Apr 12, 2018

Our AI future dominates the conversation at TED2018

Supasorn Suwajanakorn speaks at TED2018. Photo: Bret Hartman/TED

Artificial intelligence is on the verge of reshaping human society. But whether that change will be for the better or worse has been the subject of much debate at this year's TED conference.

Why it matters: Even those laying out the case for a positive AI future painted a picture of society being fundamentally reshaped by the presence of significantly smarter computers. Some of the TED talks describe exciting — sometimes alarming — changes arising from this technology.

No poker face: Dolby Labs chief scientist Poppy Crum spoke in positive terms about the end of the poker face.

"I think that's a thing of the past," she said. "While that might sound scary it's not necessarily a bad thing."

Crum talked about how being able to see that which has been traditionally hidden could allow a high school counselor to sense when a student is silently struggling or could enable police to tell the difference between a person who wishes to do harm from someone having a mental health crisis.

My thought bubble: I can't help but worry about a world in which the vulnerable are unable to keep even their innermost thoughts private.

New video tech: From there, things got even more exciting (and/or terrifying depending on your perspective) as Google computer scientist Supasorn Suwajanakorn showed how current technology can be used to transform existing photos and videos to create new videos saying nearly anything.

  • Again, Suwajanakorn focused on the positive, talking about the ability for future generations to interview Holocaust victims or people to interact with grandparents who are no longer living.

But, but, but: Even if there's a good system in place to label such creations, just their existence could make it easier for people to deny real videos. And I'm skeptical that bad actors won't also get ahold of this or similar technologies to generate fakes without such warnings.

More to come: The discussion continues throughout the week, with Ray Kurzweil set to talk on Friday about whether AI will usher in the singularity.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 710,918 — Total deaths: 33,551 — Total recoveries: 148,900.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 135,499 — Total deaths: 2,381 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.

World coronavirus updates: Total cases surge to over 700,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now than more than 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 32,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Saturday he would issue a "strong" travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health