Notable links: December 26, 2023
This is my regular digest of links and media I found notable over the last week. (It's a light week because of the holidays.) Did I miss something? Let me know!
I enjoyed Get Back and They Shall Not Grow Old, but what's obvious to me after reading this piece is that these upscaled films will look as outdated in 20 years as CGI from 2003 does today. They'll look like cartoons. Not without value, but nothing close to the intended naturalism.
While I think there's still some value in pieces like those two - anything that makes the past more real so we can learn from it more closely works for me, even if it's not going to be as effective a few decades from now - I'm less excited by upscaled True Lies. Give me the imperfect film grain I remember from my childhood. #Media
That an AI model trained on Google Street View photos can look at a picture and figure out where it is isn't much of a surprise, but it's still jarring to see that it's here.
I think the real lesson is that AI undermines security through obscurity, which any security professional will tell you is not a sound approach. It's not enough to assume that information is hidden enough to not be usable; if you want to remain private, you need to actually secure your information.
This has obvious implications for pictures of vulnerable people (children, for example) on social media. But, of course, you can extrapolate: public social media posts could probably be analyzed for identifying details too, regardless of the medium. All of it could be used for identity theft or to cause other harm.
A human probably isn't going to painstakingly go through your posts to figure out information about you. But if it can be done in one click with a software agent, suddenly we're playing a whole other ball game. #AI
A sober breakdown of what it may mean for Meta's new social network to finally join the open social web (aka the fediverse).
For many people, this has been a hard pill to swallow: while it's clear that Meta has been a human rights disaster, its embrace of open social web protocols is a vindication and (if you'll pardon the double meaning of the term) a platforming of that movement that may lead to the accelerated growth of the open social web itself.
I would like to see more social networks - both new and established - join the open social web. The biggest thing that worries me is having a single whale in the room that can, in effect, dictate the evolution of the protocols in its favor. A multi-polar social web would be a much more user-centric place (just as the web is at its best when there are multiple major browsers). #Technology
It took me several attempts to get into Bridge, but finally, this week, I picked it up again and was sucked in. There are plenty of other novels about traveling multiple universes to see the other yous, and Beukes knowingly stops to play with those expectations. The real story here is about loss, and the memory of a person vs the person they really were. But there's a lot of good science fiction fun to be had along the way. #Fiction