Signal to Noise Report
Dead Spy Birds, Remote Kissing, Chameleon sports cars, deepfakes, and chemical weapons... More headlines from the bright, unnerving world of today.
The Signal to Noise Report collects headlines to illustrate humanity’s move into what is beginning to resemble a hybrid species: The Jetsons meets Blade Runner. The idea being that we have a proclivity to accept (with glee) whatever new techno gizmos are shoved at us, yet rarely question their purpose and/or their long-term effects on our health and sanity.
Stuffed dead birds made into drones could spy on animals or humans
A project for incorporating dead birds into flapping-wing drones might enable new ways of stealthily snooping on wildlife – and possibly spying on people for military purposes.
“Instead of using artificial materials for building drones, we can use the dead birds and re-engineer them as a drone,” says Mostafa Hassanalian at New Mexico Tech.
Hassanalian and his colleagues have combined taxidermy bird parts with artificial flapping drone mechanisms to mimic the general appearance and motions of living birds more closely.
Source: New Scientist
How Will AI Image Generators Affect Artists?
Back in August, controversy erupted around the winning submission of the Colorado State Fair’s art content. The winning painting wasn’t made by a human, but by an artificial intelligence app called Midjourney, which takes text prompts and turns them into striking imagery, with the help of a neural network and an enormous database of images.
AI-based text-to-image generators have been around for years, but their outputs were rudimentary and rough. The State Fair work showed this technology had taken a giant leap forward in its sophistication. Realistic, near-instant image generation was suddenly here—and reactions were just as potent as their creations.
Tech enthusiasts lauded the achievement, while artists were largely concerned and critical. If anyone could make a painting in just a few seconds, why would someone need to commission an artist to produce an illustration, or even bother spending years learning art at all?
Source: Science Friday
Krispy Kreme CEO: Robots will start frosting and filling doughnuts 'within the next 18 months’
The addition of robots is part of an effort to maximize the fresh hub and spoke model opportunity in the United States, and increase points of access to deliver-fresh-daily (DFD) to grocery stories, convenience stores, quick-serve restaurants, and other locations. With this model, customers can get full-sized doughnuts produced that day, locally, without going to a Krispy Kreme location.
Source: Yahoo Finance
China’s Remote Kissing Device For Long-Distance Lovers Leaves Netizens Divided
A device developed by a university in Chanzhou, China, has generated buzz on Chinese social media. The goal of the “kissing device” is to enable long-distance couples to virtually share intimate moments.
According to the China-based Global Times, the device with “silicon lips” has pressure sensors and actuators and can simulate a real kiss. According to the report, the device can also simulate the pressure, movement, and temperature of a user’s lips. Users must download an app for their phone and connect the device to the phone’s charging port.
BMW’s first ‘color-changing’ concept car is here—and the tech could be used in everything from e-readers to smartwatches
What if the color of your car could change based on your mood or the weather? That’s the idea — or, at least, one of the ideas— behind BMW’s new “i Vision Dee” concept car, a midsize electric sports sedan covered in futuristic panels that can change color on demand. BMW describes it as the world’s first “color-changing” car.
BMW describes it as the world’s first “color-changing” car. The Dee, which stands for “Digital Emotional Experience,” can cycle between 32 different colors, the company said in a press release on Thursday, while unveiling the car at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The car can cycle between 32 different solid exterior colors, with mix-and-match capabilities due to its 240 different panel segments. That’s a significant leap past BMW’s earlier iteration showcased last year, which could only alternate between black, white and gray.
AI suggested 40,000 new possible chemical weapons in just six hours
It took less than six hours for drug-developing AI to invent 40,000 potentially lethal molecules. Researchers put AI normally used to search for helpful drugs into a kind of “bad actor” mode to show how easily it could be abused at a biological arms control conference.
All the researchers had to do was tweak their methodology to seek out, rather than weed out toxicity. The AI came up with tens of thousands of new substances, some of which are similar to VX, the most potent nerve agent ever developed. Shaken, they published their findings this month in the journal Nature Machine Intelligence.
Source: the Verge
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Ned Mudd resides in Alabama where he engages in interspecies communication, rock collecting, and frequent cloud watching. He is the author of The Adventures of Dink and DVD (a space age comedy). Some of Ned’s best friends are raccoons.
Somehow this quote of Nabokov’s seems appropriate, although the referenced cage might be replaced by the word “technology."
“As far as I can recall, the initial shiver of inspiration [for Lolita] was somehow prompted by a newspaper story about an ape in the Jardin des Plantes, who, after months of coaxing by a scientist, produced the first drawing ever charcoaled by an animal: this sketch showed the bars of the poor creature's cage.” Vladimir Nabokov
I can't quite "like" your report. but, it is fascinating and also a bit disturbing. its a strange world out there - and from what you write of - getting stranger. but, then, in twenty, thirty, fifty years what now seems scary, dumb, or strange will be the norm.