Flippy and his friends. How Covid-19 pandemic is creating new job opportunities… for robots.

As the world adapts to the pandemic reality, industries are taking various measures to keep their businesses going. Aim is to reduce the physical interactions between people, and minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
And so the automation of workforce enters new areas and conquers new frontiers. Crowded spaces of restaurant kitchens and convenience stores are some of those.

The opportunities offered by sterile machines become even more tempting, in times were survival of your business could depend on hygienics and cleanliness.

Is that a trend that will help save the economy or is it another step on dehumanising yet another industry?

As one one of the managers, interviewed in the videos below put its:

“People are concerned with human beings involved with their food, and the spread of disease. So if you eliminate human beings from equation in some way shape or form, and replace them with robots people tend to feel safer. “

Sounds like this is where we are heading. Eliminating humans from the equation.

Feels so much safer already, doesn’t it?

Robot cooks are on the way

Flippy the burger frying robot

Meet Model-T grocery store remote controlled robot

Reuters reports on a deepfake persona used for disinformation.

Few posts ago, I was writing about the growing (and worrying!) potential of the deepfake technology. You can check the article here.
A recent news from Reuters, provided another example of how disturbing the applications of such software can be.

The story features Oliver Taylor, a student at England’s University of Birmingham. He is an activist who engaged through a series of articles in a tense debate on political issues around anti-Semitism and Jewish affairs.
You can see Oliver’s photo in the source article on Reuters.

All this would not be anything particularly out of ordinary if not for one small detail.

Oliver Taylor doesn’t exist.

His identity is forged and his photo is a deepfake; an image generated through neural networks. As investigators behind Reuters article determined, some people generated this modern “Ventriloquist Dummy” to give voice to their agenda.

Thanks to Maximalfocus on Unsplash.

Dan Brahmy, quoted in the article (from Israel-based startup Cyabra specialized in detecting forged images.) observes:

“Deepfakes like Taylor are dangerous because they can help build “a totally untraceable identity,” (..) investigators chasing the origin of such photos are left “searching for a needle in a haystack – except the needle doesn’t exist.””

Those who played Deus-ex: Human Revolution might remembera character Eliza Cassan. She was an influential news anchor, famous all around the world. She also happened to be (spoiler alert!) a computer generated visual, a mere shell for a powerful AI behind it.

It seems like the reality is catching up on that one quite fast.
Maybe even… it already did?