• Emaan Behboodi

Tech Talk: August 2018 Issue


For the latest in tech, plug into Tech Talk. We deliver industry highlights straight to your inbox, so you never feel out of the loop. From Uber shifting gears to this AI-generated artwork making history, this is what's happening for August.

Uber Shifts Gears

It’s been a bumpy road for Uber the last couple years. Sexual harassment allegations, federal investigations on illegal software use, a slew of C-suite resignations—the list goes on and on.

After all the rough patches, the company isn’t just “moving forward.” It’s completely changing direction. Uber is diversifying its business to pursue other ventures, like bike- and scooter-sharing as well as autonomous vehicles.

This shift ushers in a broad range of competitors, everyone from automotive giants like Ford to startups like Bird. Only time will tell where Uber will go with this new direction.

Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft join forces to protect midterm elections

With midterm elections just around the corner, issues regarding cybersecurity and disinformation are more pertinent than ever. That’s why Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and other tech giants have decided to team up and devise strategies for protecting their platforms.

After being thrust in the spotlight for the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has been working closely with Homeland Security and the FBI to combat malicious activity on its site. The company has already identified and deactivated 652 pages run by foreign users disseminating disinformation, and Microsoft has launched a “Defending Democracy program” to promote consumer safety.

First AI-produced artwork is about to go to auction

Since 1766, Christie’s has been auctioning the finest works to consumers all over the world. Now it has the opportunity to sell a piece that will make history. As the first AI-generated artwork, “Portrait of Edmond de Belamy” is a landmark in technological innovation and art.

The algorithm used to produce the piece involves a Generator and a Discriminator. When artists upload human-made portraits to the system, the Generator creates a new painting based on the data. Then the Discriminator tries to single out which image was made by the Generator. If the Discriminator can’t discern which one it is, then the Generator passes the test. Think of it almost as a Turing Test but where the computer evaluates itself.

Starting October 23, the painting will go up for auction and is estimated to sell for $10,000. Proceeds will go to further algorithm development.

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