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Politicians are now sounding the alarm about the so-called “DeepFake” technology that has been circulating in the news. With this technology, someone can take a picture of any person and create a video of them saying anything.
As expected, the first DeepFake samples to go viral were fabricated videos of celebrities and politicians. Former President Barack Obama was the subject of a DeepFake video as early as 2017.
Initially, the fakes were seen as a novel source of entertainment or an impressive trick. However, as the technology has advanced, experts are becoming more concerned about its implications for politics.
During a speech in Ottawa last Friday, the former president warned his audience about the new technology.
“People can duplicate me speaking and saying anything. And it sounds like me and it looks like I’m saying it — and it’s a complete fabrication. The marketplace of ideas that is the basis of our democratic practice has difficulty working if we don’t have some common baseline of what’s true and what’s not,” Obama said.
How DeepFake Works
This technology works using machine-learning algorithms that analyze archives of video and audio recordings to create convincing fabrications.
The technology is growing more advanced and convincing by the day. At first, DeepFake was very crude and rudimentary, but now, AI has been able to achieve nearly perfect replication. As our previous coverage noted, there have been many iterations of this technology in the past few years.
Samsung’s currently unnamed DeepFake algorithm is the most advanced and powerful of these offerings. Samsung’s technology can even create realistic, talking fabrications of classic paintings like the Mona Lisa.
Upcoming House Intelligence Panel
Lawmakers have become so concerned about the technology that they have called an emergency meeting to discuss its regulation.
During the month of June, The House Intelligence Committee is having a hearing to discuss DeepFake. The committee will be looking into the national security implications associated with this technology.
Some social media platforms, such as Twitter and Gfycat, announced that they would delete DeepFake content and block its publishers. However, Facebook drew criticism in the media this May, when the company refused to take down a Nancy Pelosi fake.
The pranksters edited the video in a way that made Pelosi appear to slur her words on camera. Whoever, made the Pelosi video did not even use advanced AI to create the fake.
They created the hoax using very basic video editing software to slow the recording. However, if they did have DeepFake capabilities, they could have created even more confusion.
The following is an extremely convincing DeepFake of Barack Obama.
Implications For Elections
The intelligence community’s 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment warned about the implications of DeepFake.
“Adversaries and strategic competitors probably will attempt to use deep fakes or similar machine-learning technologies to create convincing—but false—image, audio, and video files to augment influence campaigns directed against the United States and our allies and partners,” the assessment reads.
In April, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told The Hill that DeepFake could “wreak havoc” during elections.
“Now with DeepFake technology, the Russians can push out fake audio or fake video that is indistinguishable from being real. They can make candidates for office say things they’ve never said,” Schiff said.
Not For The Average User
One concern that critics have voiced about this technology is the possibility of it falling into the hands of hackers. However, experts seem to believe that the barrier to entry for DeepFake will remain high for a while.
Tim Hwang, director of the Harvard-MIT Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative says that this tech is too expensive for the average hacker.
“Nothing suggests to me that you’ll just turnkey use this for generating DeepFakes at home. Not in the short-term, medium-term, or even the long-term,” Hwang says.
However, large corporations and state-level actors using this technology is not a comforting prospect either. It is very possible that governments could use DeepFake videos to convince its citizens to go to war. Likewise, these same forces can use these fakes to change the outcome of elections, and perhaps even history.
Study Shows Electric Cars Become Practically Useless In Cold Weather
According to recent studies, cold temperatures significantly reduce the performance of electric cars, especially when it comes to battery life.
One study by AAA suggested that cold temperatures can reduce the range of the batteries in most electric cars by over 40 percent. It was also noted that the performance can be even worse when the interior heaters are used.
However, even electric car owners who live in hot regions are not safe, because high temperatures can also reduce battery range, although to a far lesser degree.
Luckily, this damage is not permanent, and the battery range returns to normal when average temperatures return, but even if that is the case, this would make electric cars unfeasible for a large portion of the population who live in areas where the temperature is not ideal.
Electric car owners have been discovering this fact over the years as they have attempted to drive their vehicles in extreme temperatures. Electric car owners are finding that their new vehicles are much more sensitive to temperature than the ones they owned before.
Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering, said that it is important for drivers of electric cars to understand that these vehicles have limitations in extreme climates, this way they are less likely to get caught off guard and stuck out in the cold when their car unexpectedly runs out of battery life.
In the study, AAA tested 2018 models for the BMW i3s, Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen e-Golf and the 2017 Tesla Model S 75D. Each of these cars has a minimum range of at least 100 miles per charge, but many dropped significantly when exposed to severe temperatures. The researchers used a machine called a dynamometer to test the cars.
A dynamometer is a measuring device that is built similar to a treadmill and is inside a climate-controlled cell. Once in the dynamometer, the researchers tested the cars running at different temperatures, 20 degrees, and 95 degrees, then compared how the cars performed under those circumstances with how they performed in a setting where the temperature was set at 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
The researchers found that the driving range for these vehicles fell by 12 percent while driving in 20 degree temperatures. When the interior heater in the car was used, that range dropped to an incredible 41 percent of its normal capacity.
Meanwhile, when driving in 95 degree heat, the battery life for these vehicles dropped 4 percent on average. However, these numbers got worse if air conditioning was in use. When air condition was used in 90 degree heat, the expected battery life for these cars was reduced by 17 percent.
Tesla responded to the results in a statement, suggesting that the data they collected from their customers shows that there was only a 1 percent drop at 95 degrees, but the company refused to release their data for cold weather.
AAA stands by their results, saying that the study followed test procedures drawn up by the auto engineering trade group, SAE.
To mitigate the reduction in range caused by severe temperatures, AAA suggests that electric car owners warm their vehicles up while they are still plugged in.
Engineer Creates First Ever Working Lightsaber With Plasma That Can Cut Through Steel
James Hobson, a Canadian engineer and YouTuber based has created a filly functional lightsaber using plasma that can melt through metal. Hobson is known to his YouTube fans as “The Hacksmith” and he has accomplished incredible engineering feats in the past.
In a new video for Hacksmith Industries’ “Make It Real” series, Hobson shows how he was able to create the device. The video has already gathered over 12 million views. The lightsaber is attached to a portable backpack connected to a hilt that pumps out a constant stream of propane gas which. Once the gas is mixed with oxygen, it creates a beam of plasma that looks very similar to the lightsabers from the Star Wars franchise. The device burns at over 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that it can cut right through thick pieces of metal and steel.
In his video, Hobson also demonstrated how the color of the lightsaber can be changed by adding different salts to the mixture. For example, boric acid can make the beam green, while sodium chloride, more commonly known as table salt can turn it yellow. Calcium chloride will produce an amber color, while strontium chloride will turn the beam red.
“Even with all of our new equipment and capabilities, we’re still bound by the laws of thermodynamics. Well, theories say that plasma is best held in a beam by a magnetic field, which, scientifically, checks out. The issue is producing a strong enough electromagnetic field to contain a blade, well the lightsaber would have to be quite literally built inside a box coated in electromagnets, which turns it into a kind of useless science project,” Hobson explained in his video.
The device was incredibly expensive to make, the laminar nozzle alone cost about $4,000.
The lightsaber first appeared in the original Star Wars film and has since appeared in every Star Wars movie, with at least one lightsaber duel occurring in each main film installment. In 2008, a survey of approximately 2,000 film fans found it to be the most popular weapon in film history.
For the original Star Wars film, the film prop hilts were constructed by John Stears from old Graflex press camera flash battery packs and other pieces of hardware. The full sized sword props were designed to appear ignited onscreen, by later creating an “in-camera” glowing effect in post-production. The blade is a three-sided rod which was coated with a Scotchlite retroreflector array, the same type that is used for highway signs. A lamp was positioned to the side of the taking camera and reflected towards the subject through 45-degree angled glass so that the sword would appear to glow from the camera’s point of view.
Animator Nelson Shin, who was working for DePatie–Freleng Enterprises at the time, was asked by his manager if he could animate the lightsaber in the live-action scenes of a film. After Shin accepted the assignment, the live-action footage was given to him. He drew the lightsabers with a rotoscope, an animation which was superimposed onto the footage of the physical lightsaber blade prop. Shin explained to the people from Lucasfilm that since a lightsaber is made of light, the sword should look “a little shaky” like a fluorescent tube. He suggested inserting one frame that was much lighter than the others while printing the film on an optical printer, making the light seem to vibrate.
Lamborghini Releases GoKart Pro For Adults For $1,500
Lamborghini has released a new electric go-kart in its typical black and yellow colors and they are relatively cheap at $1,500.
You might be too broke to afford the luxury famous sports car, however, the new electric go-kart from the Italian sports manufacturer is affordable and fast at 25 mph (40 km/h), which is faster than typical go-karts. Although, its not street legal here in the U.S. like its bigger brothers for different reasons. The new Lamborghini is built strictly for the race track and can fold up into the trunk of your car.
But don’t let laws stop you! Speed limits can be adjusted using a smartphone app and if you are going faster than the cop chasing you, you can zip off into an alleyway or the woods disappearing from his vision. Your brand new pocket lamborghini comes with a big bucket seat which holds a maximum passenger weight of 220 lb (100 kg.) This go-kart is also equip with an electric engine sporting a 432Wh battery, which gives you a maximum travel distance of about — 15.5 miles, or about 25 km – the equivalent of 62 laps around a 400-meter track.
Officially known as the Ninebot GoKart Pro Lamborghini Edition.
The go-kart is designed in partnership with Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, which owns a personal transporter company Segway-Ninebot, whom have teamed up with the Italian carmaker to bring consumers the Ninebot GoKart Pro Lamborghini Edition, electrek, reported.
The signature yellow racer with black wheels has a self-balancing Xiaomi scooter which propels it forward, whle its rear tires are high-traction rubber wheels for safe turning and drifting. Again, those coppers will never catch you in this baby with the ability to drift and make sharp turns, just watch out for the spike strip.
On top of all that, your new $1,500 play toy will have Ackermann steering, meaning that each wheel will have its own pivot to allow for sharp and accurate turning. Functional headlights will ensure that there won’t be any nasty collisions or spills on the raceway, while the sick rear wing on the kart will give it sharp aerodynamism and handling improvements.
Want additional features? Lamborghini has you covered, the kart also includes built-in Bluetooth speakers to allow you to play music or mabe you want the loudness of a Lamborghini’s V8 and V12 piston engines, compared to the relatively silent sound of the kart’s electric motor.
“In addition, as a bonus, there is a program in the go-kart, which will ensure the release of loud noises, which will make not only the driver but also the surroundings reveal that there are beasts ‘under the hood’, in the form of a Lamborghini engine,” a press release from Xiaomi a Chinese tech giant that is popular among consumers in Latin America, Europe, and Asia due to its high-quality mid-range and budget Android smartphones.
The Chinese smartphone manufacturer also produces a range of other odd affordable tech products, ranging from sleek miniature washer dryers to electric toothbrushes, e-bikes and scooters, air conditioners and even rice cookers – as well as other eccentric internet-connected (IoT) devices that comprise Xiaomi’s expanding line of “smart lifestyle” products.
Now, you’ll be able to get your very own “Lamborghini” for the insanely low price of 9999 Chinese Yuan, or about $1,480, from the Mi Store. Tbat’s less than 100 payments of $150. Save up those pennies if you want to style with the Lamborghini go-kart. Although, though I hope you don’t mind paying in Chinese Yuan because that’s your only option to obtain this sweet ride.
The only reason you wouldn’t want to try this out is if you hate having fun. You can wattch a video below of the revealing of the product.
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