Edition 118

In this week’s Our Take, we take a look at how AI is giving gaydar the tech treatment and how the number of AI generated images in the world is hastily surpassing the number of photographs produced…since the dawn of time. The Chess federation wants to ban trans women from competing and since the introduction of WFH, things are getting remotely better for employees with disabilities.


Source: Everypixel Journal

AI has generated more images in just one year than the number of photographs taken over 150 years.

A recent study byEverypixel Journal has revealed that since the birth of photography in 1826 the total number of photographs has reached 150 billion in 150 years. Within the span of just over one year, artificial intelligence has managed to generate an equivalent number of images.

Can’t picture it? Well for a point of comparison – the number of AI-generated images is greater than Shutterstock’s entire library of images, vectors and illustrations; and one-third of images ever uploaded to Instagram. That’s a lot of selfies.

The study provides some interesting facts on AI generated images and platform users. The most popular open source platform is Stable Diffusion, which was used to create over 80% of AI-generated images. The fastest growing product is Adobe Firefly which reached 1 billion images created in just three months since its launch. Since the launch of DALLE-2, people are creating an average of 34 million images a day and Midjourney has a total of 15 million users.

One thing is for certain, AI is forwarding image production beyond our image-ination!

G(AI)dar is coming

Gaydar is hardly a new concept, many of us have claimed to have gaydar for years. Has it been accurate? No. In fact, a 2017 study showed that ‘human gaydar’ was only 61% accurate for men and 54% for women, but that hasn’t stopped people boasting about how accurate theirgaydar is.

And while AI can be used to find solutions to the world’s greatest problems like global warming, famine and disease, Swiss scientists have developed just what the world needed instead: AI gaydar.

Using AI, researchers are studying the electrical brain activity of its subjects which can tell the difference between heterosexual and homosexual men with an accuracy rate of 83%. Neat, huh?

Or is it? What possible good can come from scientifically proving the sexual preference of human beings? For one, it has the potential to out members of the LGBTQ community in countries where homosexuality is illegal. We love seeing AI progress coming to light but this isn’t one, this seems like a pointless programme and an unnecessary step into people’s privacy.

Remote possibility of things getting better

The recovery from Covid hasn’t led to the great social reset that some were demanding but the shift to more working from home is significant. While for most of us there are pros and cons to the WFH rebalance, for many people with a disability the opportunity to work remotely is life-changing. Literally. Recent stats show that in the US more people are now working with a disability, and the number of those claiming disability benefit has fallen.

Something to bear in mind as many companies begin to tighten up their WFH balance.

There’s a bunch of reports on this, but here’s a recent article that hits most of the issues.

Controversial move from the chess board

The International Chess Federation, FIDE, has stopped allowing trans women to compete in women’s divisions until ‘further analysis’ has been undertaken, an investigation which could take up to two years.

Since the announcement last week, the decision has been met with a lot of backlash and speculation.

While the debate around trans people in sport is nothing new – the arguments usually focus on physical sports with the opposing views relying heavily on biological differences between people AMAB and people AFAB. But why does an intellectual, non-contact, sport specifically need gender divisions?  

Historically, chess was known as the ‘Man’s Game’ because people believed men had superior intelligence and logic due to difference in hormones and biology i.e. lady brains were too emotional to play a game that requires logic. The sport today still has a massive gender imbalance with only 15% of internationally rated players being women.  With this in mind, the initial conclusion might be to assume good old fashioned sexism is the reason for gendered tournaments.

However, due to the massive participation gap within chess, women’s tournaments serve a purpose by promoting players who are often underrepresented and overshadowed. According to research, a lot of players and organizers find they need to secure large platforms for the women’s championship. In an environment where female players are a small minority, the tournament is an invaluable opportunity to represent the players, their talent and essentially grow the game.

This still doesn’t excuse or justify FIDE’s decision to place further limitations on the sport and it’s already marginalised players – all for what comes across as baseless trans panic. If anything it only further marginalises and disables players in an already male-dominated sport.

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