combat

  • Optus says it is working to improve the experience of migrating to the NBN, with the telco’s CEO, Allen Lew, today revealing details of an initiative to smooth the transition to the new network. In notes prepared for an address to ACCANect, the conference of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), Lew revealed that the telco has invested “tens of millions of dollars” in the “Optus NBN champion” program. The program is designed to address a range of frustrations encountered by customers during the migration to the NBN. Those include confusion caused by the hand-off between sub-contractors, NBN Co and retail service providers (RSPs), struggles with installation and chasing answers to questions, lengthy activation processes, and a lack of visibility of the process for customers. “We are proactively reaching out to existing customers who are migrating to the NBN to reassure them that one person will manage their order from receipt right through to completion and for the first 30 days of activation,” Lew said. “This isn’t a promise to do; we have been embedding this since May and slowly building scale so that we can offer it to all our customers.” The CEO said that, over the last 18 months, Optus has made “significant changes” to its operations “to ensure the customer is at the centre of every decision we make”. That includes the launch of a “customer academy” for employees. “Our call centre agents now have more training and more authority, so they can solve issues without having to transfer calls so customers aren’t passed around,” Lew said. “We have added more agents, too. This means we have massively reduced our wait times. In fact, we just received new stats that our average wait time – which a year ago was a completely unacceptable – is now...
  • With algorithmically-generated fabricated videos, otherwise called deepfakes, on the rise, Facebook is teaming up with Microsoft and seven academic institutions in the US for a Deepfake Detection Challenge. The contest — meant to develop technology for detecting deepfakes and prevent people from falling prey to misinformation — is expected to from late 2019 until spring of 2020. But training an algorithm to single out doctored videos isn’t an easy task, as it requires massive datasets of deepfakes. Which is why, the social media giant said it will use paid, consenting actors to create a library of deepfake videos in order to train and improve tools to combat the threat of such videos plaguing the platforms. “The goal of the challenge is to produce technology that everyone can use to better detect when AI has been used to alter a video in order to mislead the viewer,” Facebook’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer said. Although not all deepfakes are bad, they’re troubling for a reason. It’s fake news taken to a whole new level of persuasion. It’s one thing to read a fabricated story about an non-existent event, but it’s another to witness real people, say politicians, doing and saying fictional things, ultimately questioning the legitimacy of information you see online. The technology to manipulate images and videos is progressing at an unprecedented pace, outsmarting current capabilities to tell apart the real from the fake. What’s more, the explosion of AI and machine learning has made it cheaper and easier to create deepfakes, to the point where you can create your own fake videos. Inversely, they are also getting harder to detect. In case you haven’t heard, #ZAO is a Chinese app which completely blew up since Friday. Best application of ‘Deepfake’-style AI facial replacement I’ve ever seen. Here’s an example of me...