Will Robots Have Human Skin? by John R. Patrick

Will Robots Have Human Skin? by John R. Patrick

Words: 532, Reading time: 2 minutes

The traditional treatment for burns or extensive skin injuries has been skin grafts. This will be changing as scientists have made significant advancements in bioengineering which make it possible to grow patches of skin in the laboratory. The engineered grafts are less invasive than traditional skin transplants from other areas of the patient.

Up until now, skin patches could only be in flat circles or rectangles like typical bandages. The basic shapes work fine for wounds on flat surfaces like the back, but they are not a good treatment for uneven surfaces like the face or hands. Cutting and suturing to fit these shapes can have adverse effects such as scarring or even more skin damage.

Dr. Hasan Erbil Abaci is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center, and his team of researchers started some very advanced work to 3D-print engineered skin in whatever shapes a patient may need. The goal was to print custom grafts which could be transplanted with minimal cutting and suturing. The researchers’ study was published in Science Advances in January 2023. The team picked models of human hands and the hindlimbs of mice to test their new system of customized skin.

The process is quite intricate. It starts with a scan of the desired body part and a corresponding 3D-printed biocompatible three-dimensional structure called a scaffold. The scaffolds were designed with ports which could facilitate the infusion of different liquid cultures and skin cells to nurture the development of the skin. The process had the effect of growing natural skin.

After a month of incubation and promotion of the growth of layers of cells, the researchers found the grafts had formed an epidermis, a uniform outer layer of skin cells. The 3D-cultured skin showed greater resistance to stresses from movement than the normal flat grafts. Dr. Abaci cited additional advantages of the 3D-printed skin constructs. He referred to the transplants as “biological clothing.” The 3D grafts potentially offer many benefits and set the stage for advanced research which will probably create new opportunities in regenerative medicine.

The research described in this story can become very important for patients in need. It may also be a precursor for artificial skin for robots. As we add artificial hips, knees, pacemakers, and other implants to our bodies, we become more like robots. As robots get smarter and add skin and other biological-like parts, the robots will become more like humans. If you believe in the singularity, the day will come where nobody can tell the difference between a biological being and a non-biological being. You can read more about the singularity in Robot Attitude: How Robots and Artificial Intelligence Will Make Our Lives Better.


The source of information used in this article came from a February 14, 2023 story in NIH Research Mattersnamed “Engineering skin grafts for complex body parts”. The journal is produced by the National Institutes of Health which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I got some minor help on this article from chatGPT4. I ran Copyscape.com to make sure the story is void of plagiarism.

I changed the name of this section from What’s new? to Current Events by John R. Patrick. Feedback told me there was some confusion about “news”. The In The News section contains news about a new publication by me or a news story which mentions me or is about me.The Current Events by John R. Patrick blog posts contain snippets of current events I am following. Some of the topical areas change from time to time. The following are the current topics. Please send feedback on this new section to j[email protected]. Happy Memorial Day I asked chatGPT4 to comment on Memorial Day. Below is what it had to say. Memorial Day has become a long weekend which unofficially marks the beginning of the summer season in the United States. Many people enjoying outdoor activities and spending time with family and friends. We will be attending a family BBQ. I will resume crypto and market comments on June 2. Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed in the United States on the last Monday of May each year. It is a day of remembrance and honors the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate Union and Confederate soldiers who lost their lives in the conflict. Over time, Memorial Day has expanded to remember all military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. It is a time for reflection, gratitude, and paying tribute to the fallen heroes, often marked by ceremonies, parades, visiting cemeteries, and displaying the U.S. flag. Additionally, it has also become a long weekend that unofficially marks the beginning of the summer season in the United States, with many people enjoying outdoor activities and spending time with family and friends.  I will be traveling on Friday through the weekend so no market comments this week. What’s new in AI Here is some of the latest news in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) this week:
  • Google AI has announced a new initiative to develop AI that can understand and generate natural language.The initiative, called LaMDA, is still in its early stages, but it has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with computers.
  • OpenAI has released a new version of its GPT-3 language model. GPT-3 is one of the most powerful language models ever created, and it can be used for a variety of tasks, including writing, translation, and coding.
  • A team of researchers at MIT has developed a new AI system that can detect cancer cells with 99% accuracy.The system, called PathAI, uses deep learning to analyze tissue samples and identify cancer cells.
  • A team of researchers at Stanford has developed a new AI system that can drive a car without any human input. The system, called Waymo, has been tested on public roads in California, and it is expected to be available to the public in the near future.
These are just a few of the many exciting developments in the field of AI this week. As AI continues to evolve, it is likely to have a profound impact on our lives in the years to come. The preceding was written by Google’s Bard AI. Happenings in Ukraine Here is some of the latest news in Ukraine this week:
  • Russia has continued its offensive in the eastern Donbas region, making some gains but facing stiff resistance from Ukrainian forces. The fighting has been particularly heavy in the city of Severodonetsk, which is seen as a key strategic objective for Russia.
  • The United States has announced that it will provide Ukraine with an additional $800 million in military aid, including artillery, ammunition, and drones. The aid comes as Ukraine is facing a critical shortage of weapons and ammunition.
  • The European Union has agreed to ban most Russian oil imports, a move that is expected to further cripple the Russian economy. The ban is expected to take effect in six months.
  • The United Nations has warned that the war in Ukraine is causing a humanitarian crisis, with millions of people displaced from their homes and in need of food, water, and shelter. The UN has called for an immediate ceasefire and a negotiated settlement to the conflict.
The situation in Ukraine remains fluid and uncertain. It is possible that the war could escalate, or that it could reach a negotiated settlement. However, it is clear that the war is having a devastating impact on the people of Ukraine. The preceding was written by Google’s Bard AI. Crypto and markets I will resume my crypto and market comments on June 2.
Recycling Renaissance

Recycling Renaissance

Word count: 974 Reading time: 3.6 minutes

One of the many things I learned from my dad was about recycling. Dad was a voracious reader of books and newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Bulletin, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the south Jersey Salem Sunbeam. Newspapers would accumulate on the basement stairway landing. Once a week or so, Dad would take the newspapers to the basement and stack them in a corner next to the furnace. The stack was straight as a pin. If a newspaper had some pages hanging out, Dad would unfold and refold the paper. You could place a level on the side of the stack and find it perfectly straight.

The Character Brothers owned a “junk yard” about a half-mile from our house. The yard included junked cars, scrap metal, and newspapers. During the 1950s, Dad would borrow the pickup truck from his car dealership on occasional Saturday mornings and we would make a trip to Characters’. We would fill up the pickup with the papers from the basement, and then drive to Characters’ right onto a large scale. After the truck and papers had been weighed, Mrs. Character, who lived just two doors away from us, would give Dad the thumbs up from the window of her little office by the scale. Dad would then drive to the section of the yard where the newspapers would be converted into bales. He would back in the truck, and we would heave the papers into the recycling area.

After driving back onto the scale, Mrs. Character would calculate the weight of the papers and give Dad the money. I don’t know what the price was. Currently, the price of recycled newspapers ranges between $2 and $10 per ton. It varies a lot based on supply and demand. When we got home, Dad would put the dollar bills in an envelope and the coins in a little barrel shaped bank. From time to time, Dad would take me to the bank where he deposited the newspaper money in a savings account for college.

Things are quite different today. Although awareness and intentions with regard to recycling are significant, global recycling is a mess. For decades, the United States sent most of its recycling on ships to China. The model was the recycled materials would be made into bags, shoes, and plastic products. That changed in July 2017 when China restricted imports of mixed paper and most plastics, effective in March 2018. A Chinese initiative called the National Sword changed their import policy to reduce the allowable percentage of contaminants from 5 to 10 percent to 0.5 percent. Contamination, for example, meant bales of paper which also contained pieces of metal, glass, plastic bags, etc. Waste-management companies across the country told municipalities there was no longer a market for their recycling. Municipalities had two choices: pay much more to get rid of recycling or throw it all away. Unfortunately, many, opted for the latter.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 75% of U.S. cities and counties contract with private businesses to handle their recycling. Where I live in Palm Coast, Florida, Waste Management comes twice a week. They only accept paper and cardboard. Pizza boxes, tin cans, anything aluminum, bottles, plastic bottles and bags are all treated as trash and get dumped into the environment.

Seven miles south on A1A in Flagler Beach (pop. 5,160 but growing fast), recycling is all city-run, and they have begun rolling out a revolutionary new recycling program. The program is run by Sanitation Supervisor Rob Smith. Smith says, “I’m not an environmentalist. I’m just a normal guy.” I would say he is a practical, common sense, get it done guy.

The Flagler Beach materials recovery facility (MRF, pronounced “murf”) now handles glass, aluminum, and tin. The more challenging material is the thin polyethylene bags which causes huge damage to the environment. Animals can die after becoming entangled in the bags. When polyethylene breaks down, it can release microplastics into the environment. Microplastics are small pieces of plastic that can be ingested by animals and humans. They can cause health problems, such as inflammation and cancer.

Smith formed a partnership with a Trex, Inc. Using its TrexNex program, the company purchases returned consumer bags and film from the majority of grocery and retail stores in the U.S., and creates Trex premium composite decking from the recycled bags and other plastic film. Flagler Beach has put special bins around town with special stickers to identify them. They plan to add the stickers to traditional recycling bins marking them as thin plastic bins. NexTrex said they have “up-cycled about 430 million pounds of polyethylene film.”

They help partners like Flagler Beach pay for bailers where all the plastic material gets squished together into clumps. The clumps are mixed with sawdust and made into a composite material that can be used to create decks, park benches, and Flagler Beach’s boardwalk. Consumers can buy it at Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Flagler Beach is working on another very interesting project. They purchased a half-million-dollar machine with can grind up glass into a fine powder which turns into sand. The powdery sand can be used for landscaping, filling potholes, or filling up bags for use during hurricane season.

The city it doesn’t make a profit on any of its recycling efforts. Any savings are given to the people and businesses in Flagler. Rob Smith was quoted in the local newspaper summing it up, “If I can keep their trash bill as low as possible but still provide a good service and do something with the material – that I truly know is being done with it, instead of hoping – that’s a win/win,” said Smith. “That’s what it’s all about to me.” If Flagler Beach can do it, why can’t all American cities?

Current Events by John R. Patrick – 05/19/2023

I changed the name of this section from What’s new? to Current Events by John R. Patrick. Feedback told me there was some confusion about “news”. The In The News section contains news about a new publication by me or a news story which mentions me or is about me.The Current Events by John R. Patrick blog posts contain snippets of current events I am following. Some of the topical areas change from time to time. The following are the current topics. Please send feedback on this new section to j[email protected].

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on artificial intelligence (AI) on May 16, 2023. The hearing was titled “Oversight of A.I.: Rules for Artificial Intelligence.” Compared to other congressional hearings, this one was really good. It was bipartisan. There was no grandstanding. The Senators asked good questions and appreciated the needed sense of urgency.

The witnesses at the hearing were:

  • Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI
  • Christina Montgomery, Member of the IBM AI Ethics Board

  • Gary Marcus, Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University

The hearing focused on the potential benefits and risks of AI, and the need for regulation. The witnesses discussed the potential of AI to improve healthcare, education, and transportation. They also discussed the potential risks of AI, such as bias, discrimination, and job displacement.

The witnesses agreed that AI is a powerful tool that can be used for good or for bad. They also agreed that it is important to have a conversation about the future of AI and the need for regulation.

The hearing was the first in a series of hearings that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold on AI. The committee is expected to issue a report on AI in the coming months.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the hearing:

  • AI is a powerful tool that has the potential to improve our lives in many ways.
  • However, AI also has the potential to be used for harmful purposes.
  • It is important to have a conversation about the future of AI and the need for regulation.

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on AI was an important step in the process of understanding and regulating this powerful technology. The hearing raised important questions about the future of AI, and it is likely that the committee will continue to hold hearings on this topic in the coming months.

This summary was produced by Google’s Bard AI but had to be edited because of errors it produced.

A number of my friends think Russia will win the war. I am no military analyst but I don’t think so. Dozens of countries have sent in tanks and ammunition. Thousands of Ukrainian soldiers have received training in other countries. I spend time on Telegram everyday and I see a lot of pictures of tanks lined up and ready to fight. Russia may have more troops but they are not as motivated and skilled as Ukrainian troops. Ukraine is high-tech. They learn fast. They have a plan. I am betting on them.

I will be traveling on Friday through the weekend so no market comments this week.

Will AI Help Call Centers? by John R. Patrick

Will AI Help Call Centers?

Written: May 2023
Word count: 896, Reading time: 3.4 minutes


In 2001, I wrote Net Attitude: What It Is, How to Get It, and Why Your Company Can’t Survive Without It. The focus was to share with organizational leaders how they could use a “net attitude” to make their organization more successful by using the web to be more responsive to customers and constituents. The classic example of a poor net attitude is often found in one of the many call centers as I wrote more than 20 years ago. Many have still not improved. The pre-recorded voice greeting begins with, “Please pay attention because our menus have recently changed.” How is it the menus of all call centers have recently changed? If you press “0”, you sometimes get a response saying, “You have pressed an invalid key”. “Please enter your 16-digit account number” is often followed by a person in the call center right after you entered the 16-digit number asking, “What is your account number?” These annoying, often repetitive responses are not due to a technical problem. They are due to a lack of net attitude.


According to a 2022 survey by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), online retailers had an overall satisfaction score of 79, with the top tier online retailers scoring in the range of 75 to 90. Telecommunications companies had a score of 68, with some much lower. One of the key elements in the difference is the call center.

I once had a question for Comcast technical support which illustrated their lack of a net attitude. I tried my best but eventually gave up reaching someone who could understand the problem I was having. It wasn’t the hold time; it was the attitude they deploy. I called the main number. The first prompt said to press 1 if the call was about USC. I have no idea what USC means. University of Southern California? I was next prompted and asked for my reason in calling. I said, “technical support”. I then listened to 15 seconds of clicking sounds which I was supposed to think was an agent typing my request on a keyboard. Do they think consumers are stupid and not realize the clicks were synthesized. Next, I was asked to press 1 for Slow Internet, 2 for Connection Problems, 3 for Wi-Fi Password, or 4 for email trouble. There was no other choice, and none of the choices offered related to what I was calling about. If I did not select one of those four choices, I could not proceed. I pressed “0” hoping to get to a person and the call center hung up. Cable companies face a number of issues related to pricing and contractual terms, but I believe annoying call center protocols contribute to the frustration and poor ratings.


According to Site Selection Group, a Dallas, TX, and Greenville, SC provider of global location advice, there are more than 7,400 call centers in the United States employing more than three million people.  John McCormick at the Wall Street Journal, described how Cogito, a Boston based augmented intelligence company, is using voice AI to make call centers more effective. McCormick explained, 


As calls come into a center, they are streamed to Cogito’s system, which evaluates hundreds of data points, including speech rate, tone and more. If agents are pausing before answering questions, it could indicate they’re distracted. If customers raise their voices, it could be a sign of frustration. When the Cogito system detects a possible issue with a call, it sends a notification in the form of an icon or short message to the staffer’s screen. It is a suggestion that the agent [can] recognize and acknowledge the caller’s feelings.


The Cogito system in effect coaches the call center agents to help them become more confident, engaged, and empathetic. McCormick quoted the Cogito CEO as saying, “Learning to speak to different customers is a real skill. You’re not born with it. You have to learn it.”


Some insurance companies have found the Cogito AI helpful in improving first call problem resolution as much as 10% and with increased customer satisfaction, but it clearly has a long way to go. The problem is not just empathy. The problem is call center people often do not have the knowledge to answer the questions. This will change dramatically over the next few years. We will find an AI will be able to learn how to satisfy customers better and faster than human agents. By applying machine learning to a large number of customer calls and matching the nature of the problems with solutions which solved previous problems will enable much higher accuracy than a human can achieve. We can look forward to AI-created voices which sound like a human and an AI which can understand the questions we ask without asking us to press 1 for this and 2 for that. I would not recommend working in a call center as a good career path. The three million call center workers are exactly the kind of jobs which AI will threaten.


Apple and others are using AI but it is not highly effective. The recent explosion in the use of generative AI will change that. The big tech companies are well aware their chat bots are not always accurate, and they are investing large amounts of money to improve them. 

Current Events by John R. Patrick – 05/05/2023

I changed the name of this section from What’s new? to Current Events by John R. Patrick. Feedback told me there was some confusion about “news”. The In The News section contains news about a new publication by me or a news story which mentions me or is about me.The Current Events by John R. Patrick blog posts contain snippets of current events I am following. Some of the topical areas change from time to time. The following are the current topics. Please send feedback on this new section to j[email protected].

Here are some of the latest news on AI today according to Bard AI:

  • Google AI researchers have developed a new AI system that can generate realistic images of people, animals, and objects. The system, called Imagen, is trained on a massive dataset of text and images, and it can generate images that are indistinguishable from real photographs.
  • OpenAI has released a new AI tool called DALL-E 2, which can create realistic images from text descriptions. DALL-E 2 is a powerful tool that can be used for a variety of creative tasks, such as designing products, creating art, and generating marketing materials.
  • Microsoft has announced a new AI initiative called AI for Earth, which will use AI to address some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. AI for Earth will focus on areas such as climate change, water scarcity, and deforestation.
  • The US government has announced a new AI initiative called the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative, which will invest $1 billion in AI research and development. The National Artificial Intelligence Initiative aims to make the US a leader in AI research and development.
  • The European Union has announced a new AI strategy, which aims to make the EU a global leader in safe and trustworthy AI. The EU AI strategy sets out a number of goals, such as ensuring that AI is used in a responsible and ethical manner, and promoting the development of AI skills and talent in the EU.

These are just a few of the latest news on AI today. AI is a rapidly developing field, and there are many exciting new developments happening all the time.


Words from President Zelenskyy on Friday…

The occupiers are already internally ready for defeat. They have already lost this war in their minds. We must put pressure on them daily so that their sense of defeat turns into their escape, their mistakes, their losses.

I thank each and every one who destroys the enemy! I’m thankful to everyone who, despite any difficulties, returns our land to Ukraine! We are preparing to add even more weapons for you, warriors, to have even more opportunities to defeat the aggressor and restore peace.

Glory to all our soldiers currently in battle, at combat posts and on combat missions! I thank everyone who trains our fighters! I thank everyone who treats and restores Ukrainian soldiers after injuries!

Glory to Ukraine!

Bitcoin is showing some weakness at around $26,350 but its decline is not much different than many tech stocks. I think it is multiple uncertainties which is causing this. The SEC still seems to be regulating by enforcement instead of clarifying its regulatory intentions. Coinbase is fighting back and the market seems to agree with them. Total crypto is still about. $1 trillion with Bitcoin representing 46% of it. VCs continue to invest in crypto. There have a number of failures and criminal activity but innovation is still alive. 

GAMMAT stocks at $8.6 trillion with Apple being $2.7 trillion of it. Market has the blahs. Deficit. Inflation. Default. Uncertainty. On and on. Tech is racing to build better and more accurate AI. This will impact all companies. Every one. I believe it will create new jobs, increase productivity for all, but eventually take a big toll on jobs. Very big.

Can AI Help Voice Recognition?

Written: May 2023

Word Count: 1,042. Reading time: 3.9 minutes

Artificial intelligence and facial recognition have the potential to offer many benefits. Travelers will be very happy to have a faster process for boarding a flight. Citizens may feel more secure knowing criminals can be apprehended. Business transactions may be streamlined with facial recognition, and mobile devices will be more secure if no one can access data from them but the owner. The tradeoff is potential loss of privacy and civil liberty. How can we be sure an airline or a bank will not suffer a data breach where our faceprints are stolen by bad actors? Will we be able to trust our local and national governments are not spying on us? It is clear some form of regulation is needed. In addition to technology to use AI with our faces, AI and our voices also has great potential. Voice is the subject of this article.

If a friend or relative calls you on the phone, and something is wrong in his or her life, you can tell immediately. Could an AI tell also? Yes, and a whole lot more. Using the same AI machine learning technology used to tell a cat from a dog or recognize a person’s face, an AI can be trained to recognize your voice. An AI with access to a database containing many voice samples along with a description of whose voice each sample is associated with, the AI can recognize you. Based on characteristics of the voice and what state of mind those characteristics are associated with, it can also know if you are not feeling well, are upset about something, or in a big hurry. Some of the characteristics of voice data which can be detected include tone, tempo, volume, language, dialect used, and other voice characteristics.

John McCormick, Deputy Editor of WSJ Pro Artificial Intelligence, wrote an excellent article about voice recognition called, “What AI Can Tell From Listening to You”.  McCormick said that by analyzing voice data, an AI can determine a person’s emotions, mental and physical health, and detect if you are depressed, in danger of a heart attack, or dozing at the wheel of your car. AI voice technology is already in use in a number of application areas. For example, Google released an algorithm in June 2019 which can translate what you say and say it back in another language BUT in your voice.

A major area of opportunity using voice recognition is in mental health. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 57.8 million adults in the United States, or 1 in 5 adults, had a mental illness in 2021. This includes both mild and severe mental illnesses. The most common mental illnesses in the United States are:

  • Anxiety disorders (25.4%)
  • Depressive disorders (17.3%)
  • Substance use disorders (15.1%)
  • Bipolar disorder (2.6%)
  • Schizophrenia (1.1%)

Mental illnesses can have a significant impact on a person’s life, affecting their ability to work, go to school, maintain relationships, and take care of themselves. The Institute of Mental Health estimates only half of those needing treatment receive it. Emerging AI and voice technology may be able to make problems easier to spot.

CompanionMX, founded in 2015 by Dr. David Moher, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is a digital health company that develops and markets a mobile app called Companion which uses voice analysis to track and predict mental health conditions. Patients are encouraged to talk to the app describing how they are feeling. The app is designed to be used by people with mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder. Companion uses AI-powered algorithms to analyze a user’s voice recordings and identify changes in their emotional state. These changes can then be used to predict the onset of a mood episode. Companion can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment and to track progress over time. Clinicians can potentially make better decisions to improve the mental health of the patient. Researchers who have studied the Companion system have found it very encouraging.

CompanionMX is one of a number of companies which are developing digital health solutions for mental health conditions. The development of digital health solutions for mental health is a rapidly growing field. These solutions have the potential to not only improve access to care, but reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

Another interesting area of opportunity using voice recognition and AI is keeping drivers awake. According to the National Safety Council, each year, drowsy driving accounts for about 100,000 crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities. Today’s cars have a lot of computing power which can help. Many cars already have voice recognition for making phone calls or telling the car GPS system where you want to go. Some cars have external cameras to help avoid collisions. Cars could also have a camera on the dashboard watching you. Many companies are designing AI which uses voice analysis combined with facial recognition to assess the alertness and emotional state of a driver.

Toyota is using AI facial recognition to find drivers who are not alert. The technology, developed by ITOCHU Techno-Solutions, uses cameras to track the driver’s eyes and face to determine if they are paying attention. If the driver is not alert, the system will sound an alarm and alert the driver. It could even blast some music.

Some of the benefits of using AI facial recognition to find drivers who are not alert include preventing accidents, improving driver safety, and reducing driver fatigue. There are challenges including high cost to develop and implement the technology. The system can be inaccurate, especially if the driver is wearing sunglasses or a hat. Some people, perhaps many, would find the system to be intrusive, as it is constantly monitoring the driver’s face. There may also be privacy concerns.

Overall, AI voice and facial recognition have the potential to be valuable tools. However, like all things AI, it is important to weigh the benefits and challenges of the technology before implementing it. Europe and China are moving quickly to put guardrails in regulations. The United States Congress continues to be laggards. There is work underway but moving at a snail’s pace.






Current Events by John R. Patrick – 05/05/2023

I changed the name of this section from What’s new? to Current Events by John R. Patrick. Feedback told me there was some confusion about “news”. The In The News section contains news about a new publication by me or a news story which mentions me or is about me.The Current Events by John R. Patrick blog posts contain snippets of current events I am following. Some of the topical areas change from time to time. The following are the current topics. Please send feedback on this new section to j[email protected].

Axios had some good thoughts on AI today. They quoted the White House has said, “AI is one of the most powerful technologies of our time, but in order to seize the opportunities it presents, we must first mitigate its risks.” This is so true but do White House leaders know enough about AI to develop meaningful regulation remains to be seen. Axios further quoted, “Importantly, this means that companies have a fundamental responsibility to make sure their products are safe before they are deployed or made public.” Also true but the race to win may cause dangerous compromises. Another interesting quote was the Pentagon’s AI chief said he is “scared to death” of the impact from generative AI tools. 

President Zelenskyy continuously meets with global leaders from around the world. He has gained great respect and not just politically but also economically. The details of the creation of an investment fund to restore Ukraine’s economy were discussed at a meeting with the management of the largest asset management company in the world, BlackRock. Estimates range above a trillion $ to do the reconstruction.


The main goal of the fund’s creation is to attract private and public capital for implementing large-scale business projects in Ukraine. This will be a strong signal of strengthening the investment climate. It is important not only for our people, our society, but also for business, entrepreneurs abroad. Today is a historic moment because, since the very first days of independence, we have not had such huge investment cases in Ukraine. We are proud that we can initiate such a process.

Brady Dale at Axios wrote a book on the now-infamous crypto exchange FTX and its founder, boy-wonder Sam Bankman-Fried. I think we all expected books and movies to emerge about SBF. SBF told Brady in December, “It won’t matter what really happened” when it comes time for the trial.


Reflecting on the interview, Brady said it’s entirely possible SBF really does have a story in his head where he and his company could be seen as innocent on all charges. He might believe the story is true, but nobody can deny there is a lot of money gone.


The more important news to me is Coinbase Global reported its Q1 earnings last night.

Net revenue was $736 million, up 22% quarter-over-quarter. The company also brought expenses down by 24%. Coinbase ended the quarter with a loss of $79 million. Its loss over all of 2022 was $557 million.The stock was up 18% on Friday. I remain bullish.


Total market cap of all crypto is $1.2 trillion with 47% of it being Bitcoin. The main reason is the emergence of Lightning which I have previously written about.  

Really great to see almost everything up. Still a long way to go. Looking at the week, it was nothing like Friday. GAMMAT stocks up to $8.5 trillion with Apple being $2.7 trillion of it. Apple is growing in many third world countries. Used iPhones are expanding the market for the ecosystem which generates terrific services revenue. The big guys are all under political attack but continuing to outsmart them.

Reenactment and Deepfakes by John R. Patrick

Reenactment and Deepfakes by John R. Patrick

Written: April 2023

Facial recognition issues go much broader and deeper than surveillance. A team of researchers funded by the German Research Foundation published a paper called, “Face2Face: Real-Time Face Capture and Reenactment of RGB Videos“.  What the researchers have done is mind boggling. They call it facial reenactment in real-time. A reenactment involves two separate videos. One is called the “source” and the other is called the “target”. To demonstrate a reenactment, one of the researchers served as the “source”. The target could be a famous movie star or a world political leader. The source video is used to “reenact” the video of the target. Suppose one video frame showed the target with his mouth closed. Using the research technology, the video was modified based on the video of the source and, voilà, the target has his mouth open.


The German research is profound. The researchers said, “Our approach is a game changer.”  The technology can enable editing of videos in real time on a home PC by non-experts. In 1994, the cover of Scientific American showed a picture of Marilyn Monroe standing beside Abraham Lincoln. It demonstrated what was possible with computer graphics, and it was stunning at the time. The technology demonstrated by the German researchers could be called face manipulation. It can bring “Fake News” to a whole new level. The target video of a world leader might say, “I recommend we look for a way to have peace”. The reenactment could show the leader saying, “I recommend we look for a way to go to war”. A close inspection of the video would show the leader’s mouth forming those words. The researchers said, “We hope that the numerous demonstrations of our reenactment systems will teach people to think more critically about the video content they consume every day, especially if there is no proof of origin.”  The danger is people watching the reenacted video on social media may find the video so real the viewer will not make the effort to verify what the original source of the video was.


The German researchers showed how AI technology could create a reenactment. A street level term for this would be deepfake. Advances in technology have resulted in many new words in the dictionary. Deepfake is one of them.


A deepfake is artificial media in which a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else’s likeness. Deepfakes are created using an AI technology called deep learning. A powerful computer in the cloud is fed large amounts of data of audio and video from a real person. In other words, the AI is trained to look or sound like someone else. The computer then uses this data to create a new image or video which is indistinguishable from the original.


Deepfakes can be used for a variety of harmless purposes including entertainment, satire, and benign propaganda. Unfortunately, deepfakes can also be used to create fake news and spread misinformation. As deepfake technology becomes more sophisticated, it will become increasingly difficult to tell real videos from fake ones. In the harmless category, a video was created to show Queen Elizabeth making holiday wishes. The clothing, hat, the face, the body all looked like the Queen, but it was not. You could not tell until the end of her speech when she danced the Irish jig with a fast tempo and lively steps. It was hilarious.


In Friday morning’s WSJ it was reported the Federal Reserve chief received a phone call from a person who sounded exactly like Volodymyr Zelenskyy. They actually had a conversation. The Fed stated no confidential information was exchanged, but certainly it could have been. There is a significant concern about the potential for deepfakes to be used to manipulate public opinion and damage people’s reputations. Some politicians routinely make up names for their opponents. With deepfake technology they will be able to put words in the mouth of the opponent. In 2021, social media showed video of President Biden altered to show him stutter uncontrollably. I predict we will see examples of deepfakes during the 2024 race.


We should all be aware of deepfakes and be on the lookout. One way is to look for inconsistencies in the video such as unnatural movements or changes in lighting. We should look at the source of what we hear or see. If the audio or video or image is from a source you trust, it is more likely to be real. However, even trusted sources can be hacked. The bottom line is we should be skeptical of what we see on social media posted by a political action committee (PAC) or any person affiliated with a political party or candidate.


Epilogue: I used Google’s Bard generative AI to fact check some parts of this article. Bard is a helpful assistant. More and more content is going to come from generative AI. We need to be careful and skeptical of everything we see or hear or read.

Current Events by John R. Patrick – 04/28/2023

I changed the name of this section from What’s new? to Current Events by John R. Patrick. Feedback told me there was some confusion about “news”. The In The News section contains news about a new publication by me or a news story which mentions me or is about me.The Current Events by John R. Patrick blog posts contain snippets of current events I am following. Some of the topical areas change from time to time. The following are the current topics. Please send feedback on this new section to j[email protected].

AI is exploding and news coverage about AI may be exploding even more.There are many other negative and risky things to say about AI, but I will focus on the many positives of AI, especially in healthcare. I wrote about this in Health Attitude: Unraveling and Solving the Complexities of Healthcare and I will continue writing blog posts on various areas where AI will have a major impact. This week’s story was about deepfakes. I expect to see a lot of them as we approach the 2024 campaigns.

President Zelenskyy continuously meets with global leaders from around the world. He has gained great respect. This week he welcomed the President of Slovakia Zuzana Čaputová to Ukraine. His message was clear,


Thank you for supporting our people, our army, and helping to restore Ukraine. We really appreciate it. Every assistance provided to Ukraine, every air defense system provided, every military aircraft, every gun, every unit of armored vehicles with which we protect ourselves from Russian aggression are the saved lives of Ukrainian men and women. I believe that one of the main conclusions from our conversation today should be the conclusion that there cannot be any “defense taboos” in security assistance to Ukraine. Every artificial defense restriction for Ukraine is just another terrorist opportunity for the Russian Federation. And it is absolutely fair to provide our soldiers with everything necessary to protect the most important thing – life. I am grateful to Petr Pavel and Zuzana Čaputová for such important support for our country from your countries, and for our meeting.

Regulatory uncertainty continues to loom large. TaxBit reported that during a tense Congressional hearing this month, House Financial Services Committee Chair Patrick McHenry told the SEC chair, Gary Gensler, “Your approach is driving innovation overseas and endangering American competitiveness.” As they did for privacy regulation, the European lawmakers passed landmark new rules for the crypto industry. U.K. leaders plan to position themselves as a “global hub for crypto asset technology.” Like privacy regulation, the U.S. is behind, but some progress is beginning to appear. The following two examples were described by TaxBit.


  • Crypto Accounting Reforms are on the Horizon in the U.S.: Last month, the FASB proposed new rules that establish fair value reporting and promote greater financial transparency for corporations holding crypto-assets. Current rules have been exceptionally difficult to meet, resulting in multiple public companies having to restate financial results due to errors in tracking Bitcoin impairment charges. The newly-proposed rules should resolve a major roadblock to corporate crypto adoption and promote investor trust with improved financial transparency.
  • NFTs Potentially Being Taxed as Collectibles in the U.S.: In March, the U.S. Treasury and the IRS issued a notice seeking feedback on the proposed tax treatment of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) as collectibles under the tax code in certain scenarios. This move marks an important step towards clarifying the tax implications of NFTs, which have grown in popularity and significance in the digital asset ecosystem over the past few years. 

April shaping up to be a strong month. The six GAMMAT stocks are up to $8.4 trillion. Meta (Facebook) has had an amazing comeback. With Apple closing at $170, it is approaching $3 trillion market cap. Crypto is facing a lot of heat from the SEC but it is looking strong. Bitcoin approaching $30,000. After a successful blockchain conversion, Ethereum is approaching $2,000. There are now more than 23,000 digital assets with a total market cap of $1.2 trillion. Bitcoin is 47% of it, ETH is 19%, and the rest of the 23,000 is 34%.