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Appealing to protect one of the least explored regions on Earth
In April 2018, Felicity Aston, an accomplished explorer and adventurer, assembled a group of 11 European and Arabic women to march to the North Pole together. Besides the adventure, it was a march for peace and cross-cultural understanding and collaboration.
The project attracted the interest of software entrepreneur Eugene Kaspersky, who decided to finance the expedition as the main sponsor, having supported Felicity on a South Pole expedition in the past. Extreme photographer Renan Ozturk joined to capture some of the moments before the group left in stunning photography and through powerful storytelling. An adventurer, expedition climber and explorer himself, the idea of the project fascinated him.
A conversation in Svalbard prior to the expedition take-off suddenly focused on the Kuril Islands. With some islands virtually untouched by modern human civilisation and others featuring impressive rock formations with potential for first ascents - each contributing to a unique and beautiful landscape - the first seed for a future expedition had been set.
"We want to show the beauty, but also the fragility of this remote strip of land", says Renan. "But to cut through the noise and create an impact in public awareness, we can't just go on a boat and take beautiful pictures and hope a few media would cover it. So we put together a group of filmmakers, photographers and environmentalists, to make a meaningful representation of this place with wide reach. And we will produce a documentary about it all, including first ascent climbing and true boots on the ground exploration, as that is the kind of content that really creates awareness these days."
15 months of intense planning and logistical ninja moves later, the expedition is about to start. With a high calibre team of film makers, photographers, science communicators and athletes we will document the beauty of the Kurils, shine a light on some of the environmental challenges in the region, and explore in the purest form of the word; though observation. On the 7 July the adventure begins: documenting one of the most remote islands chains in the world: the Kuril Islands in the sea of Okhotsk.
It is one of the least explored regions on Earth and yet one that is endangered by over-fishing, ocean pollution and other environmental threats.
They will leave from the Kamchatka coast on the 7th July and are planning to be out there for 12 days. Weather will play a big role in determining what they will achieve. With an oceanographer, environmentalists, photographers and film makers on board, everyone has their own objective. And yet, all the expedition members have one thing in common: they want to help bring attention to a nearly forgotten, outstanding part of the earth which needs support to stay as unique as it is today.
For many people, art is something very human, as it is creating deep connections and emotions. One of my favorite movie quotes is from "I, Robot":
Detective Del Spooner (Human): Human beings have dreams. Even dogs have dreams, but not you, you are just a machine. An imitation of life. Can a robot write a symphony? Can a robot turn a... canvas into a beautiful masterpiece?
Sonny (Robot): Can you?
We always thought, that no machine could ever create a piece of art that has an impact on us, but as artificial intelligence gets more and more advanced, art does not seem to be something only a real person can create. As a matter of fact, AI is already able to create impressive pieces of art. So, let's dive into the AI age of art with some intriguing artificial creatives.
Becoming the Muse
Finishing the unfinished<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU0ODM1MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwMzc3NzkyMX0.wXBKCDRBEwLTNF_t9B7fJ2MmC6aEW4wMBB83UQGGt8Y/img.jpg?width=980" id="3d2d1" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="44aa272ae0fde1070a68fb9db48d3ce5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Photo by Spencer Imbrock on Unsplash<p>Mahler, Beethoven, Schubert, or Bruckner: Each of those composers have symphonies they did not finish in their lifetime. But an international team of experts created an AI that analyzed Beethoven's unfinished tenth symphony and finalized it. Listen to the AI's compositions <a href="https://www.telekom.com/en/company/topic-specials/beethoven-year-2020-special/details/beethoven-s-unfinished-587430" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" target="_blank">here</a>. Can you spot which part is from Beethoven and which is from the AI?</p>
Artificial Song<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU0ODM1NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxOTExNzcxM30.SNWswU8Y7T2tV7WqZasNhTIClIlCD7hf0mLDLlB7DNo/img.jpg?width=980" id="c4e30" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="64dc08de4e5018d845598b573af275a8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Photo by BRUNO EMMANUELLE on Unsplash<p>Researchers at Zhejiang University in China teamed up with experts from Microsoft and <a href="https://venturebeat.com/2020/07/13/microsofts-ai-generates-voices-that-sing-in-chinese-and-english/" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" target="_blank">created an AI that generates voices singing in English and Chinese</a>. If you listen to the voices extracted, they do sound quite artificial, but as soon as <a href="https://speechresearch.github.io/deepsinger/" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" target="_blank">DeepSinger</a> synthesizes them and puts them into music, one cannot tell that the songs are artificially created – at least I could not.</p>
Scary Humane<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU0ODM2MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNTg5MjUxMn0.VlNMQALKNFENdSRz-d2aX7n4f5B7WwaZtwSSuFxlipY/img.jpg?width=980" id="80074" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2611d19d8ed8c9cb5b950cfc1c007b0" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash<p>In our age of rapidly spreading fake news, we can usually rely on our reason to understand who the author is, where the information comes from, and whether the source is trustworthy. But in 2019 <a href="https://openai.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" target="_blank">OpenAI</a> published a text generating AI which creates <a href="https://nerdist.com/article/ai-text-generator-human/" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" target="_blank">terrifyingly human texts</a>. Also, a study by Karlstad University in Sweden shows that <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17512786.2014.883116" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" target="_blank">most people cannot tell whether an article is written by a journalist or a machine</a>. That may make it harder to sort out fake news in the future, and would need online platforms to curate information more closely. <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/7/20953040/openai-text-generation-ai-gpt-2-full-model-release-1-5b-parameters" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" target="_blank">THE VERGE</a> collected some examples of AI writing – they may not be perfect, but also not too bad.</p>
Creating Emotions out of Data<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b94bb61b94fa4e30fb7262800885da60"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/I-EIVlHvHRM?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Last but not least we want to present to you artist <a href="http://refikanadol.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" target="_blank">Refik Anadol</a>. By using large collections of data and artificial intelligence he creates fascinating <a href="https://www.artechouse.com/nyc" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" target="_blank">installations</a> where spectators can experience data sculptures created out of millions of pictures from different points of view. When people step into the installation they step into an alternate reality: into the <a href="http://refikanadol.com/works/melting-memories/" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" target="_blank">dreams of the AI</a>. And though the machine may not have emotions, it portraits it and by that impacts our emotions.</p>
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When hearing drones, most of us think of amazing drone photography or videos showing us how spectacular places look from above - or even surveillance drones. But this is just a tiny part of what drones can actually do.
In the first episode of our new web series Young Bright Minds, we talk with the experts from Voliro Airborne Robotics who use drones as hands in the sky to eliminate human risk in hard to reach places, and that also can spray on walls - please don't try it on your neighbor's walls!
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