Recent Posts

Get ready for disinfo 2.0

by Edward Lucas 


Malicious rumors are a weapon of political warfare. The Kremlin adeptly uses them to erode trust and sow divisions. But what we have seen so far—fake news sites, the use of stolen, twisted information, swarms of pretend social-media accounts and so forth—is just the start. Next-generation tactics will be far worse. They will involve audio and video that has not just been edited in order to deceive, but outright invented.

Worries have been growing for months. This summer, the Economist published a story called “Fake News: you ain’t seen nothing yet,” highlighting how French musician Françoise Hardy purportedly discussed President Donald Trump’s inauguration in a YouTube video in which she looks only 20 years old; she is actually 73. And the words she “speaks” are actually those of Trump’s adviser, Kellyanne Conway. The “recording” never happened: computer software had analyzed and reworked previously published material.

That video was monochrome, and grainy. But the technology has already leapt ahead. Nvidia, a company that specializes in graphics processing, has just published a paper showing how its software can turn daytime scenes into night, and winter ones into summer (it can also turn pictures of cats into wild animals).
Read More

Carlsen and Kasparov in clash of the GOATs


Magnus Carlsen and Garry Kasparov, rivals for the chess title of Greatest Of All Time, met on Thursday in the Pro-Biz Cup held in London’s Google Headquarters. Magnus was handed a birthday defeat, but of course the charity event, where the players were paired with amateurs, was more about fun than serious chess. John Saunders reports on the traditional curtain-raiser to the London Chess Classic, where Ian Nepomniachtchi and Rajko Vujatovic took first place with 2.5/3.

AlphaZero AI beats champion chess program after teaching itself in four hours

Google’s artificial intelligence sibling DeepMind repurposes Go-playing AI to conquer chess and shogi without aid of human knowledge.

AlphaZero, the game-playing AI created by Google sibling DeepMind, has beaten the world’s best chess-playing computer program, having taught itself how to play in under four hours.

The repurposed AI, which has repeatedly beaten the world’s best Go players as AlphaGo, has been generalised so that it can now learn other games. It took just four hours to learn the rules to chess before beating the world champion chess program, Stockfish 8, in a 100-game match up.

AlphaZero won or drew all 100 games, according to a non-peer-reviewed research paper published with Cornell University Library’s arXiv.

“Starting from random play, and given no domain knowledge except the game rules, AlphaZero achieved within 24 hours a superhuman level of play in the games of chess and shogi [a similar Japanese board game] as well as Go, and convincingly defeated a world-champion program in each case,” said the paper’s authors that include DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis, who was a child chess prodigy reaching master standard at the age of 13.… Read More

Garry’s Timeline

Follow Garry's extraordinary path through years of relentless activism.

View the full Biography