Posts tagged with "CBS News Sunday Morning"

Pope prank: Fake photos of the pontiff in a puffer jacket go viral, conveying the power and peril of AI

March 29, 2023

It was a cold wind that blew through St. Peters Square at the Vatican over the weekend; but that didn’t deter Pope Francis from taking a stroll outside to greet the faithful, as he often does. When images appeared online showing the 86-year-old pontiff dressed to fight the elements in a stylish white puffer jacket and silver bejewelled crucifix, they soon went viral—racking up millions of views on social media platforms, reports CBS News.

The picture, first published Friday, March 24, on Reddit along with several others, was, in fact, a fake. It was an artificial intelligence rendering generated using the AI software Midjourney.

While there are some inconsistencies in the final rendered images—for example, the pope’s left hand, which is holding a water bottle, looks distorted and his skin has an overly sharp appearance—many people online were fooled into thinking they were real pictures.

Some Twitter users were shocked and confused. “I thought the pope’s puffer jacket was real and didn’t give it a second thought,” tweeted model and author Chrissy Teigen. “No way am I surviving the future of technology.”

The “pope in the puffer jacket” was just the latest in a series of “deepfake” images created with AI software. Another recent example: pictures of former President Donald Trump that appeared to show him in police custody. Although the creator made it clear that they were produced as an exercise in the use of AI, the images, combined with rumors of Trump’s imminent arrest, went viral and created and entirely fraudulent but potentially dangerous narrative.

Midjourney, DALL E2, OpenAI, and Dream Studio are among the software options available to anyone wishing to produce photo-realistic images using nothing more than text prompts—no specialist training required.

As this type of software becomes more widespread, AI developers are working on better ways to inform viewers of the authenticity, or otherwise, of images.

CBS News’ Sunday Morning  reported earlier this year that Microsoft’s Chief Scientific Officer Eric Horvitz, the co-creator of the spam email filter, was among those trying to crack the conundrum—predicting that, if technology isn’t developed to enable people to easily detect fakes within a decade or so, “most of what people will be seeing, or quite a lot of it, will be synthetic. We won’t be able to tell the difference.”

In the meantime, Henry Ajder, who presents a BBC radio series entitled The Future Will be Synthesised, cautioned in a newspaper interview that it was “already very, very hard to determine whether” some of the images being created were real.

“It gives us a sense of how bad actors, agents spreading disinformation, could weaponize these tools,” Ajder told the British newspaper, i.

There’s clear evidence that this is happening already. Last March, video emerged appearing to show Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy telling his troops to lay down their arms and surrender. It was bad quality and quickly outed as a fake, but it may have been merely an opening salvo in a new information war.

So, while a picture may speak a thousand words, it may be worth asking who’s actually doing the talking.

Research contact: @CBSNews

Excerpt from ‘Brain Food’: Comparing brains on different diets

November 25, 2019

We all have heard the expression, food for thought, and many of us are aware that our diets may influence our cognitive abilities. Now, in her  book,  Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power, due out in paperback on December 31,  Lisa Mosconi—a neuroscientist and integrative nutritionist, and the associate director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York— writes about the dietary needs of the brain, and about approaching cognitive health through nutrition.

In an excerpt from Mosconi’s manuscript featured on the CBS News weekly program, Sunday Morning, the author compares two brains on different diets (see exhibit above): the Mediterranean diet versus the Western diet.

The figure shows the MRI scans of two healthy, dementia-free people who follow  very different diets. Let’s check out the differences between them.

 To the left (above), is the brain of a 52-year-old woman who has been on a Mediterranean-style diet most of her life. Not being a neuroscientist, you might not be able to recognize this at first glance, but, according to Mosconi, “Her brain looks great. In fact, that’s a picture of exactly how you want your brain to look when you are 52.”

First of all, her brain takes up most of the space inside the skull (the white ribbon that surrounds the brain in the figure). The ventricles, those little butterfly shaped fissures in the middle of the brain, are small and compact. The hippocampus (the memory center of the brain) is well-rounded and in close contact with the surrounding tissues.

In comparison, the scan on the right shows the brain of a slightly younger 50-year-old woman who has been eating a Western-style diet for many years. This means fast foods, processed meats, dairy, refined sweets, and sodas.

The arrows point to brain atrophy, or shrinkage—an indicator of neuronal loss. As the brain loses neurons, the space is replaced by fluids, which show up as black on an MRI.

As you can see, there are more black areas present in the brain that has been fed a typical Western diet than in the brain that consumed a Mediterranean diet. The butterfly-shaped ventricles are larger in the brain to the right, which results from the brain shrinking. The hippocampus itself is surrounded by fluid (in black), as is the temporal lobe, another region directly involved in memory formation. These are all signs of accelerated aging and increased risk of future dementia.

Of course, not all people on the Mediterranean diet [which features fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and fish]  have perfectly healthy brains, and not all people who eat fast food have brains that are deteriorating. But on average, people who follow a Mediterranean diet seem to have overall fitter brains than those on less healthy diets, regardless of whether or not they carry genetic risk factors for dementia.

Findings such as these have led to a true and proper paradigm shift in medical practice, as an increasing number of experts now see diet as being as important to mental health as it is to physical health. In particular, there is mounting evidence that adopting a brain-healthy diet is key to maintaining optimal cognitive capacities well into old age, therefore delaying, or, even better, preventing the appearance of debilitating diseases like Alzheimer’s. At the same time, eating well and leading a healthy lifestyle have the added benefits of reducing the risk and severity of other medical illnesses that also affect the brain, such as heart disease, diabetes, and various metabolic disorders.

In the end, science is teaching us that our brain health is highly dependent on the food choices we make. Though genetics can predispose us to many forms of disease, we should also give ourselves a little more credit when it comes to controlling the health of our brains (and bodies). What we all can and should do is be sure to take care of the brains we’ve been so gracefully given by nourishing them the best ways possible, which will naturally extend our chances of a longer, healthier life.

Taken from: “Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power” by Lisa Mosconi, Ph.D. (Avery), in hardcover, trade paperback, eBook and audio formats, available via Amazon.

Research contact: @CBS News