Friday News: New frontier for fan fiction, Facebook’s new mission, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and floral dinosaurs
When Fan Fiction and Reality Collide – I don’t really think the title of this article does it justice, because it’s tackling so much more – namely, the complex relationship between fan fiction, its subjects, and the mainstream publishers and production companies that are looking to exploit new content. Case in point: the anthology web series “FANtasies,” which adapts Grace Helbig fan fiction. The series highlights the seemingly endless cycle of creativity in which fan fiction participates (in ways both derivative and transformative), as well as the easy commercialization of an art form that isn’t always perceived as legitimate (even by those profiting from it).
The series will appear on a joint venture of AT&T and the media tycoon Peter Chernin’s the Chernin Group that is aimed at younger audiences (monthly subscriptions to Fullscreen cost $5.99) and was developed with the storytelling platform Wattpad, which has recently led a charge to spin its amateur authors’ fan fiction into professional properties. (The writers of the original fan fiction adapted by “FANtasies” were consulted, credited and compensated for their work.)
“FANtasies” is at the messy intersection of all of that: It’s a polished series with mainstream investment starring homegrown YouTube performers who have become big deals, based on fan fiction written by other upstart internet creators who are mostly typing away in obscurity. The relationship between all those players can be so fraught that even discussing fan fiction with its real-life subjects is taboo among many such writers, as the spotlight can feel meanspirited, or just beside the point. YouTube stars may rule the mainstream internet, but as one author of erotic Hartbig stories put it, fan fiction is “our playground.” – New York Times
Facebook wants to save the world. You’ve got work to do – So is this some kind of atonement for all the fake news trafficked on Facebook during the US presidential election? Mark Zuckerberg and Chris Cox are now pitching Facebook as a kind of engine of humanity, and they’ve been reaching out to Facebook Group leaders to better understand what people really want from the platform. Does this mean we can trust them now to not to manipulate user experiences or exploit user data for their own private research?
At a Facebook event in February, Zuckerberg, 33, acknowledged there’s “more division” in the world now than there has been in a while. Later that month, he posted a nearly 6,000-word manifesto detailing Facebook’s new modern-day ethos, including using artificial intelligence to thwart terrorism recruitment and making the social network a vessel for civic engagement.
The next step, he said, is convincing people to talk to one another more. And he believes Facebook’s Groups feature can help make that happen.
“Online communities make our physical communities stronger,” Zuckerberg said during a speech in Chicago on Thursday. Facebook has begun using artificial intelligence programs to suggest communities to people already, and he said it’s working. “It’s going to strengthen our overall social fabric and bring the world closer together.” – CNET
Her second film changed her life as well, but in a much different way. Fifty Shades of Grey became the second-highest-grossing live-action film directed by a woman (just behind Mamma Mia!‘s $609 million worldwide gross, although Wonder Woman, $254 million at press time, threatens to surpass them both) and made Taylor-Johnson famous. But it also put her in Hollywood’s crosshairs. Indeed, she barely survived the production. The arguments with author James (real name Erika Mitchell), who had negotiated creative control with Universal, became trench warfare. “Two different creative visions,” Taylor-Johnson says of the dynamic with the novelist. “Her vision versus mine, and they were polar opposite. Every scene was fought over. It was tough. It was like wading uphill through sticky tar. Her thing was, ‘This is what the fans expect.’ I’d be like, ‘Well, let’s try and hit those marks but create a new universe at the same time.’ ” – Hollywood Reporter
A Neural Network Turned a Book of Flowers Into Shockingly Lovely Dinosaur Art – I love stuff like this and maybe you do, too? Chris Rodley created the images using deep learning A.I., specifically
a website called Deepart.io, which is powered by an algorithm developed by Leon Gatys and a team from the University of Tübingen in Germany. . . . The Deepart.io algorithm differs from what Google’s Deep Dream does by applying features of an artist’s visual style to another image, preserving recognizable details and features and using them to rebuild the target image from scratch. – Gizmodo