Month: October 2018

Home 2018 October
EU leaders prepared to extend UK’s Brexit transition period
Post

EU leaders prepared to extend UK’s Brexit transition period

The original plan is for a 21-month period starting March 30, 2019, as soon as the UK has left. But with the two sides failing to come to an agreement on how the new relationship will work, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has proposed extending this arrangement "for a few months." Speaking at a news conference in Brussels following a summit that was dominated by the Brexit issue, Donald Tusk, President of the EU's intergovernmental body, the European Council, said the bloc's leaders had not discussed the period of transition at the meeting, but said it was unlikely to be opposed."If the UK decided an extension of the transition period would be helpful to reach a deal, I am sure the leaders would be ready to consider it positively."Tusk nevertheless confirmed that insufficient progress had been made over the past two days to merit another more conclusive summit next month for final agreement on the terms of the deal, as previously planned."I stand ready to convene a European Council on Brexit, if and when the EU negotiator reports that decisive progress has been made," Tusk said. "And, we should be clear that as for now, not enough progress has been made."But both Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker struck an optimistic note, saying that a Brexit deal is closer."I feel today we are closer to final solutions and the deal, but it's maybe a more emotional impression than a rational one. As you know emotions matter in politics," said Tusk.Tusk said EU leaders had nevertheless agreed to continue the Brexit talks after hearing from May.Speaking after Tusk, May said Thursday there would be more difficult moments ahead as they reached the final stages of the talks, but added that she was confident in her ability to secure a good deal agreeable to all parties."We hope extended transition will not be needed," she said.German Chancellor Angela Merkel was more optimistic. "We have been able to reach agreement to a very large degree," she said."Time is of the essence, but still we do not have a solution on all fronts, for example we still have to deal with the Irish situation, there is still no really satisfactory answer to this; this cannot be completely separated from the question of what our relationship is going to look like in the future."The UK is scheduled to leave the EU in five and a half months but so far there has been no agreement on how that should be done, and how 45 years of common legislation in everything from trade to pesticides should be untangled. The thorniest issue of all is the question of Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK but shares a border with the Irish Republic that is currently open to goods and people. Neither the UK nor Ireland want to change that situation but the EU is insisting that once the UK is out of the EU some form of border controls should be established. With time running out, the fear is the UK could crash out of the EU with no deal on vitally important issues like tariffs and trade.Tens of thousands of people are expected to march in London on Saturday to demand a "People's Vote" over the terms of any agreement, which will also have to be ratified by the parliaments of the remaining 27 EU nations. "The gap between what people were promised in 2016 and the reality of any Brexit deal the Prime Minister finally manages to secure is growing bigger by the day," said Labour David Lammy MP, leading supporter of the People's Vote campaign."We are a million miles away from what the Brexit elite once promised. Brexit is already costing jobs and investment, damaging public services, threatening workers' rights and the environment, as well as closing the opportunities our younger generations will need. And it's only going to get worse."

Original Article

[contf]
[contfnew]

CNN
[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]

Can AI create a masterpiece?
Post

Can AI create a masterpiece?

This story is part of "Smart Creativity," a series exploring the intersection between high-concept design and advanced technology.

"Edmond de Belamy" has made history as the first work of art produced by artificial intelligence to be sold at auction.

The slightly blurry canvas print, which has been likened to works by the Old Masters, sold Thursday for $432,500 — dramatically exceeding its original estimate of $7,000-$10,000– at a Christie's auction in New York.

"Christie's continually stays attuned to changes in the art market and how technology can impact the creation and consumption of art," Richard Lloyd, international head of prints and multiples at Christie's, said in a statement before the auction.

"AI has already been incorporated as a tool by contemporary artists and as this technology further develops, we are excited to participate in these continued conversations. To best engage in the dialogue, we are offering a public platform to exhibit an artwork that has entirely been realized by an algorithm."

Obvious co-founder Pierre Fautrel stands beside "Edmond de Belamy" before it hits the auction block at Christie's in New York. Credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

While the print is signed "min G max D x [log (D(x))] + z [log(1 – D (G(z)))]" after a section of the algorithm's code, it was conceived by Obvious, a Paris-based trio fascinated by the artistic potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Though none come from an art background, friends Pierre Fautrel, Hugo Caselles-Dupré and Gauthier Vernier first started experimenting with art and machine learning last year.

"We saw algorithms were capable of creating new images, and we were astonished by the potential they had," Vernier said.

To produce "Edmond de Belamy" and the 10 other portraits in the "La Famille de Belamy" series, Obvious fed a two-part algorithm 15,000 images of portraits from different time periods. After reviewing these submissions, the first part of the algorithm began generating its own portraits, trying to create original works that could pass as man-made.

Can artificial intelligence produce a masterpiece?

"All the data has similarities, so common features. So, first algorithm creates new examples of those images and tries to fool the second algorithm into thinking that those pictures created are, actually, real portraits, so human-made," Vernier said.

"We're looking at these portraits the same way a painter would do it. Like walking in a gallery, taking some inspiration. Except that we feed this inspiration to the algorithm, and the algorithm is the part that does the visual creation."

"Le Comte de Belamy" is one of 10 portraits that comprise Obvious' "La Famille de Belamy" series. Credit: Courtesy Obvious

While inventive, this approach hasn't been without critics. Many working in the field of art and artificial intelligence criticized or dismissed Obvious' inclusion in the Christie's sale since the type of algorithm used — generative adversarial networks, or GANs — have been used by artists for years.

Speaking to The New York Times ahead of the auction, Mario Klingemann, an artist known for his work with machine learning, likened "Edmond de Belamy" to "a connect-the-dots children's painting."

But in light of the auction result, it's likely Obvious will remain undaunted by naysayers. Their work has raised interesting points around the nature of human creation — and clearly caught the attention of the world's collectors.

"I think (artificial intelligence) has its place in the art world because it tries to replicate what any artist would do, like trying to create from what he knows," Vernier said. "It forces you to try to understand your own creativity and how you would be able to replicate it."

Watch the video above to find out more about Obvious and how technology informs the trio's practice.

Original Article

[contf]
[contfnew]

CNN
[contfnewc]
[contfnewc]