🗽 New York weather and Bjork collab with an AI and a Dr. Frankstein for our age

Your dance moves can now give you away to an AI

Hi hi hi,

Going to widely release this when a big story I’m working on comes out. Send notes until them.

The Good

At a hotel in New York, Bjork and an algo are replacing lobby music with tunes inspired by the weather and activity outside. To top it off, it’s also a research project! This CNET story explains:

Björk's Korsafn is a choral piece generated by algorithms that study patterns of clouds and birds from a rooftop camera, but will also evolve over time, becoming a data-collecting AI experiment for Microsoft as well. Since the installation is reflecting information from the sky, it's almost like an audio skylight, or a data-driven wind chime. The ongoing computer vision project will also train Microsoft's AI to better recognize dense and fluffy clouds, snow, rain, clear sky and birds in different lighting and seasons.

A lot of the art projects with AI are pretty silly or basic. This seems like a great use of the tech, which maybe means other elements like weather need to be added to make the project more than a gimmick. The about it has a short clip to showcase what the music sounds like but I wish there was a feed, even if it took away a little bit of how location-specific the installation is.

The Bad

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The NYT came out with an explosive story about a face rec tech tool that scrapped billions of photos from all over the internet with at least 600 law enforcement agencies using it to find suspects. People rightly freaked out online over the news.

Now a Buzzfeed story digs into the company even more and found that Hoan Ton-That, the founder, not only misrepresented the role of Clearview AI in identifying suspects, but he also has hung out with some known white nationalists. This is pretty much the worst-case scenario for face rec tech. A tool with suspect success rates used by a bunch of cops combined with a lot of ill-gotten data in the hands of someone who will lie when he isn’t busy hanging out with racists.

A final, non-technical complaint is NYT’s leaning into Ton-That’s “modeling” career without any outside source confirming it. He’s pretty enough, sure, and it makes for good copy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this one shoot was him paying for headshots and is another example of how deep the delusion and lies go. This story might end up making Elizabeth Holmes look like Mother Theresa.

More News

Face rec tech, but for IDing you from your dancing.

A grocery store robot that helps clean up got a birthday party.

A long read on the history of face rec tech research.

Edge devices, where data is crunched on the local hardware instead of being sent to the cloud, *could* be a privacy boon. Big caveat since if the companies still want the data they will take it no matter where it’s located.

Washington State couldn’t pass a face rec tech law written by Microsoft. Now a lawmaker who just so happens works for Microsoft has introduced a very similar bill.

They aren’t the only ones doing it, but the government is funding a startup using AI to automatically track down opioids sales online.

The Pentagon wants to put up seven “constellations” of surveillance satellites.


Until I’m done locking down and deleting all my social media photos,