DALL-E mini uses artificial intelligence to create images. Who gets credit? : NPR


DALL-E mini is the AI bringing to life all of the goofy “what if” questions you never asked: What if Voldemort was a member of Green Day? What if there was a McDonald’s in Mordor? What if scientists sent a Roomba to the bottom of the Mariana Trench?

You don’t have to wonder what a Roomba cleaning the bottom of the Mariana Trench would look like anymore. DALL-E mini can show you.

DALL-E mini is an online text-to-image generator that has exploded in popularity on social media in recent weeks.

The program takes a text phrase — like “mountain sunset,” “Eiffel tower on the moon,” “Obama making a sand castle,” or anything else you could possibly imagine — and creates an image out of it.

The results can be strangely beautiful, like “synthwave buddha,” or “a chicken nugget smoking a cigarette in the rain.” Others, like “Teletubbies in nursing home,” are truly terrifying.

DALL-E mini gained internet notoriety after social media users started using the program to mash recognizable pop culture icons into bizarre, photorealistic memes.

Boris Dayma, a Texas-based computer engineer, originally created DALL-E mini as an entry in a coding competition. Dayma’s program gets its name from the AI it’s based on: Inspired by the artificial intelligence company OpenAI’s incredibly powerful DALL-E, DALL-E mini is basically a web app that applies similar technology in a more easily accessible way. (Dayma has since renamed DALL-E mini to Craiyon at the company’s request).

While OpenAI restricts most access to its models, Dayma’s model can be used by anyone on the internet, and it was developed through collaboration with the AI research communities on Twitter and GitHub.

“I would get interesting feedback and suggestions from the AI community,” Dayma told NPR over the phone. “And it became better, and better, and

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Fidelity will start off providing bitcoin in 401(k) accounts : NPR

A Bitcoin logo is displayed on an ATM in Hong Kong in 2017. Extra staff could shortly be capable to stake some of their 401(k) retirement savings to bitcoin.

Kin Cheung/AP


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Kin Cheung/AP


A Bitcoin logo is shown on an ATM in Hong Kong in 2017. Far more workers may well quickly be able to stake some of their 401(k) retirement personal savings to bitcoin.

Kin Cheung/AP

NEW YORK — Additional employees could soon be equipped to stake some of their 401(k) retirement financial savings to bitcoin, as cryptocurrencies crack even deeper into the mainstream.

Retirement big Fidelity explained Tuesday that it is launched a way for personnel to put some of their 401(k) cost savings and contributions right in bitcoin, perhaps up to 20%, all from the account’s most important menu of investment options. Fidelity stated it’s the very first in the sector to permit this kind of investments with no owning to go through a different brokerage window, and it’s currently signed up one employer that will include the giving to its plan later on this year.

Fidelity’s presenting may be just one of just a couple for a although, provided the substantial fears about the riskiness of cryptocurrencies. The U.S. authorities last month warned the retirement market to exercise “extraordinary treatment” when doing some thing like this, highlighting how inexperienced investors might not value just how volatile cryptocurrencies can be, among the other problems.

Bitcoin experienced 5 times in the final year in which it plunged by at the very least 10%. The shares in the S&P 500, in the meantime, had only two these types of drops in the last 50 many years. Past its volatility, you can find however essential disagreement about how significantly a bitcoin is well worth, or even

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Texas anti-divestment law against green investors stumbles : NPR

Fossil fuels power the Texas economy, accounting for some 14% of gross state product between 2019 and 2020. Now, Texas is the first state in the nation to pass anti-divestment laws for fossil fuels.

Gregory Bull/AP


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Gregory Bull/AP

For years, fossil fuel producing states have watched investors shy away from companies causing the climate crisis. Last year, one state decided to push back.

Texas passed a law treating financial companies shunning fossil fuels the same way it treated companies that did business with Iran, or Sudan: boycott them.

“This bill sent a strong message to both Washington and Wall Street that if you boycott Texas energy, then Texas will boycott you,” Texas Representative Phil King said from the floor of the Texas legislature during deliberations on the bill, SB 13, last year.

But the Lone Star state is straining to implement the law. Loopholes and exceptions written into the law could sap its impact on financial firms that have aggressive climate policies.

This March, the Texas State Comptroller began sending letters out to financial institutions, probing their climate policies. Leslie Samuelrich, president of Green Century Capital Management, a fossil fuel-free mutual fund, says her firm recently received its letter.

“It felt very politically motivated,” she says. Samuelrich says she plans to ignore the one she got.

Even so, Samuelrich says the law could have a “chilling effect” on some investment firms.

Despite Texas’s emerging problems in implementing the first law penalizing companies for fossil fuel divestment, the concept of boycotting green finance is spreading. At least seven other states are now considering or have passed similar legislation, raising the prospect of a coalition of fossil fuel producing states putting pressure on Wall Street.

“The state of Texas is a large state with a lot of

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Artificial intelligence is being used to digitally replicate human voices : NPR

Reporter Chloe Veltman reacts to hearing her digital voice double, “Chloney,” for the first time, with Speech Morphing chief linguist Mark Seligman.

Courtesy of Speech Morphing


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Reporter Chloe Veltman reacts to hearing her digital voice double, “Chloney,” for the first time, with Speech Morphing chief linguist Mark Seligman.

Courtesy of Speech Morphing

The science behind making machines talk just like humans is very complex, because our speech patterns are so nuanced.

“The voice is not easy to grasp,” says Klaus Scherer, emeritus professor of the psychology of emotion at the University of Geneva. “To analyze the voice really requires quite a lot of knowledge about acoustics, vocal mechanisms and physiological aspects. So it is necessarily interdisciplinary, and quite demanding in terms of what you need to master in order to do anything of consequence.”

So it’s not surprisingly taken well over 200 years for synthetic voices to get from the first speaking machine, invented by Wolfgang von Kempelen around 1800 – a boxlike contraption that used bellows, pipes and a rubber mouth and nose to simulate a few recognizably human utterances, like mama and papa – to a Samuel L. Jackson voice clone delivering the weather report on Alexa today.

A model replica of Wolfgang von Kempelen’s Speaking Machine.

Fabian Brackhane


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Fabian Brackhane


A model replica of Wolfgang von Kempelen’s Speaking Machine.

Fabian Brackhane

Talking machines like Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa, or a bank’s automated customer service line, are now sounding quite human. Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, or AI, we’ve reached a point where it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish synthetic voices from real ones.

I wanted to find out what’s involved in the process at the customer end. So I approached San Francisco

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The best business and finance tips for creatives : Life Kit : NPR

Illustration showing a hand drawn pyramid, broken up into blocks internally. Each block is filled with different financial tips including weekly time spent on finances, automatic saving, and investing, that can help people reach "financial awesomeness."

Not every hobby needs to be a side hustle. But, if you set out to make money off of yours – congratulations, you’re running a business! Now you have to pay attention to finances.

It can be uncomfortable taking something you do for fun and turning it into a product with a dollar value, especially if you’re a creative person. Add on the trope that being financially savvy is antithetical with being a true artist, and it’s no wonder many creatives feel “bad with money.”

But when you ignore your finances, you’re not only missing out on peace of mind, you’re also losing the ability to make sound business decisions that come from a place of clarity rather than an emotional “I’ll take what I can get” energy.

Writer, illustrator and musician Paco de Leon runs a financial education firm and bookkeeping agency. Her book, Finance for the People, is a beginner-friendly guide to navigating your financial life. De Leon joined Life Kit to offer her best money management tips for creatives.

Paco de Leon is a musician, author, illustrator, founder of The Hell Yeah Group and author of Finance for the People.

Left: Penguin Life; Right: Photograph by Jean Pablo


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Left: Penguin Life; Right: Photograph by Jean Pablo

Set up weekly finance time

Whether you’re following up on invoices, logging expenses, paying bills or researching accountants, many financial chores are forgotten if we don’t take time to prioritize them. To avoid this, set up a weekly finance meeting with yourself and treat it as sacred. Spend anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to check things off your list, instead of only doing them when you remember.

“Don’t allow people to book meetings or bother you during that time,” says de Leon. “Having

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