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Is Tech Propelling Us Into a ‘Fake News’ Future?

Simulated images of Barack Obama, via University of Washington

Editor's Note:

Also in the news: Hope for Swamp Thing’s career as a matinee idol, and a list of literature’s 30 worst couples. It’s your Daily Blunt!

If you think we have a “fake news” problem now, wait till you find out the effects that emerging tech developments will have journalism. Watchdog Aviv Ovadya warns Buzzfeed readers of the “reality apathy” that’s likely to set in once audio and video can be manipulated to create convincing footage of a public figure saying literally anything (scroll down to watch this being tested on Barack Obama), when legislators no longer know if the constituents calling and emailing them are human or A.I., when a celebrity’s face can be realistically grafted onto an adult film star, and the word “evidence” finally loses all meaning throughout the populace. Just how long do we have before the so-called Infocalypse? Quoth Ovadya: “I’m not sure, really. Unfortunately, a lot of the warning signs have already happened.”

Another burning question: will fans of DC’s Swamp Thing ever get the movie version they deserve? They will if Alex Garland ever gets his way. The “Annihilation” director has his sights trained on the humid hero, whose mythology was revitalized by Alan Moore in the ’80s, remaining endlessly popular with readers today. Admit it, friends: Groot’s had his moment in the sun, it’s time to let a new plant-derived hero meet his public.

A new guide to raising children to be more self-reliant (as the Germans apparently do) is likely to just break American parents’ hearts, Slate observes. That’s because the social conditions for most of the experiments called for in Sara Zaske’s book simply don’t exist here — or at least, we’ve gotten used to imagining they don’t. Some of these differences systemic, emanating downward from our government’s priorities. As the reviewer observes: “We can’t even secure emergency insurance for terminally ill children, much less subsidies for preschool—which in Germany are, of course, standard and generous.”

Delicious candy aside, anyone grade-school-aged or older is wise to the fact that Valentine’s Day isn’t everything the marketing promises. To this end, LitHub has compiled a list of 30 of the worst couples in literature, taking Wuthering Heights‘ Heathcliff and Catherine to task (among others) for their bad behavior. The list illustrates one of the main drawbacks to romantic love: often when you “win,” everyone around you loses. Send this link to one of your disaster-couple friends with a kind note: “At least you guys aren’t like this.” Secretly, you’ll both know they are exactly like this.