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Kazakhstan

This Kazakh Hacker Wants To Destroy The Academic Publishing Establishment

Kazakhstan-born computer engineer Alexandra Elbakyan is now an international copyright outlaw. Her Sci-Hub website offers free access to millions of academic publications, a direct challenge to the entire publishing and academic establishment.

This Kazakh Hacker Wants To Destroy The Academic Publishing Establishment
Yves Eudes

PARIS ­— Formally speaking, Alexandra Elbakyan, 27, lives in Almaty, her hometown in Kazakhstan. But in reality, she probably lives somewhere in Russia. Her life and her travels are now secret: in October 2015, a New York federal court found her guilty of pirating scientific articles owned by Anglo-Dutch publisher Elsevier.

Elbakyan works as a computer engineer and is specialized in futuristic programs that aim to provide a direct connection between the brain and a computer. But since 2011, she is also the creator and moderator of the website Sci-Hub. It offers the free download of all scientific articles that are available on the Internet. These articles largely come from the websites of the leading international scientific publishers like Elsevier, Germany's Springer and the New Jersey-based Wiley, which hold exclusive distribution rights and sell them at a high price. A private individual pays an average of $32 (28,50 euros) per article and the large libraries have to buy a range of subscriptions, which cost them millions of dollars each year.

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Future

Robot Artists And Us: Who Decides The Aesthetics Of AI?

Ai-Da is touted as the first bonafide robot artist. But should we consider her paintings and poetry original or creative? Is this even art at all?

Ai-Da at work

Leah Henrickson and Simone Natale

Ai-Da sits behind a desk, paintbrush in hand. She looks up at the person posing for her, and then back down as she dabs another blob of paint onto the canvas. A lifelike portrait is taking shape. If you didn’t know a robot produced it, this portrait could pass as the work of a human artist.

Ai-Da is touted as the “first robot to paint like an artist”, and an exhibition of her work called Leaping into the Metaverse opened at the Venice Biennale.

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