Artist Creates Portraits of Strangers Using DNA in Discarded Hair
Heather Dewey-Hagborg just needs a strand of your hair to know what you look like.
It’s not really a man, and it’s not really a robot. Nor is it a cyborg, although this might be the most accurate description. This $1 million dollar bionic something is a showcase of what we are currently capable of installing in human beings along with a look at the future of augmented biology.
Chinese Whisper Challenge Pits Man Against Machine
Ever played "telephone" or "chinese whispers" as a kid? Now, you can pit your speech recognition skills against a computer.
Reverse Retouching: Fattening Up Too-Thin Models
In a darkly ironic reversal of its normal role, Photoshop is now being deployed to make models look more fleshy than they actually are. In part spurred on by the impossible beauty standards that Photoshop has made commonplace, models have become so adept at self-starvation that magazine editors have to use software to make them look healthier.
Former Cosmo editor Leah Hardy recently described the “reverse-retouching” that occurred under her tenure:
Customizing the Brain with Psychoactives
It’s long been a desire of the human species to have complete control over our own thoughts. We’ve all had these moments where we curse our brain. Asking questions like: “Why wasn’t I more fun at that party”, “Why did I act so mean to that person? “ and “Why am I not reaching my creative potential?”. In the last couple of decades, a plethora of psychoactive substances have been discovered. With them came the ability to exercise control over our conscious minds.
Should made-to-order babies become a reality in the near future, one piece of the design puzzle has been solved now Pantone has release their SkinTone system. Indexing 110 skin tones they might have set a standard to work with. Racists could never be more precise in their practice. Forget about the “skin color” label on stockings and find a Pantone color to match.
The Pantone SkinTone is available here at $89. And there’s a really corny Pantone video below.
Video Game-Playing Robot Acts More “Human” than Humans
Computer-controlled players in video games can usually be spotted for their repetitive, illogical or unemotional behavior. Unlike humans, non-player characters (NPCs) don’t get angry, frustrated or scared in stressful game situations, and have trouble planning ahead. In order to address this problem, 2KGames launched the BotPrize, a Turing-style Test aimed at creating more convincing artificial players.
A human audience watched players in battling their way through Unreal Tournament 2004 and rated them on their apparent “humanness”. A team from the University of Texas at Austin tied for the win, creating an NPC so realistic that it scored a humanness rating of 52%. That’s impressive, and even more so taking into account that plain-ole real humans only clocked in at 40%.
The UT team was able to create their more-human-than-human bot through a process called “neuroevolution”. Using existing models of in-game human behavior, the researchers created different NPCs that were weeded out via a Darwinian process. As with mutations in genetic evolution, each new generation of the different NPCs lineages were tweaked slightly with behaviors that could either prove to be adaptive (more human) or maladaptive (less human). After five years of digital evolution, the game bot finally outperformed its human competition.