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This Tech Could Resurrect Charlie Chaplin & Better Autonomous Car Tests, Or Confuse Trump With Obama

Margaret Sun
90.5 WESA
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have devised a way to automatically transform the content of one video into the style of another which could create better simulation for self-driving vehicle testing.


Transferring content from one video to the style of another relies on consistencies — a type of artificially intelligent mimickry that creates images after studying similarities and transforming them. 

New technology developed at Carnegie Mellon University takes that cycle-GAN model a step further, allowing not only facial expressions to be copied, but also the movements and cadence of the performance. Its creator, Aayush Bansal, who's a phD student in CMU's Robotics Institute, says he started the project with applications to film, entertainment and autonomous driving in mind, but quickly realized its potential for deepfakes -- simulations used to intentionally mislead.

He explores his own motivations, as well as where he thinks the tech could go next.

Elsewhere in the program, legal segregation has ended, but institutions formed under its regime still exude inequality. Historian and author Jelani Cobb explores the influence and evolution of race and justice in America. He visited Washington & Jefferson College in October to present his talk, "The Half Life of Freedom."

Federal prosecutors are seeking capital punishment in the case against accused Tree of Life synagogue shooter Robert Bowers, but as WESA’s An-Li Herring reports, that leaves the community to grapple with religious and moral implications.

And red sauce dishes are as traditionally Pittsburgh as pierogi. Post-Gazette food and features writers Gretchen McKay and Melissa McCart talk about their new series, “The Red Sauce Project,” that honors local Italian culture and cuisine.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
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