“The camera never lies” is a thing of the past. A new computer program can manipulate a video such that the person on-screen mirrors the movements and expressions of someone in a different video. Unlike other film-fudging software, this program can tamper with far more than facial expressions. The algorithm, to be presented August 16 at the 2018 SIGGRAPH meeting in Vancouver, also tweaks head and torso poses, eye movements and background details to create more lifelike fakes. These video forgeries are “astonishingly realistic,” says Adam Finkelstein, a computer scientist at Princeton University not involved in the work. This system could help produce dubbed films where the actors’ lip movements match the voiceover, or even movies that star dead actors reanimated through old footage, he says. But giving internet users the power to create ultrarealistic phony videos of public figures could also take fake news to the next level (SN: 8/4/18, p. 22). The … [Read more...] about A new computer program generates eerily realistic fake videos
World of Warcraft is 14 years old. Its success comes with challenges most games never face, and graphics are chief among them. Blizzard’s MMO released the same year as Battlefield Vietnam, Half-Life 2, and Gran Turismo 4. Load those games today, and you probably won’t like what you see. Blizzard is in a running battle with its own art. Expansions like Battle for Azeroth introduce new worlds, but the game’s artists must refresh the old as well, selectively polishing what’s most important. That polish has consequences for performance. The game has new graphics features, new textures, and new character models with higher polygon counts. The latest expansion even upgrades the game with DirectX 12 compatibility, while ditching DirectX 9 support. What do you need to run World of Warcraft’s latest incarnation, and what settings should you change to improve performance? The results are in Before we dive into specific recommendations, we need to set a baseline. How … [Read more...] about Think ‘World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth’ can play on any PC? Think again.
Spotify is clearly the best music streaming service out there — err, at least according to us. Its premium service is relatively affordable, it offers more than 30 millions songs, and it will allow you to download specific songs and playlists to listen to when you’re offline. Downloading music directly from Spotify is easy, too, and can be done on both your mobile device and desktop machine. If you’re unclear on how to go about doing it, however, we’ve put together a simple tutorial on how to download songs from Spotify. The one caveat — if it even is one — is that you can only download 3,333 songs on each device, and can only do so on up to three different devices. You’ll also need Spotify Premium and an internet connection to make it happen. Desktop Step 1: When viewing a playlist you’d like to download, click the button marked Follow, which is located directly to the right of the Play button. Otherwise, the … [Read more...] about Need some tunes when you’re offline? Here’s how to download songs from Spotify
The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has withdrawn its approval of the Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable merger. According to a PSC release, the revocation is for specific cause, namely that Spectrum, the name of the merged entity, failed to deliver specific benefits to New Yorkers that were among the conditions upon which the merger was approved, the PSC says. In addition to rescinding its approval of the Charter and Time Warner merger, the commission also filed an enforcement action in the New York State Supreme Court to seek $3 million in penalties for past failures and continuing noncompliance. The PSC listed five areas of Charter’s alleged misconduct: Repeated missed deadlines; Attempts to avoid obligations to rural communities; Unsafe practices; Failure to fully commit to the merger obligations; and Purposeful obfuscation of its performance and compliance obligations. Concluding that Charter “was not interested in being a good corporate … [Read more...] about N.Y. state withdraws approval of Charter and Time Warner merger, boots Spectrum
A new computer program works smarter, not harder, to solve problems faster than its predecessors. The algorithm is designed to find the best solution to a given problem among all possible options. Whereas other computer programs winnow down the possibilities one at a time, the new program — presented July 12 at the International Conference on Machine Learning in Stockholm — rules out many choices at once. For instance, imagine a computer is assigned to compile movie recommendations based on a particular film. The ideal recommendation list would include suggestions that are both similar to the original flick — say, in the same genre — yet different enough from each other to give the viewer a variety of choice. A traditional recommendation system would pore over an entire movie library to find films that best met those criteria and add films to its roster of recommendations one by one, a relatively slow and tedious process. By contrast, the new program starts by … [Read more...] about Solving problems by computer just got a lot faster