Bleats

Deep Fakes Is The First Adult Tech With The Power To Kill Us All

You'll never hear the term "streaming video" in the same way again.

If you want to know the future of technology, then you need only look at what’s happening in pornography.

You know what standardised Super 8 as a format in the 1960s? Porn. You know what killed Beta as a video format? The greater availability of porn on VHS. 1-800 numbers, CD-ROM, pay TV, video on demand: they all started with some engineer with a dream, which involved seeing someone else with no clothes on.

Not necessarily this specific someone else.

And when the internet appeared a lot of the things you take for granted – secure online payments, encryption, video formats – were all pioneered by the industrious smut-bees of the porn biz.

Even the weird-ass “pregnancy belt” used by particularly empathetic fathers-to-be to experience the feelings of carrying a child is only possible because of the leaps in haptic engineering that the porn industry spearheaded for masturbatory tech – what is rather brilliantly called “teledildonics”. Streaming video, appropriately, started with porn.

Anyway: this brings us to Deepfakes, the technology which is about to end the world.

Well, at least it’s still creepy.

Deepfakes began, once again, from the simple dream of wanting to see people with their clothes off. Specifically, famous people.

The term was coined in 2017 – blending the coding term “deep learning” with “fake” – but the exercise has existed ever since horny people realised they could use graphics programs to cut and paste a famous person’s face onto a digital centrefold.

And, like all technology, it rapidly left the porn suburbs and moved to the cultural big city where it’s used to do things like create a creepy Princess Leia for Rogue One or have 70 year old Samuel L Jackson perform as his 45 year old self in for Captain Marvel.

But, of course, now that tech is out there and anyone can use it to make anyone do or say anything in a way that’s pretty convincing.

So how long until it’s used for a world leader to declare war, or have an opponent announce they’re a pedophile? It’s vaguely amazing it hasn’t happened yet.

At the time of writing, at least.

But it’s not even what they can create that’s of concern: it now gives a perfect rationale for denying the reality of anything caught on film.

That’s reasonable if it’s, say, Emma Watson rejecting a sex tape – but less so if it’s Putin denying war crimes, or Trump rejecting video of alleged urine-related events in Russian hotel rooms. When anything is real, nothing is.

And god, how embarrassing will it be if humans end up rendered extinct from a war started by a bad video of Chinese leader Xi Jinping grinding down on Vice President Mike Pence?

When we get to the afterlife, we’re going to look like such idiots.

There's A Way For Us To Beat Fake News, If We're Gutsy Enough To Actually Do It

Hey, who wouldn't like Australia to be smarter, savvier and safer?

The fake news business has turned into the planet’s biggest growth industry, whether it’s repressive regimes deliberately sowing misinformation to their adversaries, political groups spewing propaganda to sway their electoral fortunes, or whatever the actual hell Flat Eartherism is.

And we’ve already seen the effects of telling the public outright lies, from the supposed savings of Brexit and panic about 5G to the return of measles and other near-eliminated diseases and the president of the United States accidentally admitting that of course Russia helped him win the US election.

Anyway, many nations are trying to work out what the actual hell to do about it. And one nation – Finland – would appear to have found a solution which just might work.

And Finland have a lot of motivation to get it right. They share a border with Russia, a situation which other countries have found less than comfortable – hey, Ukraine, remember when the Crimean peninsula was part of your country? – and have to be especially diligent against destabilising lies from the nation that has perfected news faking.

And thus in 2014 they started actively working to make their population, media and political class aware of what misinformation looks like and training them to spot and counter it. And it appears to be working, but it’s a big job.

There are critical thinking classes in schools. There are public education sessions for the population. The media is expected – or more accurately, required – to combat bias in their own reporting as a matter of course. And there is a lot of pressure on social media and online behemoths to take voluntary action lest harsher regulation be introduced.

Would Australia do such a thing? Well, we could – but there are some likely hurdles to a national education campaign.

One is that it would be expensive, obviously. But that aside, there’s also a very decent chance that the government currently pushing to build new coal plants and claiming that straws and environmental activism are the only significant threats facing the Great Barrier Reef might be a little averse to teaching the public to be stringent about separating fact from bullshit.

Then again, maybe some leader will have the guts to start advocating for a stronger Australia via an adherence to Fair Dinkum Thinkin’, a truly bonza evidence-based approach to science literacy and true blue critical thinking to help save Australians from being swayed by lies and fraud when making decisions about their lives, health, and governments.

Or maybe facts will get a go once they have a go. One of the two.

5G Literally Cannot Hurt You So Stop Believing Facebook Scare Campaigns

Oh great, another health panic based on absolutely nothing.

There are a bunch of scare campaigns going around about the coming of the new telecommunications standard 5G.

There’s a petition going around right now claiming that it will involve “concentrated and focused electromagnetic radiation far greater than current levels and will result in a massive increase in inescapable, involuntary exposure to wireless radiation.”

Except the 5G rollout doesn’t involve using scary new tech. It involves using a wider range of the radio spectrum, mainly bits of it which have been previously used for different communications and broadcast. And… um, that’s it.

But if you’re worried about the terrifying claims of high-radiation broadcasts causing cancer by shameless tech companies who only seek profits over human life, man, then we have some good news: it’s complete garbage.

Worf knows what’s what.

Why ? The short answer is physics.

Light comes in a bunch of different wavelengths, which is a fancy way to say “some wiggle a lot more because they carry loads of energy”.

Some wavelengths of light wiggle powerfully enough to actually penetrate skin and do damage to cells – gamma rays, for example. Beneath them are x-rays, and then less-powerful ultraviolet light (the thing that gives you sunburn).

Xrays are fun! And also do penetrate the skin – that’s why they work – and therefore too dangerous to have recreationally. STOP RISKING YOUR HEALTH, GIF!

Weaker yet is visible light. That’s not strong enough to penetrate your skin, and the way you can prove that is by noticing that you’re not invisible.

Visible light can’t do any damage because it’s just not wiggling powerfully enough to get into you and get cancer-busy.

Radio waves are even weaker than that, and 5G (and all mobile phone transmission, and broadcast transmission, and wi-fi) uses radio waves.

More specifically, 5G will be operating around the 15 gigahertz range while visible light is up in the 400 to 750 terahertz spectrum. In other words, a lightbulb is emitting radiation which is several orders of magnitude more powerful than 5G and it’s still nowhere near strong enough to get past the dead cells in the top layer of your skin.

Those long-but-weak wavelengths are great for communication because they travel a long way using very little energy, but the downside is that they don’t penetrate stuff at all well, as you’ve discovered every time you’ve been on a phone call or listening to the radio when driving through a tunnel.

So: unless you’re suddenly rendered invisible and therefore having really low energy wavelengths of light penetrate you, you’re totally immune to 5G.

Honest. You’re all good.

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