If politics doesn't put a smile on your face, there's an app for that

Smiling through your fears, taking Elon Musk's 'Boring' tweets seriously, and more in this week's tech news.

Photo by: Reuters/FaceApp result
Photo by: Reuters/FaceApp result

Trump is smiling at the thought of the wall.

1. Neural networks will make you smile, literally

Artificial neural networks (ANNs) are changing the world dramatically. However, not always in a serious sense. An iOS app called FaceApp uses neural networks to change the expression on a face while keeping the photo realistic. The app currently offers six filters – hot, young, old, male, female, and smile. Since the FaceApp tries to predict how the face would look in different scenarios, the result might be different from the reality. Here we test out the app on a few famous faces. 

The app doesn't work so well with Putin for some reason. (Reuters/using FaceApp)

It's so nice to see her smile. (Leonardo Da Vinci/using FaceApp)

Old. (Yahoo Interview, Youtube screenshot/using FaceApp)

2. AI is now better than humans at poker, without the face

It seems artificial intelligence (AI) has no limits when it comes to doing things better than we do. AI's newly discovered talent? Playing poker. Last week an AI named Libratus, developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, won $1.76 million in a 20-day poker tournament. The most interesting thing about Libratus is that it changes its strategy daily, leaving poker professionals thinking it was tweaked manually. The reality, the researches explained in a press release, is that the system can identify the weaknesses in its strategy that are being exploited by the pros, and then fix them. And Libratus doesn't have to keep a poker face.

3. Macbook Pro with Touch Bar banned from bar exams because it can predict results

If you use the Bar for the bar exam, there may be no stopping you. (Getty Images)

There's a struggle on to find real uses for the Macbook Pro's new Touch Bar feature, but certain US states are limiting its use. They have been notified by test-taking software company Examsoft about a potential problem with students using the Touch Bar during bar exams. The company believes test-takers could use it to cheat due to its predictive text functionality, possibly "compromising" the integrity of the exam. The North Carolina State Board of Law Examiners is requiring those with the new model Macbook to disable the function, while New York took the warning to heart and completely banned the devices. 

4. Elon Musk has just started digging

The Boring Company is on its way. (Getty Images)

Elon Musk never fails to surprise. The Boring Company he is planning to start, meant to help alleviate traffic problems in Los Angeles, has actually begun doing real work. According to a report from Wired, workers have started excavating near SpaceX's Los Angeles compound. Musk revealed his intentions during SpaceX's Hyperloop competition: “We’re just going to figure out what it takes to improve tunnelling speed by, I think, somewhere between 500 and 1,000 percent. We have no idea what we’re doing – I want to be clear about that.”

However, there are still a lot of questions about how the project will move forward. A number of factors like the buildings on the ground, the infrastructure underground, and the need for permits might add significant delays. 

TRTWorld and agencies