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WhatsApp Cofounder Tells Students to Delete Facebook

Delete Facebook

During a public appearance at Stanford University on Wednesday, WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton told students to delete Facebook, BuzzFeed News reports.

He also criticized the profit models driving tech giants like  and Google and how ineffective they tend to be at moderating content on their platforms.

“To be brutally honest, the curated networks — the open networks — struggle to decide what’s hate speech and what’s not hate speech. […] Google struggles with what’s a good website and what’s a bad website,” he said, as quoted by BuzzFeed News. “And we give them the power. That’s the bad part. We buy their products. We sign up for these websites. Delete Facebook, right?”

The Silicon Valley entrepreneur’s appearance comes days after Zuckerberg announced on March 6 that his company will shift towards a “privacy-focused” platform.

Acton sold WhatsApp to Facebook for $19 billion in October 2014. He left the company some three years later, following Facebook’s decision to allow for ads on WhatsApp.

“It is Time”

Earlier this month, Marketplace reported that millions of Facebook users left the platform in 2018. And people are finding other ways to stay in touch: during last week’s major Facebook and Instagram outage, three million people joined encrypted-messaging app Telegram.

It’s not the first time Acton publicly encouraged users to delete Facebook. He tweeted “it is time. #deletefacebook” back in March 2018, mere days after the UK’s Channel 4 News published a report about whistleblower Christoper Wylie, who brought light to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

Focus on Privacy

Acton criticized Facebook’s motives and its failures to ensure the privacy of their users’ data and wished there was a way out. “The capitalistic profit motive, or answering to Wall Street, is what’s driving the expansion of invasion of data privacy and [..] a lot of negative outcomes that we’re just not happy with,” he said.

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Physicists Create Quantum-Scale “Mona Lisa,” Just for Funsies

Artwork for Ants

A research experiment at the University of Queensland started as an attempt to better understand how fluids flow.

But somewhere along the way the team got sidetracked — by an art project.

“We were hoping to gain new insights into how our everyday world arises out of the microscopic quantum world, helping us create new quantum-enhanced technologies,” researcher Tyler Neely explained in a press release. “But, while we were at it, we just happened to create some of the world’s smallest masterpieces.”

Superfine Art

To create the tiny works of art, Neely said he and his team took a gas made of rubidium atoms and cooled it the coldest possible temperature — -273.15 degrees Celsius (-459 degrees Fahrenheit) — to create a substance that acts like a “blob of gaseous quantum matter.”

The researchers then projected images of the “Mona Lisa,” “Starry Night,” and even their own headshots backwards through a projector illuminated by a laser — so they’d get smaller instead of larger — and onto the blob.

“This light ‘stamps’ the image on an area around about 100 microns wide — more or less the width of human hair, which can range from between 17 to 181 microns wide,” Neely explained. “We can then take the image, which is only in black and white, and produce color shots by producing a ‘red,’ ‘blue,’ and ‘green’ image, and then combine them on a computer.”

READ MORE: Scientists ‘paint’ Mona Lisa on a quantum canvas [The University of Queensland]

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Students Taking the SAT Will Now Get a Secret “Adversity Score”

Fair Shot

The SAT is adding another score alongside Verbal and Math — and it’s one students won’t be able to raise with a little extra test prep.

Every year, about two million students take the SAT as part of the college admissions process, and students’ scores tend to reflect their socio-economic backgrounds — those raised in upper-income families often score higher than those from lower-income families, for example.

In an effort to ensure colleges are aware of those background factors when considering prospective students, the College Board, which is the nonprofit that oversees the SAT, has announced plans to give each test-taker an “adversity score” — a bold move that has the potential to level the educational playing field for America’s youth.

Fifteen Factors

The College Board told The Wall Street Journal it takes 15 factors into account when producing each student’s adversity score, which the students themselves won’t be able to see. These include the crime and poverty rates in the student’s neighborhood and whether they come from a single-parent family.

The nonprofit already tested the adversity scores with 50 colleges, and it plans to expand to 150 schools this fall before a widespread rollout.

“There are a number of amazing students who may have scored less [on the SAT] but have accomplished more,” College Board chief executive David Coleman told the WSJ. “We can’t sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT.”

READ MORE: SAT to Give Students ‘Adversity Score’ to Capture Social and Economic Background [The Wall Street Journal]

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Now You Can Experiment With OpenAI’s “Dangerous” Fake News AI

ChatBot

When OpenAI, the AI research organization founded by Elon Musk, created a text-generating AI system called GPT-2, the group said it was too dangerous to be released lest it be used to create propaganda or fake news.

Now, thanks to a website called “TalkToTransformer.com,” you can use a watered-down version of the algorithm to write your to-do list, draft a new screenplay, or write rambling essays based on a prompt. The results aren’t perfect, but by making the algorithm publicly accessible, people could get a better understanding of what advanced AI is capable of and where it falters.

Short Term Memory

The stories that the algorithm tells are often incoherent, introducing and forgetting characters, props, and setting willy-nilly, reports The Verge after kicking the tires.

For example, when prompted with sample dialogue among characters from “The Avengers,” TalkToTransformer churned out a bizarre scene where “Tony,” “Steve,” and Thor fumbled over a door handle before Tony asked Steve if he’s “Tony the Iron Man.” Not exactly the most compelling addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The bold section is the prompt. The rest is, uh, not.

Fake Fake News

When prompted with “Futurism.com, best-known for,” the algorithm instead wrote a blurb for a book written by a “Mr. Wunderlich.”

Someday we’ll make it big.
We had some fun with the algorithm, but the real question is over whether the system could be dangerous or misleading. Based on our tests, almost every single result was clearly written by a computer that doesn’t quite grasp how language works — fake news-writing AI may be on the horizon, but it isn’t here yet.

READ MORE: Use this cutting-edge AI text generator to write stories, poems, news articles, and more [The Verge]

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