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EDITORIAL: Reporting means vetting, verifying

editorial: reporting means vetting, verifying

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We are cautious about Facebook for various reasons that include fake names and profiles, deep fake images, falsified information, fabricated stories and just plain old lies. That does not mean, however, that there aren’t also true and disturbing things posted and warrant additional reporting. We do, however, take our time to investigate, vet and verify. 
Simply posting something on the internet does not make it true.Even viral videos sometimes are not what they seem to be.Video can be altered, edited, falsified or simply contain a select portion of what actually took place.Anyone can post anything on YouTube or Facebook.A newspaper has a responsibility to fact check.A newspaper should never knowingly print false information.That does not mean newspaper reporters cannot be duped or that they do not make mistakes.However, newspapers take what they do seriously and have high standards for verifying the information published in print or online.Today newspapers strive to post information as soon as it is available.Many of our readers have opted to receive free text alerts and push notifications of breaking news, sports and weather in our coverage area.The goal of the newspaper is always to be the …

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Coronavirus: How to avoid becoming a conspiracy theorist – leader comment

coronavirus: how to avoid becoming a conspiracy theorist – leader comment

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NewsOpinionColumnistsWe should be sceptical and cautious as we try to work out what is true – whether about the origins of the coronavirus or a compromising image of a politician – but not become so cynical that we stop believing anyone and anything.Friday, 5th June 2020, 7:30 amDonald Trump may lack credibility over the origins of the Covid-19 coronavirus, but a former head of MI6 should be taken seriously (Picture: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images) Copyright: 2020 Getty ImagesWho do you believe? Donald Trump, Boris Johnson or Keir Starmer? How about the Chinese Communist Party, a former head of MI6 or a learned professor?In this Age of Information, trying to separate fact from fiction can be a tricky business and we all have a tendency to back the version of events that best fits our world view. But the alarming truth is that, sometimes, our political opponents may be right.The claim by former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove that the Covid-19 coronavirus was designed in a laboratory in China, based on a contentious scientific paper reportedly rejected by some eminent journals, echoes remarks by the US president. However, while Trump is a serial liar, Dearlove has credibility. It seems fairly clear that the paper …

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This Powerful Text Generator Sets a New Bar for AI Writing

this powerful text generator sets a new bar for ai writing

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|21 mins ago

Key insights:

Research group OpenAI set the artificial intelligence community abuzz when it released a new paper on the latest version of its cutting-edge language generation system, GPT-3. The model was trained on a dataset more than 100 times larger than the already record-breaking amount of text that informed the previous version, GPT-2.While OpenAI has yet to make the code behind GPT-3 publicly available as it did with GPT-2, the results of experiments outlined in the study show big improvements in the AI’s ability to generate realistic-sounding news articles and other text. The model was trained on nearly a trillion words in total, scraped from around the internet with a total of 175 billion parameters to GPT-2’s 1.5 billion. The whole training process cost about $12 million.The announcement of GPT-2 last January led to a flurry of worrying headlines about its potential to be misused to create passable fake news or spam on a large scale. One agency even set up a fake blog created entirely by AI to demonstrate what that kind of abuse might look like.Because of those fears, OpenAI opted to release the system itself in progressively bigger chunks, finally releasing the full-size version …

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Bending the Curve of Fake Pandemic News by Philip N. Howard

bending the curve of fake pandemic news by philip n. howard

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OXFORD – Would you believe that the coronavirus was developed by a government to weaken its foreign rivals? Or that “patriots” created it to foment a revolution against “big government” and the “deep state”? Sadly, far too many people who have encountered such disinformation online have shared it with their friends and family.








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Nonetheless, we are learning more about who produces fake pandemic news, and how to stop its circulation. In addition to the health-care workers risking their own lives and the scientists working on treatments and a vaccine, another branch of the COVID-19 response also deserves recognition. Over the past few years, the world’s fact checkers have developed a capacity to spot and label lies circulating in the public sphere. Now, they have turned their attention to junk news about the COVID-19 crisis, helping social-media platforms move more quickly to dispel and …

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What the Tech? Spotting deepfakes

Information Access and Management (IAM) Platform powers IAM Network - 60,000 + engaged information professionals worldwide.

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As if spotting fake photos and videos on Facebook and Twitter wasn’t already hard, it’s only going to get more difficult, if not impossible, with advances in technology called “deepfakes.”Perhaps you saw a video from 2 years ago that went viral of former President Barack Obama using profanity to describe president Donald Trump.In truth, the voice of Obama was from comedian, movie star and producer Jordan Peele. The video was intended to demonstrate deep fake technology and encourage people watching to be skeptical of shocking videos of celebrities and other notable people saying or doing things out of the ordinary.”It’s not just that it sounds alike, it’s not just that you see the person’s face, it’s the mannerisms too. Everything is the same,” says Adam Chiara, a communications professor at The University of Hartford.Chiara has been studying deepfakes in recent years and says the possibilities of people using them to incite people or spread misinformation on social media is enormous.”It is scary,” he said from his home office Wednesday. “And that’s why I think we need to be prepared because it’s coming one way or the other. The only question is are we, as a society, …

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Elon Musk’s Deepfake Video of Singing Soviet Space Song Breaks the Internet

elon musk’s deepfake video of singing soviet space song breaks the internet

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It’s a big week for Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, as his team launched its first-ever crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS). 
And now, it looks like Musk has taken up singing in Russian as his new hobby. In an impressive, if not eery, use of technology, Musk has been turned into a Soviet pop star as a deepfake video of the tech billionaire singing a nostalgic Soviet space song has emerged on YouTube. 
And what a video it is!
SEE ALSO: 17 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SPACEX’S FIRST-EVER ASTRONAUT LAUNCH
Deepfake is far too realistic
If being the CEO of the company that sent the first-ever crewed mission on a commercial space flight wasn’t quite enough, Elon Musk is now the frontline singer for the iconic Soviet pop band “Zemlyane” – or “Earthlings”.
Or at least, that’s what it looks like. 
Russian internet users chose to commemorate Musk’s historical moment by releasing a cleverly-done deepfake video of him singing “Grass at Home.” Ironically, even though the song sings about space travel it nostalgically speaks about the fact that there’s nowhere like home, our Earth.
Given Musk’s great attempts to leave Earth by founding a space travel …

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What the Tech: Deep Fakes

what the tech: deep fakes

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As if spotting fake photos and videos on Facebook and Twitter weren’t already hard to spot. It’s only going to get more difficult, if not impossible with advances in technology called “deep fakes”.

Perhaps you saw a video from 2 years ago that went viral of former president Barrack Obama using profanity to describe president Donald Trump. In truth, the voice of Mr. Obama was from comedian, movie star and producer Jordan Peele. The video was intended to demonstrate deep fake technology and encourage people watching to be skeptical of shocking videos of celebrities and other notable people saying or doing things out of the ordinary.

“It’s not just that it sounds like, it’s not just that you see the person’s face, it’s the mannerisms too. Everything is the same,” says Adam Chiara, a communications professor at The University of Hartford. Chiara has been studying deep fakes in recent years and says the possibilities of people using them to incite people or spread misinformation on social media is enormous.

“It is scary,” he said from his home office Wednesday. “And that’s why I think we need to be prepared because it’s coming one …

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Flyer advertising for ‘professional anarchists’ is fake

flyer advertising for ‘professional anarchists’ is fake

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An image of a flyer claiming the Open Society Foundations, a philanthropic organization funded by billionaire George Soros, will pay people to protest was shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Instagram. The flyer is fake, according to the chairman of the local Democratic Party branch also mentioned in the image, and the foundation denied that it or Soros pays protesters.

“Get paid to be a…Professional Anarchist!” a photo of a flyer shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Instagram since late May 2020 says. 

“Contact your local Open Society Foundation branch,” it says, alongside a phone number and an email for the Thurston County Democrats.

Screenshot of a Facebook post taken on June 3, 2020

The posts are being shared against the backdrop of nationwide protests in the US after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed in Minnesota police custody.

One post claimed, “I called. It’s a real number.” 

However, when AFP phoned the number on June 3, 2020 a Verizon recording said it has been “changed, disconnected or is no longer in service.”

Victor Minjares, chairman of the Thurston County Democrats, a local branch of the Democratic Party in the US state of Washington, denied that the flyer was …

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Competitive Intelligence Startup Watchful Raises $3 Million from Vertex Ventures

competitive intelligence startup watchful raises $3 million from vertex ventures

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Watchful Technologies Ltd. announced on Wednesday that it has raised $3 million in a seed round led by Israel venture capital fund Vertex Ventures, alongside several Israeli angel investors.

 Watchful develops technological solutions for competitive intelligence. The founder of the company is Itay Kahana, who was also a co-founder of Any.do. Watchful has 25 employees, 14 of them in Israel, three in Ukraine, and seven in the Philippines.

 
Watchful’s management team. Photo: PR “I take the application and run it in multiple different ways and with varied sources of data. As soon as I have full visibility of the app, I offer my capabilities to say what the app includes, from different collaborations to changes in the terms of use agreement,” Kahana told Calcalist. “In many applications, we revealed small and hidden issues that can sometimes be very significant.”

 “The intelligence solutions currently in the market track external variables like traffic, downloads and users,” said Yanai Oron, General Partner at Vertex Ventures. “Watchful takes a different and unique approach in that it provides insights into what is happening inside the app and enables companies to truly understand what their competitors are developing, checking, and planning.”

 
Watchful’s platform provides a solution that is …

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