This June, in the political battle leading up to the 2024 US presidential primaries, a series of images were released showing Donald Trump embracing one of his former medical advisers, Anthony Fauci. In a few of the shots, Trump is captured awkwardly kissing the face of Fauci, a health official reviled by some US conservatives for promoting masking and vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was obvious” that they were fakes, says Hany Farid, a computer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of many specialists who examined the pictures. On close inspection of three of the photos, Trump’s hair is strangely blurred, the text in the background is nonsensical, the arms and hands are unnaturally placed and the details of Trump’s visible ear are not right. All are hallmarks — for now — of generative artificial intelligence (AI), also called synthetic AI.
For the first time since 2004, the Library of Congress National Book Festival featured a Science Fiction & Fantasy stage highlighting how expansive and introspective imaginative fiction can be. Today, we’re releasing the footage for this stage — sponsored by General Motors — on our site and our YouTube channel. Here’s what you’ll find among the otherworldly and speculative conversations that took place on the Science Fiction & Fantasy stage at the recent Festival:
In the afternoon, bestselling author Holly Black talked about her first adult novel, “Book of Night,” with Megan Labrise, editor at large of Kirkus Reviews. As author of the Folk of the Air series and co-author of the Spiderwick series, Black lit the way for readers growing up on her dozens of books for younger readers.
Closing out the day was B.L. Blanchard and Lucinda Roy’s conversation with Derrick Young, co-owner and co-founder of MahoganyBooks. In Blanchard’s debut, “The Peacekeeper,” Europeans never colonized America, and in Roy’s near-future “Flying the Coop,” slavery is gut-wrenchingly normalized.
The Library of Congress celebrates the 2021 National Cherry Blossom Festival by debuting a new video series that highlights both historic and contemporary traditions of springtime flower viewing.
Developed to support the festival’s 2021 efforts to “blossom safely,” the four-to-five-minute videos can be enjoyed by viewers everywhere during the festival March 20-April 12 and beyond through the Library’s YouTube site and on the Library of Congress website.