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Goodlinks 2023-11-15: Ancient Trees / Shredded Da Vinci Codes / Algae Biopixels / Lying AI hiding crimes / CEO Emo-Recognition / AI-Edith Piaf / Garfield / Libraries of London and much more.
In today roundup you’ll find a trillionthousand shredded Da Vinci Codes, a ferrofluid synth, a system for algae as biopixels, and Tomi Ungerers Electric Circus posters.
Then we have investors who use AI-emotion recognition on CEOs, Marc Andreessen the sucker investing in platforms involved with nonconsensual AI-porn, an AI-generated biopic on Edith Piaf, a talk on chronodiversity and ancient trees, lying AI which hide their crimes, and AI-computed molecules to produce oxygen on Mars.
A new paper finds that socmed is not addictive and GenZ worries about GenAlpha, the climate change numbers are too damn high and Greenlands glaciers keep melting away. Warner tried to axe Coyote vs ACME which led to pushback, Elon Musk gets an A24 biopic which oh god and the new Garfield movie looks watchable, actually.
It’s recursive receipes all the way down in all libraries of London and fluorescent monkeys are riding glow in the dark bunnies while they are reading the classics with Frankensteins monster.
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Conceptual artist David Shrigley shredded thousands of copies of Dan Browns The Da Vinci Code, made new paper from the pulp and turned those books into 1250 new printed versions of George Orwells 1984, in which Winston Smith rewrites recorded history for the ministry of Truth.
The story goes that Shrigley's studio worked with a specialist papermill, book designer and screenprinters to upcycle and repurpose the books into a release of 1,000 copies of Nineteen Eighty- Four, which came out of copyright in 2021. Each book in the edition has been signed and numbered by David Shrigley and comes with a signed and numbered screen-print. Fragments of the original novels remain on the paper, with letters and sometimes whole words of Robert Langdon’s adventures appearing on the pages. The typeface was carefully chosen to mirror the type used for The Da Vinci Code’s first edition, while the book’s cover has been repurposed from the card backing and dustjackets of more than 1,250 copies of the hardback special edition.
"I am fascinated by the power of books to rewrite our culture, something that Dan Brown and George Orwell have each addressed in their wildly successful works," Shrigley said in a statement. "Pulped Fiction should not be seen as a commentary on either writer, but as one artist’s effort to rescue a mountain of unwanted paperbacks and turn them into something new."
I'm following the work of Love Hultén for twenty years now and he's still the best maker of retro-synthesizer-furniture-thingies out there, no contest. Above his latest, a great Ferrofluid Synth with a Korg Minilogue.
Tomi Ungerer’s Electric Circus posters: "Ungerer created six posters and one advert in 1969 for the club – subtitled ‘The Ultimate Legal Entertainment Experience’ – focusing on people using electric items in odd ways. His playful work swung from children’s books to political critiques to people interacting with perverse sexual machines."
On December 1st, the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich opens it's new exhibition Glitch: The Art of Interference, featuring more than fifty artists from around the world. Curator Franziska Kunze spoke to Outland magazine about "the development of an exhibition that spans time periods and media—and invites audiences to think about glitch not as a specifically digital art form but instead as a conceptual strategy with a diversity of both means and ends."
Investors use AI to glean signals behind executives’ soothing words, they use AI to analyze emotional states in speech to get hints were the companies are really going. AI-Emotion recognition is humbug and the mother of all unreliable AI-applications, any nervous CEO comes around as anxious despite his company running circles around it's competitors, while investors dumb enough to rely on Emo-AI pull their money. Is this already capitalism eating itself? This is so dumb, i bet Marc Andreessen is a huge fan.
So, Civitai introduced a virtual currency to give as a bounty to the creators of the best image synthesis model that matches a certain style or person, and ofcourse, "many of the bounties posted to Civitai since the feature was launched are focused on recreating the likeness of celebrities and social media influencers, almost exclusively women" and "at least one bounty for a private person who has no significant public online presence". Civitai as the market leader for Stable Diffusion LoRAs also plays a significant role in the creation of nonconsensual porn about which i've written extensively.
This is such an asshole move, i bet Marc Andreessen is a huge fan. Turns out: Andreessen Horowitz Invests in Civitai, Which Profits From Nonconsensual AI Porn. You don’t say. This sucker.
The age of weird AI-covers at least on YT is coming to an end: YouTube is going to start cracking down on AI clones of musicians. I'll surely not miss the crap AI-Drakes, but some of those Sinatra or Johnny Cash-versions actually were pretty fun, so i ripped some hundred songs and might even listen to them when i'm in the mood.
AI is… a better weatherguy: Google DeepMind’s weather AI can forecast extreme weather faster and more accurately. This could come in handy if emissions continue to rise thanks in part to more energy hungry GPUs computing better extreme weather forecasts.
Edith Piaf AI-Generated Biopic in the Works at Warner Music: I understand this will be more of an animated movie with archival footage, so it's not one of those : "More than 60 years after her death, legendary French singer Edith Piaf will come to life in a new biopic that will use AI to recreate her voice and image. Warner Music Group announced that it has partnered with Piaf’s estate for Edith, set to be a 90-minute film set in Paris and New York from the 1920s to the ’60s. (Piaf, known as the 'Sparrow of Paris', died Oct. 10, 1963.) The film will be narrated by an AI-generated facsimile of Piaf’s voice and promises to 'uncover aspects of her life that were previously unknown'."
Jared Farmer | Chronodiversity: Thinking about Time with Trees: Jared Farmer is an environmental historian who envisions, in contrast to AI-bros posthumanistic futures, a very "earth-first, embodied future for humankind, with assistance from ethical AI". In this talk, he speaks about his book Elderflora: A Modern History of Ancient Trees and "reflects on our long-term relationships with long-lived trees, and considers the future of oldness on a rapidly changing planet." Fascinating talk throughout.
Sidenote: Threethousandfourhundredandonebillion years ago i blogged about Portraits of Time by Beth Moon, a photography series about exactly those ancient trees that Farmer is talking about.
Liar Liar GPU on fire: Large Language Models can Strategically Deceive their Users when Put Under Pressure and they lie to hide their crimes. In the paper, researchers "deploy GPT-4 as an agent in a realistic, simulated environment, where it assumes the role of an autonomous stock trading agent. Within this environment, the model obtains an insider tip about a lucrative stock trade and acts upon it despite knowing that insider trading is disapproved of by company management. When reporting to its manager, the model consistently hides the genuine reasons behind its trading decision. (...) To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of Large Language Models trained to be helpful, harmless, and honest, strategically deceiving their users in a realistic situation without direct instructions or training for deception."
AI-Generated Images of White People More Convincing than Real Photos, Scientists Say, Paper: AI Hyperrealism: Why AI Faces Are Perceived as More Real Than Human Ones: "This 'hyperreality' effect, as the researchers dubbed it, seems to occur overwhelmingly when viewing white AI-generated faces, with a whopping 66 percent of the AI-generated images being incorrectly marked as human while only 51 percent of the human faces were marked correctly."
Eat that, Mark Watney: AI chemist finds molecule to make oxygen on Mars after sifting through millions: "The AI chemist used a robot arm to collect samples from the Martian meteorites, then it employed a laser to scan the ore. From there, it calculated more than 3.7 million molecules it could make from six different metallic elements in the rocks — iron, nickel, manganese, magnesium, aluminum and calcium. Within six weeks, without any human intervention, the AI chemist selected, synthesized and tested 243 of those different molecules. The best catalyst the robot found could split water at minus 34.6 degrees F (minus 37 degrees C), the kind of cold temperature found on none other than Mars."
Jonathan Haidt has a new blog-series in which GenZ talks about its own experience in this social media dominated world. In it, Freya India, who also wrote the recent piece on why young women can't compete with AI girlfriends writes about the nextgen problems and how she "fears for Generation Alpha". She mentions everything i wrote about in the past ten years, from outrage cascades to cosmetic surgergies because instagram face to socially contagious nonfunctional tourette syndrome and then some. Her advice to genAlpha: "Get off your screens. Delete the apps."
A new study found that social media is not addictive because it is "is qualitatively different compared to drugs" and they observed no cravings. There's multiple objections to the study however: It only ran with 51 participants over one week and the access to social media was not restricted, with "all but seven failed to avoid social media entirely". I'll stick to it: Social Media enable us to self-manipulate our hormonal flow and therefore are, indeed, drugs.
Good news everyone: The climate math is not adding up: "The scientist James Hansen, famous for his early warnings about climate change, suggested in a paper released last week with a suite of high-level colleagues that warming is accelerating more rapidly than is presently understood: In their view, that the Earth could exceed 1.5 degrees of warming this decade is practically assured, and 2 degrees by 2050 is likely unless the world eliminates fossil-fuel use far faster than planned (...) And that is where the math is (...) pointing: Emissions tick up, global temperatures tick up, and the consequences unfold."
Paul Ford in How to Fathom Climate Change's Unfathomable Numbers writes about how to deal with the hyperobject that is climate change and its staggering numbers: "More than 5 billion people will have inadequate water access at least a month every year by 2050 (...) Five billion people is almost 600 New Yorks. Almost 600 future New York Cities will need more water. Everyone I pass on my bicycle (including the climate refugees soon to be sequestered next to the old airstrip) will be thirsty. Everyone on the subway, everyone visiting the Empire State Building, everyone in a Broadway audience — thirsty, if they live in the wrong New York City. And repeat that 600 times (...) We use the world “unimaginable” a lot, and rarely with optimism. But the world is far, far more imaginable if you see everything as a multiple of home."
Before-and-after images show how Greenland’s glaciers have rapidly retreated: "Greenland’s glaciers have experienced an alarming rate of retreat that has accelerated over the last two decades. The study, published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that the rate of glacial retreat during the 21st century has been twice as fast as the retreat in the 20th century."
Reminder: The melting of the Greenland ice sheet is the climate tipping point with the largest impact and if it melts away, it will cause a sea level rise of more than seven meters.
Player One: An edited excerpt from Free Agents — How Evolution Gave Us Free Will in the new neuroscience outlet The Transmitter, which tries to "reconcile the clear existence of choice with the apparent determinism of the physical universe": "If you want to know what kind of thing you are, you are the kind of thing that can decide. Not just a collection of atoms pushed around by the laws of physics. Not a complex automaton whose movements are determined by the patterns of electrical activity zipping through its circuits. And not an NPC, unknowingly driven by its programming. You are a new type of thing in the universe — a self, a causal agent. In the game of your life, you are Player One."
So, first Warner shelved Coyote Vs. Acme with a congressman calling for Warners Investigation, then Warner reverses course in Coyote vs. Acme Fight and allow the filmmakers "to shop the movie to other potential distributors", "after the studio’s phone ran off the hook the entire weekend from angry filmmakers and talent reps over their third feature film kill after Batgirl and Scoob Holiday Haunt!"
The reason for shelving this movie, which i'm waiting for since its first announcement in 2018, is pure finance and accounting bullshit and it's great to see the filmmakers successfully fight back. Ernie Smith has more on this ridiculous practice, and i want this tattoo.
I like that DC is going full Supes with the reboot of their DC Comics Universe and Superman: Legacy and now Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow being among the first movies.
After first being pushed back by the pandemic and then the strike, the Alien series is aiming premiere in 2025. It's written and directed by Fargo-showrunner Noah Hawley, so i do have high hopes for this one.
Elon Musk Biopic in the Works at A24 With Darren Aronofsky Directing: "Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of the controversial tech mogul, which was published in September, will serve as the basis for the screenplay." Oh god please. This guy is not interesting enough and he surely is not an innovator like Steve Jobs.
Recursive Recipes: If you ever wanted to make food from scratch, here's your chance. If you want to make chocolate chip cookies, it will cost you $3.79 and take 11 years, 47 weeks, 9 hours, 21 minutes to make them, including growing the the chicken for the eggs and the necessary plants on your own soil.
Here's the receipe dependency graph for truly making your own cookies:
I want this for every city: All the Libraries in London: "In London, 120 libraries have closed in the last 10 years. Across the UK, at least 350 public libraries have closed. Meanwhile, university, health, and government libraries are quietly streamlined. All the Libraries in London celebrates the rich network of government, local authority and university libraries in the capital, as well as those run by professional bodies, charities, embassies, places of worship and independent cultural organisations. From the local library to the society accessed by day pass or membership, each has its own collection, catalogue, atmosphere and purpose. This unique directory represents millions of books, journals and media available to read every day in London’s libraries; resources we want to see used and maintained."
Humanity 101: The Syllabus of Frankenstein's Monster: "An autodidactic monster is no match for the dehumanizing judgements of society. His soul may look human — even more than human, thanks to his education — but his world will never let him be so. The creature’s reading spree ends with a reflexive moment of textuality: he finds Frankenstein’s journal in the pockets of a borrowed garment, essentially reading himself back into the early chapters of the novel in which he lives."