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Creativity overboard

Yesterday was about the heralding of creativity, yet there is a setting where creativity goes overboad and the Washington Post gives us ‘Scarlett Johansson on fake AI-generated sex videos: ‘Nothing can stop someone from cutting and pasting my image’‘ (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/12/31/scarlett-johansson-fake-ai-generated-sex-videos-nothing-can-stop-someone-cutting-pasting-my-image).

It is a lot worse than you think and even some might trivialise it by merely hanging onto the idea of women, mostly celebrities being inserted into porn, the problem is actually huge, not merely because of that application. The issue is that whatever I can creatively dream up, I can make a reality if I have enough images. The problem is that most of this software is free (for now), and the problem is growing on two fields.

In the first field we see not merely exploitation of any woman into porn, nudities or weird situations. The technology is close to perfect enough that it is harder and harder to distinguish the fake from the real, the deep fake is overwhelmingly convincing that the Washington Post comment “what your eyes can see and your ears can hear can no longer be taken for granted in the digital field“, that problem is a lot bigger than you think. Even as this example (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU9YAHigNx8) is easy enough to spot, the overall quality is very much on the high side. Here money gives authenticity, the better the computer, the smoother the result and the shorter the timespan to make that result. The average laptop will not get you far, yet a high end gaming PC gets you an optional 1080 HD deepfake version that is increasingly hard to distinguish from the real deal.

In the second field we see a failing, a failing to investigate and legalise the optional prosecution of deepfake video. Not merely the porn side of it, in its heart the opportunity to crate identity fraud and give rise to interfering with political, social and private lives will go further and will be the foundation of a lot more hardship. 5G will merely send these high end videos faster and wider on a global domain. How long until we get the videos of random politician (Emmanuel Macron) and random Celebrity (Anna Kendrick), whilst places like the Daily Mirror will give the innuendo “European Politician accused of hot Hollywood encounter” with a deep fake? The issue is not that a place like the Daily Mirror would or would not use that image intentionally maliciously, the issue will soon be that their trained professionals can no longer tell the difference between real and deepfake and there is more than one indicator that that moment could optionally be reached this year.

The third part is that not only is this technological field charging ahead, the legal field that should protect the people can no longer keep up, in addition the freedom of expression that allows for ‘creative alteration’ is actually assisting in what should be regarded as criminal activities. In addition there is a larger failing in the law, McMillan (at https://mcmillan.ca/What-Can-The-Law-Do-About-Deepfake). The working allows for a failing that no one is able to deal with. We see this in: “The tort of appropriation of personality arises where a person attempts to gain an economic advantage by using some aspect of another person’s name, likeness, or personality without that person’s consent. To be successful, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant appropriated his or her persona for economic gain. This is also enshrined in legislation such as the BC Privacy Act, which states that it is a tort to use a likeness, still or moving, including a likeness deliberately disguised to resemble a person “for the purpose of advertising or promoting the sale of, or other trading in, property or services.”” You see, the failing is not seen in what must be established, it is found in what is negated. We think of lone wolves as terrorists, yet there is another one, the political lone wolf. A person not recognised by anyone, but does the bidding to promote the political field (or alternative field like product field) of others.

When that person goes after the next political contender we see no ‘gain an economic advantage‘, we alternatively see no ‘trading in, property or services‘, yet the damage will have been achieved. Even when we look in the US regarding: “Malice in law is the intent, without justification excuse or reason, to commit a wrongful act that will result in harm to another. Malice means the wrongful intention and includes all types of intent that law deems to be wrongful“, to enter in court on the premise of malice and intent versus ‘creativity and freedom of expression‘ becomes a first amendment court case where the political player loses no matter what and if the transgressor is young enough the damages will never ever cover the impact. In this day and age of viral video and social media, one or two of these videos could end any political career within a day and that is merely the top of the iceberg. Larger players can lay waste to all kinds of opposition with a much greater ease by giving rise to confusion and relying on the gullible population to spread the damage.

McMillan gives one part that could give the smallest of coverage in British Columbia. As we are introduced to: “The BCHRT has the authority to provide a compensation order for any lost wages or expenses incurred as a result of the contravention, and to provide a compensation award for “injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect.”“, how could any unemployed individual compensate for damages inflicted? The problem would not be the act, the issue would be to a much larger degree the setting of ‘injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect‘ when it is a public figure, especially when we consider the last 10 years where: ‘less than 20% of the orders made are over $10,000‘, in a setting where so far $75,000 has been the highest award. So tell me, who would not fork over $75,000 in some way to win a high end election? Even as the Canadian system is seemingly a little better than most out there, what they have is nowhere near ready to deal with the larger impact the deepfakes optionally have and that is merely outside of the porn application field. The experts that gathered in the SIGGRAPH 2018 annual conference on computer graphics in Vancouver from August 12th to 16th 2018 already agree that this is going to be an issue in the 2020 US elections, the question is will the law be ready and there is no clear indications that it is.

Even as we see that DARPA has been taking an active interest in finding forensic solutions, the department by Dr. Matt Turek, I also see the flawed impact as we see the optional miss that a high resolution result projected deepfake, then captured by a low res camera will create a version that is either negated completely of will be flagged amongst hundreds of thousands of others and still ends up having a 60/40 chance of passing through. Those numbers are not encouraging and this forensic field is for now in its early infancy giving the deepfake players close of half a decade of free reign on every social media with 5G merely impacting a much larger population, much faster. The overwhelming part is that computing power and high resolution recording equipment is becoming more and more affordable so the pool of non-malicious offender is growing close to exponentially for now. Let’s face it which horny teenager has not dreamt of replacing his prom date with the image of Amber Heard, Bailey Noble or Laura Vandervoort as his desired prom date?

It is for the most the absence of intent and malice that is driving the technology. America has 42 million teenagers, close to 22 million are male, most dreaming of the dream date they can never have, so when there is a software company keying in on close to 50% of those offering a $49.95 solution making their dream come true, that is a market surpassing $1 billion, do you think that this is not happening right now? It is a massive driving force, apart from the sex sells part; it is within us to be a pranker/prankster, to replace ourselves with an edited Batman/Batgirl making ourselves the superhero, others want to be seen with their idols (Frances McDermott/Zack Effron or Bailey Noble/Heidi Klum) depending on our age and spreading that imagined tale on Facebook. At heart it is deceiving (read: pranking) their friends intentionally yet completely absent of malice and for every 50 people that do it for the innocent reason, there will be 1-2 malicious people, yet the overwhelming drive for that software is there and the more that want it, the cheaper the solution and for now that this trial software is often free and it is becoming highly perfect in the result, after which it will soon be sold at an affordable price. The problem is that anything innocent can be perverted and the deepfake technology that made yours truly look like Batman (actually Batman was real, Bruce Wayne looks a lot more like me and a lot less like Ben Affleck) can do the same for any exploiter to look the political target look like an arrested person on the street, two of these viral events can totally impact the next elections. Even as the politician itself is the likely target, making the members of his team (like the spokesperson, the strategist and the writer) targets would be a lot more effective, we will dismiss the political person often out of hand, the people they work with less so, it will create doubt and stop their political engine overnight giving the election away to the other person and with the deepfake field evolving at the speed it does, every political party will need a high end reputation management firm in their corner watching out for these attacks and in addition spend too many resources dealing with these attacks, making the small players no longer a consideration and making the larger players spend a whole chunk of money in different areas impacting their visibility. The lack of law, or more correctly stated the lack of impact that the law currently has, will drag elections and public profiles along in very different directions soon enough.

That part is seen (at https://www.ubermetrics-technologies.com/blog/reputation-management-what-to-do-about-deepfakes/) where we see how Jordan Peele is doing the speech for former President Obama and more important, the fact that this looks authentic enough to fool most republicans into an emotional frenzy, game over and the next democratic president starts in 2020, that is the game now and it is frighteningly indistinguishable from the real deal. Even as we see here the stage of ethics, the issue is not merely consent (it only partially is), we see: “the person whose face is superimposed on deepfakes did not give their consent“, in the batman example, my image is the one superimposed and I am giving permission, it is the other part that is owned by DC Comics, or is that Zack Snyder, or perhaps Ben Affleck. Do you think that their engine is ready for millions of trivial cases, often limited to a ‘cease and desist’ order? Their workforce would not be able to deal with 1% of that workload and in the initial race that viral propulsion was optionally used to their advantage. The issue is more loaded than we think and when the court case comes and I would state in my defence: ‘I was merely expressing myself, fantasising on being the next Batman. I made no commercial gain, merely social visibility for my desired optional career in acting‘, do you think that I will get anything more than an optional slap on the wrist as I was pursuing my dream? With the right lawyer it could optionally be thrown out of court as there would be no visible harm or hardship to Ben Affleck, the case ends soon thereafter.

Even as law firms give us the stage of: “must typically prove that the defendant—the person who uploaded the deepfake, for example—published something that gives a false or misleading impression of the plaintiff in such a way to damage the plaintiff’s reputation or cause them great offense, in such a way that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person“, now consider Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988), there we learn that the first and fourteenth amendment is prohibiting public figures from recovering damages for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED), if the emotional distress was caused by a caricature, parody, or satire of the public figure that a reasonable person would not have interpreted as factual. In that setting the deepfake field is wide open to be used against political figured to a much larger extent, that case was never ready for deepfake and by setting the stage to ‘a caricature, parody, or satire of the public figure‘ we see that the reasonable person becomes malleable to the greater extent making the deepfake field a much more effective political swaying tool than we imagined. I reckon that under this setting Larry Flynt will be laughing on the public stage that his case opened up for till the day he dies.

 

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The double sided blade

I stumbled upon a situation last night that gives food for thought. You see, I am the first one to give way to those who are growing an actual business, those who are there to be true captains of industry. Yet what defines a captain of industry nowadays? What if the person is stated to be an entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist; yet, the information given to us makes that person a mere oppressor, a borrower and an antagonist or opposer? In this case I am talking about Jeff Bezos, the man behind Amazon. Multi billionaire before he became half a century old, making him more successful than Bruce Wayne without the cape and the niceties.

So where does my view come from?

That is an important part, because other whiles it would just be envy, which in my condition isn’t entirely untrue either. The part that set it off yesterday was in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/11/amazon-accused-of-intolerable-conditions-at-scottish-warehouse). We could agree that the subtitle is merely an emotional part, yet the consideration it gives when we read ‘Willie Rennie claims workers are paid so little some camp outside warehouse in tents to cut commuting costs’, depending on the distance, we can agree that alternative solutions would be found and it is not up to an employer to decide how any employee is deciding on their budget.

Yet when we see the following elements:

  1. All permanent and temporary Amazon workers start on £7.35 an hour or more and earn at least £11 an hour for overtime (The new national living wage is £7.20 for workers aged over 25).
  2. Amazon has been accused of creating “intolerable working conditions” after allegations that workers have been penalised for sick days and that some are camping near one of its warehouses to save money commuting to work.
  3. A Sunday Times investigation found that temporary workers at the warehouse were being penalised for taking time off sick and put under pressure to hit targets for picking orders.

So are my impressions founded? You see, point one gives way that the Amazon is acting within their right and as such Amazon does nothing wrong, as stated before is there an issue as we see point two? There are clear labour laws, you get a number of sick days, but you need to build up that right, so again is there a wrongdoing? Item three repeats item 2, giving additional questions when an article seems to rehash a point, yet in addition the requirement for targets and pressure are a clear issue. The question becomes are these targets realistic? If they are not then there is an issue.

Yet this is not the only side in all this. In addition there is the part we would have seen in the Daily Record (at http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/politicians-union-leaders-urge-snp-7235948), more important that this news was from January 2016, so the issue is not really new. The issues in that part is: “Rennie clashed with Sturgeon over the issue at Holyrood on Thursday, highlighting a £1 million grant given to Amazon in the past year alone. The UK arm of the business paid just £11.9 million in tax in 2014, despite taking in £5.3 billion from British shoppers“, which implies that a company making £5.3 billion, only pays £11.9 million in tax in 2014 and got a £1 million grant last year. Now, we can see that three could be an issue, but where are the direct links? You see, Revenue is one, profit is another and after that there is taxation. We can put a straight argument that 5 billion would require more than 10 million in taxation (11 million minus a grant), yet what possessed the giving party to give that 1 million grant? Why was only 11 million in taxation paid? None is this reflects on Jeff Bezos, this is not a failure of the maker of Amazon, but a failure from the governing parties giving out cash where the requirements in light of revenue was nowhere near any justification of any grants, especially when we consider Forbes, who stated that Amazon boss Jeff Bezos ‘added $20 billion to his net worth over the 12 months through late September 2016‘, so, based on how much revenue and profit brought the increased net worth? The newspapers are extremely non-revealing on this. Now consider the two sources, the fact that some was known for nearly a year, we could ask questions from these agencies hiring, we could ask questions at the HR offices of Amazon in the UK and Scotland, yet in all this, were any errors, any transgressions made? Amazon is a business and its concern is profit plain and simple. The fact that according to the initial part that Amazon pays £0.10 per hour above a living wage, we could consider the firm to be Scrooge like which is not a crime! Now we need to look at two elements. The first is the definition of a living wage, which is regarded by several sources as ‘a living wage is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs’. Yet what are basic needs and where does that end? In addition we should consider that the living wage should be substantial enough to ensure that no more than 30% of it needs to be spent on housing. Which is interesting, because that is nowhere near realistic in many places. In larger places, we either need to consider growing cost of commuting or consider that £144 pw is not the cheapest in Scotland and not that sizeable. So at a working week of 40 hours the rent is 48%, implying that the living wage is far below expectations or realism. The only way to get near a living wage is to work a full day extra in overtime, yet in all this the cost of living is not considered, so we have a CEO who is getting demonized here (by yours truly), yet what wrong has he done? From the parts I can see, there seems to be enough evidence to see that there is no wrongdoing on the surface, yet we can in equal measure debate whether he can call himself a philanthropist. If you are spending money on one side by being a ruthless almost cutthroat like business man on the other, they should be cancelling each other out. Is he validly under the same conditions really an investor? If he is using the guise of tax deductibility, is he actually investing or is he relocating funds that were due to HM Revenue & Customs? Relocating some (read: most) of these funds so that they benefit the ‘personal goals‘ of Amazon. Is that really investing? Lastly there is the title of entrepreneur. If we accept the definition: ‘a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit‘, well Amazon has been here for a while, so setting up? We could see it in light of franchises, does that count? And as for taking on financial risk? With the league of tax write offs and grants, should he be allowed to call himself an entrepreneur?

So perhaps the titles or entitlements given to Jeff Bezos are no longer valid, is that a valid view, does this warrant demonization? Off course is does not, because that would be unjust. Yet, we seem to focus on the ‘stamps’ we are giving a successful person, whilst in the cold light of day we overlook the non-repayable funds given to Amazon. In addition, when we look at the independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/money/tax/revealed-amazon-earns-more-through-government-grants-than-it-pays-in-tax-8617919.html), where in May 2013, the following was given to the public: “Amazon paid less in UK corporation tax last year than it received in government grants, its official company accounts have revealed – sparking condemnation from MPs around the country“, which happened in 2013. We now get another side that is not with Jeff Bezos, but with parliament and elected officials. Yet that news did not really make it to the massive forefront (other than Willie Rennie who seems to shout for attention). You see, if I can be harsh on Jeff, I need to be equally be harsh on Willie and in that regard the fact that the Amazon issues have been on the papers for the longest of times, implies equally that there either is no political issue, or that the most in charge have not committed to anything towards the workers who feel wronged, yet are any laws broken? That is the issue we need to address. What is valid and what is of concern is the labels we seem to bestow on people. For what reason? We can argue that enabling through tax laws does not make a person an investor and the £5.3 billion gains against £11.9 million taxation is equally incomplete more important, how much was exactly invested by Amazon and where? Even if we accept certain labels and certain values, we need to equally accept that the old values entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist are no longer what they seemed to be. In a world of constants, we see the change and evolution of entitlements on a nearly daily basis giving us less to hold onto and even less than that to consider as the stability of an impression in a constantly changing world.

How is that fair on those who truly were philanthropists, investors, and entrepreneurs?

So until the true investigation, if it happens at all, Jeff Bezos might not be seen as a borrower, an antagonist or opposer. Yet at this point there is in addition nowhere near the clear evidence available to see him as an oppressor, that part would only be seen in the eyes of the workers who decided to stay in tents, to avoid travel costs that does not make him an oppressor. In addition, what scrutiny have the agencies been going through? The smallest quote in the Guardian stating: “Staff have to pay to catch an agency-provided bus to the Dunfermline site” gives us the part where we need to ask how much people have to pay and was this clearly communicated to them in the beginning?

In the end, we need to take a look at what is going on at the Dunfermline site. Is it merely Liberal Democrat shouts for attention via Amazon?  If not, considering that this has been going on for quite some time, how have officials failed and in addition, who signed off on the grants for Amazon? All valid issues and without clear answers we can only see Jeff Bezon as a shrewd business man, which is not a crime and not a valid push for demonization of him in person.

And the hidden messages we now see regarding the whistle-blowers and Google taxation? The independent is giving a nice line, in between the lines of Amazon, yet why is this not seen in a clear tax audit? If there is an issue not reported or not seen by Ernst and Young, it means that either the tax laws are not clear enough, or that Ernst and Young is shown to be unable to do its job. This would be a valid discussion with PwC, yet is there any clear indications with E&Y? And who were those whistle blowers? What many are ignoring is that the benefit of a global company means that you have global options, which is the clear benefit that Amazon is using as well. The fact that politicians have been unwilling to make changes to tax laws makes them negligent and possibly incompetent, not the large corporations, a part clearly not seen in any of the articles. So like Ed Balls, we see another politician shouting for the limelight, yet is there clear wrongdoing?

It seems that this is sidestepped by several parties and when we consider that the sources I mentioned are news sources, perhaps they are missing the plot too, but that just a small speculation from my side. We look at a double sided blade, Amazon and Google alike will slice from the revenue on one side, yet they will in equal measure slice from entitlements within legal limits from the other side of the blade because the option was given to them. Given to them, not taken by them, there is a clear difference and politicians are at the core of that largely diminished roast being presented.

 

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