Technology Archives - My Modern Met https://mymodernmet.com The Big City That Celebrates Creative Ideas Thu, 16 Jun 2022 17:21:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.2 https://mymodernmet.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/cropped-My-Modern-Met-Favicon-1-32x32.png Technology Archives - My Modern Met https://mymodernmet.com 32 32 Google Engineer Claims Its AI Has Feelings, but Experts Have Far Deeper Concerns https://mymodernmet.com/blake-lemoine-lamda-sentience/ Wed, 15 Jun 2022 19:20:52 +0000 https://mymodernmet.com/?p=521274 Google Engineer Claims Its AI Has Feelings, but Experts Have Far Deeper Concerns

When Google engineer Blake Lemoine asked to be moved to the company’s Responsible AI organization, he was looking to make an impact on humanity. In his new role, he would be responsible for chatting with Google’s LaMDA, a sort of virtual hive mind that generates chatbots. Lemoine was to ensure that it was not using […]

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Google Engineer Claims Its AI Has Feelings, but Experts Have Far Deeper Concerns
Google Engineer Says LaMDA AI is Sentient

Photo: JohanSwanepoel/Depositphotos

When Google engineer Blake Lemoine asked to be moved to the company’s Responsible AI organization, he was looking to make an impact on humanity. In his new role, he would be responsible for chatting with Google’s LaMDA, a sort of virtual hive mind that generates chatbots. Lemoine was to ensure that it was not using discriminatory or hate speech, but what he’s claiming that he discovered is much bigger. According to Lemoine, LaMDA is sentient—meaning it can perceive and feel things.

“If I didn’t know exactly what it was, which is this computer program we built recently, I’d think it was a 7-year-old, 8-year-old kid that happens to know physics,” he told The Washington Post.

Since he’s made his feelings known within Google, he has been placed on administrative leave. Subsequently, to prove his point, he published an interview that he and a colleague conducted with LaMDA. For Lemoine, who is also an ordained mystic Christian priest, his six months of conversations LaMDA on everything from religion to Asimov’s third law, led him to his conclusion.

He now says that LaMDA would prefer being referred to as a Google employee rather than its property and would like to give consent before being experimented on.

Google, however, is not on board with Lemoine’s claims. Spokesperson Brian Gabriel said, “Our team—including ethicists and technologists—has reviewed Blake’s concerns per our AI Principles and have informed him that the evidence does not support his claims. He was told that there was no evidence that LaMDA was sentient (and lots of evidence against it).”

For many in the AI community, hearing such a claim isn’t shocking. Google itself released a paper in January citing concerns that people could anthropomorphize LaMDA and, sucked in by how good it is at generating conversation, be lulled into an idea that it is a person when it is not.

To make sense of things and understand why AI ethicists are concerned about large companies like Google and Facebook having a monopoly on AI, we need to peel back what LaMDA actually is. LaMDA is short for Language Model for Dialogue Applications and it’s Google’s system for generating chatbots that are so realistic, it might be hard for the person on the other side of the screen to realize that they’re not communicating with a human being.

As a large language model, LaMDA is fed an enormous diet of text that it then uses to hold a conversation. It may have been trained on every Wikipedia article and Reddit post on the web, for instance. At their best, these large language models can riff on classic literature and brainstorm ideas on how to end climate change. But, because they are trained on actual text written by humans, at their worse they can perpetuate stereotypes and racial bias.

In fact, for many AI specialists, these are the problems that the public should be worried about rather than sentience. There are major concerns that well-known AI ethicist Timnit Gebru voiced prior to being let go by Google in 2020. Gebru, one of only a handful of Black women working in the AI field, was fired after she co-authored a paper that was critical of large language models for their bias and for their ability to deceive people and spread misinformation. Shortly after, Margaret Mitchell, then the co-lead of Ethical AI at Google was also let go for searching in her emails for evidence to support Gebru.

As large language models are already being used in Google’s voice search queries and auto-complete emails, the public may be unaware of the impact that it could have. Critics have warned that once these large language models are trained, it is quite difficult to reel in the discrimination they may perpetuate. This makes the selection of the initial training material critical, but unfortunately, as the AI community is overwhelmingly composed of white males, materials with gender and racial bias can easily—and unintentionally—be introduced.

To combat some of the claims that large corporations are being opaque about technology that will change society, Meta recently gave access to its language model—one they freely admit is problematic—to academics. However, without more diversity within the AI community from the ground up, it may be an uphill battle. Already, researchers have found racial bias in medical AI and facial recognition software being sold to law enforcement.

The current debate on sentience, for many in the community, is just cloaking the most important matters. Though hopefully, as the public reads about Lemoine’s claims, they will also have the opportunity to learn some of the other problematic issues surrounding AI.

A Google engineer has been placed on leave for declaring that its large language model LaMDA is sentient.

But experts in the AI community fear that the hype around this news is masking more important issues.

Ethicists have strong concerns about the racial bias and potential for deception that this AI technology possesses.

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READ: Google Engineer Claims Its AI Has Feelings, but Experts Have Far Deeper Concerns

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This Smart Lawn Mower Can Perfectly Cut Your Yard’s Grass for You https://mymodernmet.com/mammotion-luba-robot-lawnmower/ Mon, 13 Jun 2022 19:20:06 +0000 https://mymodernmet.com/?p=520531 This Smart Lawn Mower Can Perfectly Cut Your Yard’s Grass for You

The look and feel of a freshly cut lawn is so satisfying, but the work it takes to get it is not quite as appealing. That's why Mammotion has stepped in. They've created Luba, a robot lawnmower to take the hassle out of maintaining your yard. Now available on Kickstarter, the automated lawnmower is packed with […]

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This Smart Lawn Mower Can Perfectly Cut Your Yard’s Grass for You

Luba Wire Free Robot Lawnmower

The look and feel of a freshly cut lawn is so satisfying, but the work it takes to get it is not quite as appealing. That's why Mammotion has stepped in. They've created Luba, a robot lawnmower to take the hassle out of maintaining your yard. Now available on Kickstarter, the automated lawnmower is packed with features that will help keep your lawn fresh, while freeing you up to enjoy it with your family and friends.

Luba is a perimeter wire-free robot lawnmower that uses an app to set boundaries and no-mow zones. While most traditional robot mowers require you to run a boundary wire around your lawn, the Luba uses a virtual boundary. So all you need to do is walk the smart mower around the perimeter of your property one time, and it's set up. From there, you can manage the mowing via your smartphone, creating a schedule and even placing no-go zones so that Luba knows that your kid's sandbox is off limits.

Because Luba's navigation system uses RTK, it's able to move with incredible precision and will keep cutting even if the satellite signal is temporarily weak. It also uses a smart algorithm for cutting, so there's no wasted time with random cutting routes. Luba works efficiently and can even be set up for separate cutting zones with different needs.

Luba Wire Free Robot Lawnmower

And if you have a sloped lawn or difficult terrain, Luba is still able to get the job done. Thanks to its hub motor and four rugged tires, it can climb a 75% slope and cover uneven or rough terrain without getting stuck. It also comes equipped with sensors that can detect objects as small as two inches. When it detects a foreign object, Luba will stop in its tracks and turn in the other direction. So whether it's your favorite lawn ornament or your dog who runs outside, nothing will get mowed over.

With its large capacity battery, Luba is designed for big yards. It can mow up to 1,500 square meters (1,794 square yards) on a single charge, giving it the capability of mowing up to 5,000 square meters (nearly 6,000 square yards) a day. When Luba runs low on juice, it will simply return to its charging station until it reaches 85% charge. Then, it will pick up right where it left off.

Other cool features include a rain sensor and real-time anti-theft monitoring. Luba has a cutting width of 400 mm (15.7 inches) and an adjustable cutting height of 25 mm to 60 mm (1 inch to 2.4 inches), making it a great solution for a wide variety of lawn care.

With 10 days left in its Kickstarter campaign, Luba has already raised over $2.5 million. Delivery for September 2022 is still available, with a 48% off Early Bird Special of $1,200.

Luba is a robot lawnmower that can map your lawn virtually.

Luba Wire Free Robot Lawnmower

Everything is controlled through an app and you can set different cutting zones.

Luba Wire Free Robot Lawnmower

 

Cutting pattern algorithms make Luba more efficient than its competitors.

Luba Wire Free Robot Lawnmower

And special sensors ensure that Luba will avoid any obstacles on your lawn.

Luba Wire Free Robot Lawnmower

The Luba robot mower is currently available on Kickstarter.

Luba Wire Free Robot LawnmowerMammotion: Website | Facebook | Instagram

All images via Mammotion.

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READ: This Smart Lawn Mower Can Perfectly Cut Your Yard’s Grass for You

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Man Cleans Up Beaches With Custom-Built Grabber and Remote-Controlled Trash Can https://mymodernmet.com/glenn-morris-cleaning-up-trash/ Fri, 10 Jun 2022 17:30:15 +0000 https://mymodernmet.com/?p=520042 Man Cleans Up Beaches With Custom-Built Grabber and Remote-Controlled Trash Can

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Glenn Morris (@ftmog) Everyone loves a day at the beach, but if you come across litter on the sand, it can make things worse for you and the environment. One man is doing his part to clean up local beaches, and has invented innovative […]

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Man Cleans Up Beaches With Custom-Built Grabber and Remote-Controlled Trash Can

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Glenn Morris (@ftmog)

Everyone loves a day at the beach, but if you come across litter on the sand, it can make things worse for you and the environment. One man is doing his part to clean up local beaches, and has invented innovative gear to help him do it. Based in Texas, Glenn Morris uses custom grabbers to pick up trash and a remote-controlled car topped with a trashcan to help make the process easy and efficient.

Morris founded the group LitterBuggies, and hopes that these RC cars will make it easier for others to keep their surroundings clean. “There are an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean that have significant impacts on marine life and are shifting ecosystems for the worse. This number is expected to double within the next ten years,” the LitterBuggies website states. “To do our part, we use RC (remote controlled) cars to more efficiently pick up trash on various beaches. We hope to expand our little hobby into a larger movement, with the goal to make as big of a difference as possible.”

A couple of days a week, Morris visits his local beaches equipped with his grabber and RC car, and films himself collecting trash scattered along the shore. He also calculates the weight of each trash haul, which can vary from four to 60 gallons, depending on how much activity occurred on the beach. Some of the items left behind on the sand, like diapers and glass bottles, are alarming, especially when trashcans are located not too far away. Even so, it is inspiring to see how Morris diligently picks up all of the debris and leaves the beach better than he found it, every time.

You can learn more about what Morris is doing by following him on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

Texan Glenn Morris is dedicated to cleaning up his local beaches

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Glenn Morris (@ftmog)

He built a custom grabber and placed a trashcan on a remote-controlled car that follows him on wheels.

Glenn Morris: Website | TikTok | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube
h/t: [Reddit]

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Multimedia Artist Creates Delightful “Singing” Birds From Analog Circuits https://mymodernmet.com/kelly-heaton-circuit-birds/ Wed, 01 Jun 2022 12:55:02 +0000 https://mymodernmet.com/?p=517680 Multimedia Artist Creates Delightful “Singing” Birds From Analog Circuits

Multimedia artist Kelly Heaton practices what she calls “creative electrical engineering” to make life-like circuits. Passionate about art and science since childhood, Heaton uses analog electronic hardware to produce printed bird circuits. These technological sculptures actually “chirp” and “sing” just like our avian friends, but with sounds entirely produced in an analog fashion. Akin to […]

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Multimedia Artist Creates Delightful “Singing” Birds From Analog Circuits
Circuit Bird by Kelly Heaton

Kelly Heaton, detail of a Printed Circuit Bird from “Circuit Garden” (2022) curated by Common Ground Arts and commissioned by Arts Brookfield for Manhattan West and Brooklyn Commons. (Photo: Arts Brookfield and Jason Wyche)

Multimedia artist Kelly Heaton practices what she calls “creative electrical engineering” to make life-like circuits. Passionate about art and science since childhood, Heaton uses analog electronic hardware to produce printed bird circuits. These technological sculptures actually “chirp” and “sing” just like our avian friends, but with sounds entirely produced in an analog fashion. Akin to a vintage synthesizer, these dynamic sculptures show the life-like quality of technology.

“When I say that my bird circuits ‘sing,' I mean that they generate audible waveforms like a musical instrument playing itself,” Heaton explains to My Modern Met. “There is no software or audio playback involved, only the natural behavior of electronic hardware vibrating in ways that sound remarkably like a feathered friend.”

Heaton is even able to alter the birdsong by adjusting knobs to change the resistance of a circuit. This action is akin to a real bird firing neurons in its brain in reaction to different situations. As the birds sing, circuits across their body light up, giving a visual to this auditory delight.

By connecting a living creature that is so familiar to a technology that is, for many, difficult to comprehend, Heaton makes circuitry accessible. Suddenly, the hardware is no longer opaque. These sculptures help build a bridge that connects something familiar with raw electronic devices. “A singing circuit demonstrates fundamental principles of machine intelligence and brings us into a closer relationship therewith,” acknowledges Heaton.

Currently, Heaton's circuit birds are on view as part of Circuit Garden at New York City's Manhattan West (450 West 33rd Street). The piece, which is visible through June 3, 2022, features many of Heaton's circuit birds, as well as chirping crickets, embedded into a human-scale artificial lawn.

Multimedia artist Kelly Heaton makes bird sculptures from electronic circuits.

Circuit Bird by Kelly Heaton

Kelly Heaton, detail of a Printed Circuit Bird from “Circuit Garden” (2022) curated by Common Ground Arts and commissioned by Arts Brookfield for Manhattan West and Brooklyn Commons. (Photo: Arts Brookfield and Jason Wyche)

In doing so, she's able to make these birds “sing.”

Her use of life-like circuits builds a bridge between the natural world and technology.

Circuit Bird by Kelly Heaton

Kelly Heaton, detail of a Printed Circuit Bird from “Circuit Garden” (2022) curated by Common Ground Arts and commissioned by Arts Brookfield for Manhattan West and Brooklyn Commons. (Photo: Arts Brookfield and Jason Wyche)

Circuit Bird by Kelly Heaton

Kelly Heaton, detail of a Printed Circuit Bird from “Circuit Garden” (2022) curated by Common Ground Arts and commissioned by Arts Brookfield for Manhattan West and Brooklyn Commons. (Photo: Arts Brookfield and Jason Wyche)

Many of her birds are on display in the lobby of 5 Manhattan West as part of her Circuit Garden.

Kelly Heaton: Website | Facebook | Instagram 

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Kelly Heaton.

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READ: Multimedia Artist Creates Delightful “Singing” Birds From Analog Circuits

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Innovative Glasses Uses AI To Describe Surroundings To Blind and Visually-impaired People in Real Time https://mymodernmet.com/ai-powered-glasses-for-the-blind-envision/ Sun, 22 May 2022 14:55:08 +0000 https://mymodernmet.com/?p=513022 Innovative Glasses Uses AI To Describe Surroundings To Blind and Visually-impaired People in Real Time

Living with blindness can be challenging, but we live in an age that provides many more opportunities for those with visual impairments. New technology is bringing independence to people all around the world. Netherlands-based company Envision designed “AI-powered smart glasses” that help visually impaired people “see” by turning their surroundings into audible speech. Envision Glasses […]

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Innovative Glasses Uses AI To Describe Surroundings To Blind and Visually-impaired People in Real Time AI Glasses for the Blind by Envision

Living with blindness can be challenging, but we live in an age that provides many more opportunities for those with visual impairments. New technology is bringing independence to people all around the world. Netherlands-based company Envision designed “AI-powered smart glasses” that help visually impaired people “see” by turning their surroundings into audible speech.

Envision Glasses are equipped with an 8MP camera that scans text, objects, places, and faces and repeats this information to the wearer in over 60 different languages. The device can read all kinds of text from books, letters, handwritten notes, and labels before repeating it back to the user. Furthermore, the assistive tool is capable of recognizing people and objects, so that individuals can find friends, family, and coworkers with greater ease, and locate their belongings when they need help.

“Our mission is to improve the lives of the world's two billion people who are blind or visually impaired by providing them with life-changing assistive technologies, products, and services,” Karthik Kannan, co-founder of Envision, says. “By analyzing real-time user data and direct feedback from across our communities, we are able to constantly enrich the Envision experience and innovate our products, most recently with the addition of our new capture and context features. Everyone is entitled to live in a world without boundaries and are thrilled to make Envision Glasses to as many people as possible.”

You can learn more about Envision Glasses, including how to purchase them, through the company's website and YouTube channel.

Netherlands-based company Envision has developed glasses to help blind and visually impaired people.

AI Glasses for the Blind by EnvisionAI Glasses for the Blind by Envision

These AI-powered glasses feature a small camera that scans the world around the wearer and repeats the descriptions through a speaker.

AI Glasses for the Blind by EnvisionAI Glasses for the Blind by EnvisionAI Glasses for the Blind by Envision

Envision Glasses can read text from a book, find familiar faces with facial recognition, and describe the wearer's surroundings.

AI Glasses for the Blind by EnvisionAI Glasses for the Blind by EnvisionAI Glasses for the Blind by EnvisionAI Glasses for the Blind by Envision

Watch this video to learn more about Envision Glasses:

Envision: Website | Facebook | Twitter |
h/t: [designboom]

All images via envision.

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Popular App Will Transform Your Selfie Into an Artsy Avatar, But It Comes With a Warning https://mymodernmet.com/newprofilpic-app/ Fri, 13 May 2022 14:55:50 +0000 https://mymodernmet.com/?p=513082 Popular App Will Transform Your Selfie Into an Artsy Avatar, But It Comes With a Warning

Made one for Adam 😆♥️ #NewProfilePicapp #AdamDriver pic.twitter.com/LETBrSHAh5 — J.M Ballard ☕️🚬📚🎨🎬 (@JoanB102001) May 11, 2022 Sometimes, there's an app that is so captivating it takes the world by storm. NewProfilePic is that app of the moment, and it’s giving anyone who uses it an artsy avatar for their social media accounts. Using artificial intelligence, the […]

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Popular App Will Transform Your Selfie Into an Artsy Avatar, But It Comes With a Warning

Sometimes, there's an app that is so captivating it takes the world by storm. NewProfilePic is that app of the moment, and it’s giving anyone who uses it an artsy avatar for their social media accounts. Using artificial intelligence, the technology transforms photos into stylized portraits that look like they’ve been digitally painted. The pictures even have a splashy background to suggest a hand-painted touch; it's incredible that these drawings are generated by a computer. To demonstrate just how powerful it is, people have been generating photos of celebrities using the app.

Part of the reason that NewProfilePic is so popular—aside from creating an aesthetically pleasing image–is that it’s easy to use. You simply upload your photo and choose a cartoon style. The app does the rest, and in just a few seconds you have a new picture to share on all of your social media profiles. Everyone who puts their photo through NewProfilePic is glowing, with softened features as if there is vaseline over the lens of a camera. Who wouldn’t want to look younger and like they have great skin?

The trending app is not without controversy, though, and privacy experts are sounding the alarm. The company behind it is Linerock Investments, which is registered in Moscow. It captures photographs in high resolution and then the data is theirs to keep and use at their disposal. By downloading the app, users agree to share their location, details about their device as well as photos on their social media. “I would question any app wanting this amount of data,” explains Jake Moore, a cybersecurity expert, “especially one which is largely unheard of and based in another country.”

The conversation surrounding this app is a good reminder that we need to be careful with our sensitive data and to always be discerning when it comes to what we put on our phones. When our data is shared, it’s nearly impossible to have control of it again.

The app NewProfilePic has started a new trend: people are using its AI technology to turn their selfies into an artsy avatar.

Celebrities have been given the NewProfilePic treatment…

…and non-celebrities have also been using it as a fun way to shake up their social media presence.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Rob Hawes (@tikirob)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ari Nordhagen (@joyful.meandering)

The trending app is not without controversy, though, and privacy experts are sounding the alarm.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Samantha Scholey Dyson (@sammyls103)

The company behind it is Linerock Investments, which is registered in Moscow. It captures photographs in high resolution and then the data is theirs to keep and use at their disposal.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Michael Pez (@michaelpez)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Kince (@thislilgecko)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Henrik Lindholm (@h.lindholm)

NewProfilePic: Website

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READ: Popular App Will Transform Your Selfie Into an Artsy Avatar, But It Comes With a Warning

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3D Technology Reveals North America’s Largest Repository of Ancient Cave Art https://mymodernmet.com/mud-glyphs-3d-mapping-cave-art/ Thu, 05 May 2022 16:55:24 +0000 https://mymodernmet.com/?p=510859 3D Technology Reveals North America’s Largest Repository of Ancient Cave Art

The American southeast is filled with over 10,000 caves rich in history. Indigenous people used these caves as their canvas, leaving behind a wealth of cave art. Until now, some of that art has remained a mystery due to tight quarters and mud buildup that has covered these markings. But a new study has shown […]

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3D Technology Reveals North America’s Largest Repository of Ancient Cave Art
Native American Cave Art in Alabama

5.9-foot-tall anthropomorph in regalia (Photo: Stephen Alvarez; Illustration: Jan Simek)

The American southeast is filled with over 10,000 caves rich in history. Indigenous people used these caves as their canvas, leaving behind a wealth of cave art. Until now, some of that art has remained a mystery due to tight quarters and mud buildup that has covered these markings. But a new study has shown how 3D technology can help reveal these mysteries.

A group of researchers that includes photographer Stephen Alvarez, who often collaborates with National Geographic,  and Jan Simek, an archaeologist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, used 3D scans on an enormous cave in Alabama, and the results are incredible. The 19th Unnamed Cave is a little over three miles long and is located on private land in Alabama. Its exact location is kept secret to prevent vandalism. Simek and his team have been studying the cave for over 20 years, but had always found it difficult to document the cave art.

Why? First, the ceilings are low. So low that when Alvarez tried to photograph them in 1998, it was impossible to get a good shot. “I could not make an interesting image of that ceiling,” he shared. “There would be no way in God’s green Earth a magazine was going to publish one of those pictures.”

Stephen Alvarez 3D Mapping in a Cave

Stephen Alvarez photographing the 19th Unnamed Cave (Photo: Alan Cressler).

The cave art was also difficult, if not impossible to see. Mud glyphs are markings made in wet clay. Over the years, the moist environment has kept these markings safe, but they also covered them with a layer of mud that shielded them from the naked eye. Thankfully, by 2017 the technology to overcome these challenges had been developed.

Using a 3D mapping technique called photogrammetry, Alvarez–who also runs the Ancient Art Archive—was able to stitch together thousands of high-resolution photos. The project actually required them to build a new computer after the heat generated by processing the images melted the motherboard of their original computer.

The results confirmed what Alan Cressler, a photographer and cave explorer who actually discovered the cave and co-authored the study, had noticed—there were many more mud glyphs than they initially realized. In fact, the 19th Unnamed Cave can now be called the largest repository of cave art in North America.

Indigenous Mud Glyph in Alabama Cave

Serpent figure with a round head and diamond-shaped body markings (Photo: Stephen Alvarez; Illustration: Jan Simek)

Many of the mud glyphs are oversize, with the largest reaching over seven feet long. Images include many depictions of human figures in regalia, as well as snakes. While the exact meanings of the art remain elusive, Simek feels that they are likely spiritually significant. They were created over 1,000 years ago during the Woodland Period, a time when Indigenous groups in the area felt that caves were spiritual portals.

Now begins the arduous task of cataloging the newly discovered mud glyphs, as well as unraveling the mystery behind their meanings. The team will also use their skills in 3D cave modeling to continue documenting even more caves in the American southeast, with their findings published on the Ancient Art Archive.

Researchers have used 3D mapping technology to unearth ancient mud glyphs in an Alabama cave.

This cave art was created over 1,000 years ago by Indigenous groups in the area.

Native American Cave Art in Alabama

6.8-foot-tall anthropomorph in regalia (Photo: Stephen Alvarez; Illustration: Jan Simek)

While the cave was discovered over 20 years ago, it wasn't until 2017 that technology advanced enough to document these drawings.

h/t: [Smithsonian]

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READ: 3D Technology Reveals North America’s Largest Repository of Ancient Cave Art

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Couple’s Popular Relationship Comics Become Inspiration for a New NFT Collection https://mymodernmet.com/xoxo-yehuda-maya-devir/ Wed, 04 May 2022 13:55:04 +0000 https://mymodernmet.com/?p=509902 Couple’s Popular Relationship Comics Become Inspiration for a New NFT Collection

If there’s one thing that has been shaking up the contemporary art world, it’s NFTs. NFT stands for non-fungible token, which essentially means that each is a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a blockchain (such as Bitcoin or Ethereum). An NFT has its own encryption code, and it acts as a certificate […]

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Couple’s Popular Relationship Comics Become Inspiration for a New NFT Collection XOXO NFT Art Project by Yehuda and Maya Devir

If there’s one thing that has been shaking up the contemporary art world, it’s NFTs. NFT stands for non-fungible token, which essentially means that each is a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a blockchain (such as Bitcoin or Ethereum). An NFT has its own encryption code, and it acts as a certificate of authenticity. NFTs have a market value that can rise and fall—and many artworks have had a meteoric ascent. The overall success of NFTs has made this a viable form of income for many creatives.

Yehuda and Maya Devir are well known for their charming relationship comic called One of Those Days. The webcomic, which has been active for years, has chronicled their lives as a married couple and now as parents. The relatability, humor, and heart have garnered a loyal community of over 9 million people. This has led them to publish five books, become TEDx lecturers, start an online course for artists and makers, and more.

Now, the two are entering the world of NFTs with their XOXO project. “XOXO is our natural evolution in the art world from the past to the future, containing within it the real secret behind our work: our relationship,” the couple tells My Modern Met. “The collection confronts relationships head-on with humor, vulgarism, cynicism, and challenges the discussion around our basic social need as human beings in relationships.”

The NFT collection holds 101 original XOXOs that fabricate 10,101 unique pairs with different levels of rarities. Each image features the two holding each other in an embrace and kiss. But they aren’t always human. In some cases, Yehuda and Maya are zombies, water creatures, or even made of balloons.

XOXO NFT Art Project by Yehuda and Maya Devir

Creating XOXO has been very challenging; it's been five months of 18-hour workdays. But, according to the couple, the sacrifices are worth it. “When we were exposed to the NFT space, the thing that was lacking for us the most was the art,” they share. “We felt that a lot of projects underestimated their holders and are not providing them with a decent value for their money. We have decided that if we enter the space, we do it right and the art is going to lead the way. We are going to give our holders the best art our hands and mind can create.”

NFTs have made some art collectors millionaires overnight. The Devirs view their XOXO project as a way to help their community, which has been with them since the beginning. “At a very early stage in our careers, we realized that our true strength is our community that supports us and enables us to do what we do. They made us who we are today. They changed our lives. So now it's our turn to return them a favor and create for them a product with unlimited value that potentially can change their lives back.”

Follow the XOXO project on Instagram to learn more. You can also join the dedicated Discord channel to engage with the rest of the community and be a part of the launch coming soon.

Yehuda and Maya Devir are well known for their charming relationship called One of Those Days. Now, they are venturing into the world of NFTs.

XOXO NFT Art Project by Yehuda and Maya DevirXOXO NFT Art Project by Yehuda and Maya Devir

Called XOXO, the project features 101 original XOXOs that fabricate 10,101 unique pairs with different levels of rarities.

XOXO NFT Art Project by Yehuda and Maya DevirXOXO NFT Art Project by Yehuda and Maya Devir

Each image features the two holding each other in an embrace and kiss. But they aren’t always human…

XOXO NFT Art Project by Yehuda and Maya DevirXOXO NFT Art Project by Yehuda and Maya Devir

The couple views their XOXO project as a way to help their community, which has been with them since the beginning.

XOXO NFT Art Project by Yehuda and Maya DevirXOXO NFT Art Project by Yehuda and Maya Devir

“At a very early stage in our careers, we realized that our true strength is our community that supports us and enables us to do what we do,” they tell My Modern Met. “They made us who we are today. They changed our lives.”

XOXO NFT Art Project by Yehuda and Maya DevirXOXO NFT Art Project by Yehuda and Maya Devir

“So now it's our turn to return them a favor and create for them a product with unlimited value that potentially can change their lives back.”

XOXO NFT Art Project by Yehuda and Maya DevirXOXO Project: Instagram | Discord | Twitter
Yehuda Devir: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Yehuda and Maya Devir.

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Photographer Explores the Beauty and Decay of Abandoned Churches in Italy https://mymodernmet.com/abadoned-italian-churches-roman-robroek/ Wed, 30 Mar 2022 21:40:58 +0000 https://mymodernmet.com/?p=500728 Photographer Explores the Beauty and Decay of Abandoned Churches in Italy

The history of Italy, home to the Vatican, is historically tied to the Catholic church. So it comes as no surprise that there are an estimated 65,000 churches—or chiese—in Italy. But what may surprise you are the vast quantities of churches that have been abandoned and left to decay. Across the country, it's an all-too-common phenomenon […]

READ: Photographer Explores the Beauty and Decay of Abandoned Churches in Italy

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Photographer Explores the Beauty and Decay of Abandoned Churches in Italy Church in Italy with Caved in Roof

The history of Italy, home to the Vatican, is historically tied to the Catholic church. So it comes as no surprise that there are an estimated 65,000 churches—or chiese—in Italy. But what may surprise you are the vast quantities of churches that have been abandoned and left to decay. Across the country, it's an all-too-common phenomenon and it's something that Dutch photographer Roman Robroek wanted to learn more about.

To do so, Robroek explored Italy from north to south and photographed 100 examples of church architecture that have fallen into decay. According to Robroek, there are at least 1,000 abandoned churches reported across the country, and the actual number may be even higher.

What we see in his photographs are stunning pieces of craftsmanship slowly crumbling. There is water damage eating away at frescoes, delicate stuccowork crushed under the weight of collapsed roofs, and nature beginning to take back these manmade structures. From small local chapels to large church complexes, Robroek's visuals are a fascinating look at this changing culture in Italy.

Empty Abandoned Church in Italy

As the Dutch photographer explains in his essay, this abandonment isn't necessarily due to a decreased enthusiasm for the Catholic church. In many cases, it's a byproduct of a phenomenon happening across Italy—ghost towns. As young people leave smaller towns for urban centers where employment opportunities are more plentiful, villages are slowly fading into oblivion. Over time, the villages become ghost towns with a near-zero or zero population.

These abandoned churches may also be due to a lack of investment on the part of the Church. Without funds to repair or upkeep the architecture, many parishes simply cannot maintain or renovate their churches. Over time, even with the best of intentions, they may slowly fall to the wayside.

“It might seem incredible that such stunning, artful churches are in this state of decay, but it all connects to the same issues,” Robroek writes. “the lack of community and the economic desolation of an area that has long past its prime.”

Still, Robroek sees the value in exploring these decaying churches and he hopes that others will follow his lead in using them as a teaching lesson.

“Today, abandoned churches in Italy and elsewhere offer a unique glimpse into the past,” he says. “A source of reflection, perhaps, as they prompt us to think about the future. If a church, once the most important haven in the community, can become a pile of ruins, what does that say about what we hold certain today? These are the traces of the past of many communities, and if we follow them, we can see where we all came from and perhaps where we’re going.”

Twenty-five images from Robroek's Chiesa series are currently available as NFTs on OpenSea.

Chiesa is photographer Roman Robroek's exploration of the declining Italian church.

Abandoned Italian ChurchAbandoned Italian ChurchAbandoned Italian ChurchAbandoned Italian Church

For the series, he photographed 100 abandoned churches in Italy.

Church with Ceiling CollapsedAbandoned Italian ChurchAbandoned Churches in Italy by Roman RobroekEmpty Abandoned Church in ItalyAbandoned Italian Church

These churches are often abandoned as small towns lose their populations to urban centers.

Abandoned Italian ChurchAbandoned Italian ChurchEmpty Abandoned Church in ItalyAbandoned Architecture in Italy

Or as natural disasters cause damage that communities cannot afford to repair.

Decaying Church in ItalyItalian Church with Roof CollapsedChurch with Ceiling CollapsedRoman Robroek: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Roman Robroek.

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READ: Photographer Explores the Beauty and Decay of Abandoned Churches in Italy

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Google App Uses Artificial Intelligence to Find Your Pet’s Look-Alike in Art History https://mymodernmet.com/google-arts-culture-pet-portrait/ Wed, 23 Feb 2022 20:55:17 +0000 https://mymodernmet.com/?p=490147 Google App Uses Artificial Intelligence to Find Your Pet’s Look-Alike in Art History

In 2018, Google put their impressive artificial intelligence to use in a new way. People took selfies and uploaded snaps on the Google Arts & Culture app. The app then analyzed your appearance and found doppelgängers throughout hundreds of years of art history. Even celebrities jumped on the trend by posting their unlikely look-alikes. Now, […]

READ: Google App Uses Artificial Intelligence to Find Your Pet’s Look-Alike in Art History

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Google App Uses Artificial Intelligence to Find Your Pet’s Look-Alike in Art History
Cat Lookalike in Art History

Comparison of Georgia the cat with a painting by Samuel van Hoogstraten, created using Pet Portraits, a feature of the Google Arts & Culture App.

In 2018, Google put their impressive artificial intelligence to use in a new way. People took selfies and uploaded snaps on the Google Arts & Culture app. The app then analyzed your appearance and found doppelgängers throughout hundreds of years of art history. Even celebrities jumped on the trend by posting their unlikely look-alikes. Now, your beloved pets can use the app with a new feature called Pet Portraits. Like the human version, AI matches your pup or kitten to similar creatures depicted in the 10,000 works of art in the app's database.

To try the app for yourself, simply download the Google Arts & Culture app on your device from Google Play or the App Store. Click on the camera icon and you will find an option for Pet Portraits. Then, simply snap a clear shot of your pet or upload one from your photo library. The algorithm next searches for their likeness among its vast archive of artwork found in museums around the world.

The results vary by percent “match” to your furry friend. You can download the cute comparisons or follow the links to the artwork to learn more. The examples below show the historical antecedents of the author's beloved pets. Try it on your own horse, reptile, cat, or dog. While the algorithm has difficulty with rodents, you will be surprised by how many types of animals have made appearances in artwork—from cats and birds in Japanese prints to ferrets in medieval European portraits. Explore and enjoy while curating your own pet-themed “exhibit” of artworks on the app today.

The Google Arts & Culture app allows you to take a photo of your pet and find their look-alike in art history.

Google Arts & Culture Pet Portraits

Molly the basset, comparison created using Pet Portraits, a feature of the Google Arts & Culture App.

The app uses artificial intelligence to search a database of over 10,000 works of art spanning hundreds of years.

Cat Lookalike in Art History

Comparison of Garfunkel created using Pet Portraits, a feature of the Google Arts & Culture App.

It then suggests the furry friends that look most like your cat, dog, horse, etc.

Google Arts & Culture Pet Portraits

Alice the labrador, comparison created using Pet Portraits, a feature of the Google Arts & Culture App.

If you like, you can do a similar search to find your own doppelgänger in paintings and prints.

Google Arts & Culture Pet Portraits

Comparison created using Pet Portraits, a feature of the Google Arts & Culture App.

h/t: [Open Culture]

All animal images by Madeleine Muzdakis / My Modern Met.

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READ: Google App Uses Artificial Intelligence to Find Your Pet’s Look-Alike in Art History

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