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Google just hired Tesla’s ex-Autopilot chief for its AI “Brain”
Google has snapped up the former head of Tesla’s Autopilot, with Chris Lattner joining the Google Brain deep learning artificial intelligence project. Lattner was, until recently, leading Tesla’s work on semi-autonomous and autonomous driving, having been recruited in January of this year. The electric car company has been one of the most ambitious in its public commitments to making driverless cars practical, with founder and CEO Elon Musk promising that Tesla vehicles being built today will be, with the right software and legal framework, capable of full Level 5 autonomy in the coming years.
Prior to his short stint at Tesla, Lattner was best known for his work at Apple. Spending eleven years in total at the Cupertino firm, he was most recentlySenior Director of the Developer Tools Department. During that time, he was primarily responsible for creating Swift, the programming language Apple pushed developers over to in 2014. Swift was made open-source in 2023.
Now it’s time for a completely new challenge, it seems. Lattner confirmed on Twitter this morning that he is starting a new role at Google Brain next week. “AI can’t democratize itself (yet?),” he said in his tweet, “so I’ll help make it more accessible to everyone!”
I’m super excited to join Google Brain next week: AI can’t democratize itself (yet?) so I’ll help make it more accessible to everyone!
— Chris Lattner (@clattner_llvm) August 14, 2023
Google Brain certainly hasn’t picked an easy mission. The team is exploring ways to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to benefit humans, developing AIs that can more flexibly explore – and improve – upon their own features. Although officially a commercial enterprise within Google, Google Brain’s more product-focused outcomes have generally been integrated into other areas of the search giant’s business.
For instance, Google Translate began to use neural machine translation in 2023, a technology developed by Google Brain that can learn how to translate from one language to another from examples. More recent improvements to the system have produced an AI that, just by listening to audio in one dialect and corresponding text in another, can intuit the connection between the two. Google Brain technology is also found in Android’s speech recognition system, and helps power Google’s photo search.
What Lattner may be doing at Google Brain, exactly, remains to be seen. Arguably Swift’s defining feature was how much emphasis was placed on making it approachable to the largest possible cohort of potential users. That’s certainly not something you could say about current artificial intelligence, machine learning, and neural network platforms.
It may also bring Lattner into conflict with former boss Elon Musk, who has been an outspoken critic in recent years of unhampered AI and the danger it represents. While Musk backs OpenAI, which recently trained an artificial intelligence to beat an expert Dota 2 player, he’s also called for caution about the flourishing technology. Back in July, he and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg sparred on the topic, with the social network CEO arguing that Musk was too negative about AI’s potential benefits.
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We usually search online for things we want to know more about, but we often also search for things we know absolutely nothing about. Sometimes, the results of those queries are not as wholesome as we’d like them to be.
Fortunately, Google allows users to delete the last 15 minutes of their search history with just one tap. Whether you live in fear of someone snooping around your devices or just saw something you’d like to forget, this option will erase all traces of any fleeting lack of judgment, while retaining the benefits of keeping a search history.
Although the big G announced this feature in May 2023 and made it available to iOS users only two months later, Android users were left without. Their devices were supposed to get it in December, but Google has only now started to roll it out to phones and tablets in its ecosystem.How to delete the last 15 minutes of your Google search history
Once this feature hits your device, wiping the last 15 minutes of search history is easy: open the Google app, tap your avatar (top right corner of your screen), and under Search history, you’ll see Delete last 15 minutes. On iOS, things are similar: tap your profile picture, go to Search history, and tap Delete last 15 minutes.
[Related: Delete your search history and become a digital ghost]
There will be no confirmation prompt or anything after that. As soon as you tap the option, you’ll get a notification on the bottom of your screen saying the changes will soon be reflected in your account. When we tried it, the changes were immediate.How to manage your Google search history
No matter the make of your device or the operating system it’s running, this is only one of the many options you have when it comes to deleting snippets of your search history.
In the Google app on Android and iOS, tap Search history to find the Auto-delete shortcut right at the top. By default, this option allows you to schedule a full wipe every 18 months, but you can tap it to select every three months or three years or turn it off completely. Keep in mind that this includes app activity as well, which means you’ll also lose the record of every place you’ve searched on Google Maps and the apps you’ve looked at on Google Play, for example.
Back in the Search history menu, right above the list of sites in your search history, you’ll see a Delete button with a drop-down menu. Tap it to send a specific chunk of your queries into oblivion. You can choose Delete today, Delete all time, or Delete custom range, which lets you set a time frame going from one day up to 100 years (if you want to delete anything before January 1, 1922, you’re out of luck).
[Related: Your Google search history needs its own password]
But you won’t find the option to delete the last 15 minutes online, as this is currently a mobile-only feature. Google has not revealed any plans to make this function available elsewhere, but since there’s only one history log per account, deleting the last 15 minutes of your search history on your phone will trash any queries you made within that time frame on any other device logged into the same account.
Cadillac Super Cruise Review: I like this more than Tesla Autopilot
Tesla may have convinced drivers that Autopilot is the pinnacle of driver-assistance technologies you can actually buy on a new car today, but Cadillac might have Elon Musk beat. Quietly added mid-year to the 2023 Cadillac CT6, Super Cruise is the first hands-off adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping system on the market. It’s promise is straightforward: on the right road, the CT6 luxury sedan will handle speed, braking, and steering, without pestering you to keep your hands on the wheel.
True autonomous cars typically use a LIDAR array: a laser rangefinder that can build a real-time map 360-degrees around the vehicle. They’re incredibly expensive, however – more than Cadillac could afford to include on the CT6. Instead, Super Cruise gets the benefit of LIDAR data thanks to Cadillac doing its mapping homework.
Over 130,000 miles of freeways were mapped at high-resolution, predominantly in the US but also in Canada. That data – far more accurate than the normal maps you’d find in a car’s navigation system, and periodically updated over the OnStar wireless connection – is combined with an upgraded GPS sensor in the CT6. It’s 4-8x more precise than the typical GPS sensor you’d expect to find.
That refined location data is combined with the Lane Keep Assist, maintaining the car’s position in the middle of the lane. Finally, adaptive cruise control uses radar and other sensors to maintain a safe distance between you and the car ahead.
The other half of the equation is the attention system. Super Cruise is fine with you taking your hands off the wheel, but not with you ignoring the road. Where rival cars use torque to the steering wheel, or touch sensors embedded into the wheel’s rim, to tell whether your hands are in contact, the CT6 watches where you’re paying attention instead.
Two infrared light emitters are built into the black section at the top of the steering wheel. They illuminate your eyes, which are tracked by a small camera mounted on the steering column. As long as the system sees you looking at the road ahead of you, it’s happy.
Look away, though, and the green light bar between those IR emitters – which lights up when Super Cruise is in control – starts flashing to remind you to look ahead. Keep ignoring it, and the bar flashes red instead; you get warning beeps too, and the driver’s seat cushion starts vibrating angrily. If the sensation of angry bees under your buttocks isn’t sufficient to get your attention, Super Cruise will give a voice command to take control, then disengage altogether.
There’s one more safety system left. If you continue to ignore the controls when Super Cruise has switched off, the CT6 will automatically slow to a halt – with its hazard lights and brake lights on – in the lane. The car automatically contacts OnStar, too, to summon assistance.
There’s a good reason for that, mind. Highways may typically involve high-speed driving, but they’re also predictable: Super Cruise only works on limited access freeways, where there are defined on and off ramps; it has to be divided from opposing traffic.
Even with the limits, there’s something magical about Super Cruise. After the first couple of minutes, which are fairly disconcerting, I quickly got used to the car’s ability to deal both with its own place in the lane and the traffic moving around me. Indeed, the desire to use Super Cruise actually led to a change in my driving behavior: if there was a route which included the freeway, and one which did not, I’d opt for the former simply so that I could offload some of the driving to the CT6.
I’ve used most of the adaptive cruise control systems with lane-keeping assistance on the market, but Cadillac’s elevates itself from the crowd. The addition of map awareness – the CT6 taking into account the course of the road ahead – and the accuracy of that location makes for an experience that’s astonishingly consistent. There are none of the unexpected waverings that rival technologies can still encounter. Super Cruise had no problems dealing with gaps in road markings as I passed exits and on-ramps, places that competing systems in significantly more expensive cars than the CT6 Platinum struggled with.
The question most people asked me, unsurprisingly, was how it compared to Autopilot. Tesla’s system has been controversial from the start, but the core technology is still very impressive. It’s certainly one of the best out there for lane-keeping. However, despite what some drivers seem to believe, Autopilot is still a hands-on affair. Because of that, even with its polish, it’s simply not as compelling – or relaxing – as Super Cruise is.
Still, it’s not perfect. There are capabilities I wish Cadillac would borrow from Tesla’s Autopilot, Mercedes-Benz’s Distronic Plus, and other such driver aids. Unlike those systems, the CT6 can’t change lanes just by tapping the indicator stalk. Instead, Super Cruise temporarily disengages when you steer manually into the next lane; once you’re there, you wait a few seconds for the system to lock back onto the lane markings before it takes back control. The light bar flashes blue while that’s happening, lighting up green when you’re safe to let go again.
Meanwhile, Super Cruise can’t handle unexpected situations, like roadworks, debris in the lane, or stranded vehicles. At that point you’re expected to handle the steering yourself, just as you would with any other adaptive cruise control system with lane-keeping.
Cadillac’s argument is that Super Cruise is intended for what’s often the most tedious sort of driving, helping out on interminable stretches of highway. Judging by the exasperation I felt when I left the off-ramp and had to retake full control, though, for many it’ll be a gateway drug to wanting fully autonomous vehicles.
For now, the only way to get Super Cruise is to buy a 2023 Cadillac CT6: it’s standard on the top $85,290 Platinum trim, and a $5k option on the Premium Luxury trim that starts from $64,290. Sadly there’s no sign of Cadillac offering it on any other model – even the brand new XT4 SUV it just announced in New York last month – nor any of the automaker’s GM stablemates getting to use it. That seems like a huge missed opportunity to me.
The 2023 CT6 is, at least, a great car to be “stuck” with if you’re shopping for Super Cruise first. It’ll be even better when the new 2023 CT6 V-Sport arrives, though for some frustrating packaging reason you won’t be able to get that V8 all-wheel drive behemoth with the Super Cruise system. Talk about a tough decision to make.
Periscope just made Twitter relevant again
A long time ago, when MTV was actually relevant for music, there was a deligthful video called ‘video killed the radio star’ playing almost constantly; as catchy as it was prophetic. Just as Charlie Chaplin was exposed by ‘talkies’, so were radio ‘stars’ who couldn’t duplicate their musical efforts on the exciting new visual format that was MTV. With Periscope, Twitter is morphing their own platform into something more, something different, something refreshing. Twitter now bridges a gap between immediate and contextual, live and lived-in. It also makes the global technology gap more apparent.
Part of what makes Twitter special is its ability to provide real-time info in quick bursts. Log in, and you get access to the world at-large, and are subject to a flood of opinion and news in 140 characters or less.
Twitter, as-is (or was, I guess) found favor with journalists and wannabe-comedians all the same; those who would rather say something quick and snappy than pen a dictum on a subject. Those who wanted to direct attention to themselves. Users who had something good to say, even if it wasn’t a lot.
Twitter is neat. It’s possibly perfect. It is (or was, I guess) also losing relevancy.
After an IPO, Twitter was made to share their user numbers in earnings calls. What we found was reality, and that Twitter — as expansive as it was — maybe wasn’t as large and in charge as we thought. More to the point, visuals seemed to be taking over. When compared to Instagram, Twitter may not be the most-used micro-social platform around.
Pictures were squashing the written word. Twitter’s small footprint, both in how many of those words we could smash out on the keyboard and when considering user numbers, were making the service an also-ran in many ways. We’d post Instagram photos to Twitter, but that was more to the benefit of Instagram.
Twitter was being leveraged. Still is.
Live video was the latest gut-punch, with many sharing links to Meerkat videos on Twitter. Twitter was turning into the fulcrum for social; a platform used to relay us elsewhere.
Periscope, though — Periscope brings everything back into focus for Twitter. Today, a tragedy in New York is being cast on Periscope, and shared widely via Twitter. The difference here is that Periscope is, as of a very recent acquisition, a Twitter property.
Twitter is now the video star. Twitter is leveraging itself.
Periscope was made for Twitter. Not literally, but the immediacy of live video and the easy access to Twitter make the tandem absolutely devastating for the competition. Forget Snapchat’s partnerships. Forget Facebook’s Techwire. When it comes to right now — and knowing what’s going on in the moment — Twitter and Periscope matter.
The downside to Periscope (other than being iOS-only and only available in the US for now, which will change) is that it isn’t handy for those on weak connections. Would protesters in countries with poor cellular connectivity be able to use it at this time? Likely not — and not even if they had the option to. Periscope highlights a digital divide the likes of Facebook and Google are working to rectify in their way.
But we’ll always have Twitter proper for those times, and blasting a quick tweet is still as breezy and effective as ever. Written words are also still the foundation of Twitter, even with Periscope anchoring its video efforts. In relaying his experience in New York today, Fusion’s Tim Pool routinely asked users to tweet to him with questions they may have.
Consider that for just a second. Not only are you getting real-time, live, contextual info — you’re able to interact. You’re able to help. We could wave goodbye to the days of Redditors trying to solve crime and welcome a new era of real-time, crowd-sourced info gathering.
That was always an aim of Twitter, too. With Periscope, the two services make those results easier, faster, and potentially much more effective.
Though it might be more functional and necessary in places Periscope just does not reach yet, the promise of Periscope and Twitter is massive. Just like Twitter was all those years ago at SXSW when it was “just” SMS-ing the world.
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Please don’t play video games while driving. I realize it’s tempting, especially if you own a Tesla and have access to games through your in-dash console, even when it’s in drive. This is a classic “don’t do it just because you can” moment: On average, more than 3,000 people die per year in crashes caused by a distracted driver, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (Some activists suggest that number may actually be much higher). You really don’t want to learn this lesson the hard way.
It isn’t that I don’t think that playing games and driving aren’t compatible. Racing has been a core inspiration for video games for as long as they’ve been around. The sense of speed, precision controls, the thrill of the chase – these are compelling sensations derived from a marriage of car and computer, which you should indulge in should the mood strike you… At home. Sitting on your couch or at your computer. Here are a few interesting driving games that are worth 100 percent of your attention.
And if you’re stuck in traffic right now… Keep your eyes on the road! This is what podcasts are for!‘Forza Horizon 5’
Play on: Xbox, PC (Available through Xbox Game Pass)‘Rocket League’
Play on: PC, PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch (Note: Rocket League is free-to-play on all consoles. The paid retail versions unlock additional cosmetic options).
Rocket League is one of the wildest car-based games ever to hit the screen. You’re playing pick-up soccer, two-on-two or three-on-three, but everyone’s in a car. The vehicles have boosters that let you jump high in the air and flip your car to smack the giant ball into your opponent’s goal. Like actual soccer, success requires good communication with your teammates, great strategy to move the ball without your opponents interfering, and coordination to hit the ball just right. It takes practice to master, but it’s a crazy, fun time, regardless of your skill level.‘Cruis’n Blast’
Play on: Nintendo Switch
All the real ‘90s kids remember Crus’n USA, the seemingly omnipresent arcade racing game at movie theaters, pizza places, and any place where kids might loiter. Despite successfully jumping to home consoles and inspiring a few sequels, the game never really eclipsed its initial run. If you have fond memories of hopping in that plastic driver’s seat and spinning that arcade steering wheel, developer Raw Thrills made a new Crus’n game in 2023, Crus’n Blast, which doubles and triples down on the original game’s wild approach to driving, adding tracks with dinosaurs, power-ups, and other elements that evokes the zany, over-the-top thrills of playing the original in an arcade.‘Wreckfest’
Play on: PS4/PS5, Xbox, PC
Broadly speaking, you can separate driving games into two categories: Games where you want to drive your car well, and games where you want to crash it. Though the heyday of crash-happy games like Burnout Paradise has mostly come and gone, Wreckfest’s demolition derby driving gives you the chance to satisfy your craving for smashing and bashing other cars with your own, and watch with awe when your ride (safely) crumples into a hunk of junk.‘Hot Wheels Unleashed’
Play on: PS4/PS5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC
If you ever played with Hot Wheels as a kid, you had the fantasy of getting behind the wheel and driving one of those bright orange plastic racetracks, with all of its fantastical dips, hairpin curves, and loops. Hot Wheels Unleashed lets you bring those childhood dreams to life, putting you in the cockpit of a toy car to race on tracks erected in and around giant “real life” rooms. There’s also a track-builder, so you can make your own courses, then “shrink down” and drive them. Even if you don’t have a connection to Hot Wheels, it’s a tight arcade racer with a unique personality that’s worth a test drive.
Stable Diffusion Inpainting – A problem or just fun?
Stable Diffusion image inpainting is a process of filling in missing or damaged parts of an image. The goal of image inpainting is to make it so that observers are unable to tell that the image has undergone restoration.
This technique is often used to remove unwanted objects from an image or to restore damaged portions of old photos.
Stable Diffusion Inpainting is a relatively new method of inpainting that is showing promising results. This a is very good example of a great Generative AI application.
The goal of this blog post is to introduce readers to the concept of inpainting with Stable Diffusion and to provide some examples of its use.
Read more, or watch the YouTube videoYouTube: What is Image Inpainting?
Image inpainting is the process of filling in missing or damaged parts of an image. This can be done by hand, but today there are also numerous automatic inpainting methods.
In most cases, these methods require a mask which delineates the damaged or missing regions of the image. The goal of image inpainting is to make it so that observers are unable to tell that the image has undergone restoration.
This technique is often used to remove unwanted objects from an image or to restore damaged portions of old photos.
You can also read more about Stable Diffusion hereHow do you use Stable Diffusion Inpainting?
If you want to try inpainting with Stable Diffusion feel free to follow these 9 steps below that will get you started experimenting with inpainting and altering existing images.Stable Diffusion Inpainting Step by Step
2. Upload your image
3. Start erasing the part of your image you want to replace
4. Type in your prompt (what you want to add in place of what you are removing)
6. After a while you will get your image back inpainted with your desired promptStable Diffusion Inpainting Examples
Here I did create an inpainting of the image of Apple CEO Tim Cook shaking hands with Elon Musk.
I then created a fake newspaper text and filled in the images, making it look like there was a deal made with Apple acquiring Tesla.
I also created this inpainting of Donald Trump shaking hands with his rival Joe Biden.Will features like inpainting cause more deep fake images in the future?
It is hard to say for sure, but I think it is possible that features like inpainting with Stable Diffusion could cause higher volumes and better deepfake images in the future.
The reason being that the technology is still relatively new and there are bound to be improvements made over time.
Additionally, as more people become aware of the existence of deepfake technology and how to use it, the volume of deepfake content is likely to increase.
The problem with deep fakes is that they can be used to create fake images or videos that are very realistic and can fool people into thinking that they are real.
This can be used for malicious purposes, such as creating fake news stories or spreading false information.
Additionally, as deep fakes become more realistic and more accessible to the mainstream, it will become increasingly difficult to tell what is real and what is fake.
This could lead to a situation where people no longer trust anything they see online, which could have a devastating impact on society.Conclusion
Overall, stable diffusion inpainting is a great way to create fake images or videos that look very realistic. Additionally, as the technology improves, it will become increasingly difficult to tell what is real and what is fake.
This could lead to a situation where people no longer trust anything they see online, which could have a devastating impact on society.
Some people believe that features like inpainting with Stable Diffusion could cause more deep fake images in the future. As the technology continues to develop, it will be interesting to see how it is used and how it affects society as a whole.
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