Staff Picks: AI Edition!

In preparation of our upcoming gnoviCon, check out what articles, apps, and innovations in artificial intelligence that we’re most excited about!

Future Tense

Future Tense is a section of Slate, an online magazine, that explores emerging technologies and the effect they may have on our lives! Future Tense was founded through a partnership between Slate, Arizona State University, and New America. Join us at gnoviCon to hear Molly Kinder, a Senior Adviser at New America, discuss Artificial Intelligence and Labor and check out some new tech on Future Tense in preparation.

– Alexa DeJesus, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

future tense

Amazon Go

Amazon Go is redefining the grocery shopping user experience. This past January, the online retail giant opened their first artificial-intelligence-powered grocery store where there are no cashiers or check out lines. However, the trade-off for this convenience is that shoppers are on display – being tracked by cameras and sensors throughout their entire shopping experience. They use their smartphones to check in when they enter the store and when they leave. They pay for their groceries using app, just as they would for any transaction. This new way of grocery shopping is still very experimental but it is another example of how technology continues to redefine our shopping experiences.

– Remel Hoskins, Assistant Director of Multimedia


RE•WORK is an events organizing company, founded by Nikita Johnson, whose mission is to bring together the diverse groups of people working on emerging technologies, especially AI,  for interdisciplinary conversations about the future of industry and society. The events take place all over the world and include initiatives such as their Women in Tech events, which aim to provide a platform for women in STEM research and encourage future generations. Check out RE•WORK’s podcast and blog to see how different groups are looking at AI.  The content of their events can also be seen in their white papers.

– Katie Hartzell, Assistant Managing Editor


It has been said that “when historians look back at the 21st century, the Internet might be narrowed down to two traits: cats and porn” (Greaves, 2014). A new development in artificial intelligence reveals an unexpected conflict between the two groups, however. In the past year, “deep fakes” (in which artificial intelligence bridges the gap between facial-recognition software and machine learning to map a new face or image onto an existing video) have infiltrated the world of pornography, enabling users to map a celebrity’s face (non-consensually) onto a porn star’s. While Reddit and a number of porn-hosting websites have attempted to limit the spread of deepfakes as violations of their terms of service, Gfycat, a GIF-hosting platform notable for cracking the code on high-res GIFs, offers an alternative. Leveraging the same artificial intelligence that powers their platform, Gfycat is leading the charge on identifying porn deep fakes by isolating the parts of the GIF (human faces) that are not fully-rendered. While Gfycat’s efforts may slow the proliferation of deep fakes across the internet, this situation suggests a need for ethical standards of AI use to prevent abuse of this technology.

– Ellen Kaufman, Managing Editor

Dictation Feature

The “Dictation” feature on Macs is not new or cutting edge, but when I mentioned it during a recent class discussion, I realized it might not be commonly used. That said, I never submit a report or finalize a document without it. You have to activate it in your computer’s settings. However, once you have, just highlight the text in your word processor, click the shortcut and the computer reads it right back. It’s the easiest way I know to get an outside perspective on my own writing, hear how it flows, and catch things like missing articles or common typos.

– Rebecca Tantillo, Editor-in-Chief

Desk Set

One of my favorite movies growing up was Desk Set, a 1957 Hepburn-Tracy romantic comedy about a computer expert (Spencer Tracy) who is sent to a television studio’s library/research division (headed up by Katherine Hepburn) to install a massive ENIAC-style computer. The movie revolves around the very current fear at the time that machines and automation would replace all human jobs, which sheds light on any impact that A.I. might have on labor relations.

– Fred Ji, Director of Outreach & Social Media


Co-Star uses natural language processors, data from NASA, and astrological algorithms to provide real time, highly acute horoscopes and natal-charts. Co-Star also acts as a social media platform allowing users to add their contacts and explore the natal-charts, compatibility and horoscopes of friends, family, and foes. Even if you don’t look to the stars, you have to admit this app is pretty cool. ~It is free and the interface is a dream ~

– Carson Collier, Director of Web & Blog Services

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