Will our next entertainer be an AI?

Recently the founders of Metaphysic used AI to create a live performance by Simon Cowell on America’s Got Talent signing. They used a special camera, a body double that has a great voice, and an AI model that was trained by examining footage of Cowell.

See the video here.

Although in this video, you can tell it isn’t quite right and that isn’t Cowell, it was convincing enough to be a semi-finalist in AGT. Their DeepFake Tom Cruise, on the other hand, is more convincing. If you look closely, you can see it probably isn’t Tom himself, but at first glance, many fans would be fooled.

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Metaphysic is using synthetic media to create these clips. They combine real-world objects with digital ones created with artificial intelligence. For the Tom Cruise videos, they spent 3 months analyzing a variety of clips of Tom Cruise from movies, interviews, and any other coverage. The videos are created with a body double with the AI-generated video of his face.

For entertainment purposes, this can open up some new opportunities, but it adds many ethical questions, not just in entertainment but in business, politics, the legal system, and the world at large. As AI becomes more developed, the images will be clearer and less distinguishable from real ones, and there are significant implications. Right now the technology is quite expensive to use and generate these types of images, but this will change as well.

To see the entire article on Metaphysic and a discussion of synthetic media, see this article by Bernard Marr.

Is TikTok recording every keystroke?

Last week, Felix Krause, a Viennese researcher, made news when he published that TikTok can record any user’s keystroke in certain situations. He found that TikTok inserts code into a 3rd party website when the user clicks on an external link. The code essentially acts as a keystroke logger.

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What does this mean? Personal information may be recorded if you click on a website from within TikTok and type any information. The keystrokes can be recorded even if you enter the information and do not press Submit. In an interview with Forbes, Krause says, “This is a non-trivial engineering task. This does not happen by mistake or randomly.”

Per Forbes, TikTok has confirmed the code exists. However, it denies that the data is being used. “Contrary to the report’s claims, we do not collect keystroke or text inputs through this JavaScript code — it is only used for debugging, troubleshooting, and performance monitoring.”

Krause confirmed he has only tested the iOS version of the app and not the Android version.

Does this mean that you should abandon TikTok? That is a personal choice. It is up to the user to understand the potential that exists and take the necessary precaution. Based on this information, extra care is needed when accessing third-party websites directly from TikTok.

To read more, see the article on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/richardnieva/2022/08/18/tiktok-in-app-browser-research/?sh=3c8f356d7c55

Is your vacuum keeping your data private?

Amazon recently purchased iRobot, the Roomba vacuum maker, to enhance their smart home suite of products. But what effect can this have on keeping your data private?

Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels.com

So, what information is your vacuum collecting? Most models keep details online of your home’s floorplan. Those with cameras are capturing photos of your home and its contents. It can also give information about your lifestyle and your daily living patterns. According to iRobot, the following data is also collected:

  • Billing information
  • Mailing address
  • Social media accounts, if you signed up through one
  • Any data from other devices you’ve connected to, including your smartphone

Combining this data with Amazon’s already extensive database of personal profiles can give them greater access to personalized marketing information. Amazon may be able to target their ads even more than they already do. Does this mean I need to give up the convenience of a robot cleaning machine? No, but as a user, you need to know what data can be collected and adjust your privacy settings as needed.

From a 2017 New York Times article, “But the data, if shared, could also be a windfall for marketers, and the implications are easy to imagine. No armchair in your living room? You might see ads for armchairs next time you open Facebook. Did your Roomba detect signs of a baby? Advertisers might target you accordingly.”

For more information, see the article at: https://www.newsnationnow.com/morninginamerica/what-amazons-roomba-buy-could-mean-for-your-privacy/

FaceApp – Invasion of Privacy?

A recent trend in social media is the use of FaceApp. Upload your photo and it will return an image of how you would look in the future. You may also use the app to change your appearance in a variety of manners. Although it appears to be a fun use of Artificial intelligence, are you also giving them permission to use your photo?

Images using FaceApp aging filter
Images using Faceapp aging filter

From FaceApp’s Terms and Conditions: ” You grant FaceApp consent to use the User Content, regardless of whether it includes an individual’s name, likeness, voice or persona, sufficient to indicate the individual’s identity. By using the Services, you agree that the User Content may be used for commercial purposes.  “

According to this, they can use your photo as they like — including selling it.

To read more about their policy: