the last generation of everything. With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), theres a decline of human control and jobs, not only within the service industry, but in the creative field, too. That was really weird and creepy, he said. Most people think: Its OK if the truck drivers lose their jobs, its …

UK online pornography age block triggers privacy fears

Government to confirm launch date of nationwide age block on pornographic content The government will next week confirm the launch date for a UK-wide age block on online pornography as privacy campaigners continue to raise concerns about how websites and age verification companies will use the data they collect. The plan for implementing the Open Rights AgeID: The problem is youre giving all your data to the pornographic equivalent of Mark Zuckerberg: This is what I like, this is who I am, and these are all of the sites Ive visited. AgeID has previously said it believes there is a market of up to 25 millions Britons for its age verification system, suggesting it believes around half of British adults …