The Week Unwrapped: Ireland, Wombo and laser vision
Is the Good Friday Agreement unravelling? How much of a threat are AI deepfakes? And can we really now see round corners?
Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days.
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In this week’s episode, we discuss:
Brexit was pushed down the news agenda by the second wave of Covid, but its consequences are being felt most keenly in a corner of the UK which voted to remain in the UK. The Irish border is no longer just a border between the north and south of a contested island, but also the EU’s frontier - and the Brexit agreement added a customs border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The result is that no one is happy - and paramilitary groups are increasingly restive.
Viral apps such as Wombo and Deep Nostalgia are highlighting how advances in deepfake video technology mean almost anyone can now create false footage - and heightening fears about the threats posed. So just what does this new era of AI trickery mean for society and how can we distinguish fact from fiction in our digitally connected world?
Seeing round corners
Researchers have shown that it is now possible to see around corners from a distance of more than a kilometre. The ideas behind it - using an ultra-fast laser to bounce light onto walls near a hidden object - have been around for a long time, but technology including fast lasers, algorithms and computer processing power is only just catching up. Uses include military intelligence but also self-driving cars and space exploration.