Fullerton Hotel since 1928


It was during the high emotion and jubilation of Singapore’s Centenary in 1919, directly after World War I had ended with an Allied victory, that the plan for this grand building was conceived. It would be, said the then British Governor, Sir Laurence Guillemard, “a monument worthy of the city.” The massive classical-styled or Palladian, fluted Doric colonnades and elaborate ornamentation of the Fullerton Building reflect the full-blown colonial confidence of its builders at the time it was erected, 1928.

The building would hold not only the General Post Office, presided over by the Postmaster General, but also the Exchange, and offices for the Governor of Singapore and the High Commissioner for the Federation of Malay States, as well as other government offices such as the headquarters for the Master Attendant, the Surveyor-General of Ships, the Port Health Office, the Veterinary Surgeon and the Imports and Exports Office. This is the building that has witnessed Singapore’s modern history unfold, acting as the last bastion of Singapore’s Governor Sir Shenton Thomas as the Japanese army marched into Singapore in 1942, with Allied soldiers taking refuge in its spacious corridors. The Fullerton Building was also the backdrop for pivotal political rallies during the post-World War II battle for Singapore’s Independence from the British. The ‘Singapore Stone’, one of Singapore’s most famous national treasure was also unearthed on its ground.

Today, the building is home to the luxurious grande dame 400-room The Fullerton Hotel. Extraordinary for its historic architecture and for the scale and quality of its 21st century restoration, The Fullerton Hotel has won the hearts of many of our guests, as it provides a blend of luxurious living with a touch of elegance and the nostalgia of old.

The Fullerton Hotel Singapore

A member of Historic Hotels Worldwide, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore today stands as one of the island nation’s greatest cultural landmarks. It rests on the site of Fort Fullerton, which British colonials constructed in 1829 shortly after Sir Stamford Raffles claimed the area for Great Britain. Fort Fullerton bore the name of Sir Robert Fullerton, who served as Singapore’s first colonial governor. The citadel guarded the region for many decades until the colonial government decided that it had become obsolete. By 1873, Fort Fullerton had been demolished and its garrison relocated to another series of fortifications nearby.

But from those ashes rose Fullerton Square, which local officials and real estate developers rushed to create throughout the latter-half of the 19th century. Dozens of administrative agencies and civilian organizations alike populated the new neighborhood, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Exchange Building, and the General Post Office. Fullerton Square was rapidly emerging as one of the most important places in Singapore, as it became surrounded by many other political and financial institutions. The creation of Collyer Quay and the historic Cavenagh Bridge introduced more traffic to the area, which transformed Fullerton Square as the city’s main focal point.

To commemorate the centennial anniversary of Singapore’s founding, Sir Laurence Guillemard—then the island’s colonial governor—commissioned the creation of a magnificent municipal building. He hired a British architectural firm based out of Shanghai called Keys & Dowdeswell to create its brilliant design. Construction began in 1924 and took around four years to complete. When the building finally debuted for the first in on June 27, 1928, it was a masterpiece of Neoclassical architecture. Named “The Fullerton Building,” it soon attracted many tenants from the surrounding area, like the Singapore Club and the Marine Department. The General Post Office occupied much of the space as well, covering the two lowest floors of the structure.

The Fullerton Hotel Singapore

The Fullerton Hotel Singapore is a five-star luxury hotel located near the mouth of the Singapore River, in the Downtown Core of the Central Area, Singapore. It was originally known as the Fullerton Building, and also as the General Post Office Building. The address is 1 Fullerton Square. The Fullerton Building was named after Robert Fullerton, the first Governor of the Straits Settlements (1826–1829). Commissioned in 1924 as part of the British colony's centennial celebrations, the building was designed as an office building by Major P.H. Keys of Keys & Dowdeswell, a Shanghai firm of architects, which won the project through an architectural design competition. The architectural firm also designed the Capitol Theatre, its adjoined Capitol Building and the Singapore General Hospital. In 2015, it was designated as a national monument of Singapore.

The northern end of the building covers the site of Fort Fullerton, a fort built in 1829 to defend the settlement against any naval attacks. The fort consisted of an Artillery Barrack, a house for the officers, barracks for soldiers and a 68-pounder gun guarding the entrance to the river which used to stand on the location known as Fullerton square. In 1843, the fort was extended after a sandstone monolith, the Singapore Stone, with an inscription possibly dating back to the 13th century was demolished. The Singapore stone was, unfortunately, destroyed by the British. A fragment of this monolith was salvaged and preserved in the collection of the National Museum at Stamford Road. However, there were several criticisms as well as apprehensions regarding the building of Fort Fullerton.

Merchants thought that it was a waste to use the prime location of the city for military instead of trading purpose, which would have prevented Singapore from generating more revenue and boosting its trading business. They were also worried that they would be in the direct line of fire if there were any attacks on the fort because the offices along the Singapore River were situated in close proximity to the fort. The fort was also said to be incapable of deterring any potential attacks from the sea and had very low efficacy. Following these criticisms, the fort was finally demolished in 1873. The fort gave way to the first General Post Office and the Exchange Building in 1874. Plans to erect Fullerton Building were drawn up in 1920. However, due to a lack of funds, construction only began in February 1924. During the initial groundwork, excavations revealed the gun casements of the old Fort Fullerton. In fact, the Fullerton Building was built over reclaimed land. Built at a cost of $4.1 million and after delays of a few months, the building was completed in June 1928. The Fullerton Building was opened on 27 June 1928 by the Governor, Sir Hugh Clifford, who suggested the building be named after Robert Fullerton.

The Fullerton Hotel Singapore

A majestic grey Aberdeen granite structure characterised by its Doric columns watches over the Singapore River. That's Singapore's 71st national monument, once home to three of the most important institutions of Singapore: The General Post Office, The Singapore Club and the Chamber of Commerce.

"The building is, and will be for many years, one of the principal landmarks of Singapore," said then-governor of the Straits Settlements Sir Hugh Clifford when he opened the building in June 1928. And man, was he right. Since then, the building has witnessed Singapore's modern history unfold, even acting as the last bastion of Singapore’s Governor Sir Shenton Thomas as the Japanese army marched into Singapore in 1942. Allied soldiers took refuge in its spacious corridors. The building also served as a backdrop for pivotal political rallies during the post-World War II battle for Singapore's Independence from the British.

Interesting fact In 1829, a fortress was built at the entrance of the Singapore River, where The Fullerton Hotel now sits. It was one of the earliest forts to be built in Singapore, predating even Fort Siloso. Fort Fullerton commanded high views over the Singapore River on the Singapore River on the North and the harbour to the South, a prime spot to defend the settlement against naval attacks.

The Fullerton Hotel

Named after one of Singapore’s colonial British governors, Robert Fullerton, The Fullerton Hotel was initially known as the Fullerton Building and commissioned in 1919 to commemorate the colony’s centennial celebrations. The building’s neoclassic design was the brainchild of the Shanghai-based Keys and Dowdeswell and was the largest building of its time in Singapore.

It was completed in 1926 and was home to many administrative services, including the Singapore Club, a lodge for the aristocratic elite complete with billiard tables and a dining hall, which is now a salon for hotel guests. The Fullerton Building continued to be of great importance to the British during World War II, when it was used as a hospital for injured soldiers. It was on the fourth floor of the building where the British governor Sir Shenton Thomas was told to surrender to the Japanese, and the building was used by Japan’s military occupation force.

When the colony was securing its independence, Singapore’s future first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew would hold rallies and give speeches just feet away from the building. However, when the building’s administrative significance began to dwindle, it was designated a historical landmark in 1997, and four years later, in 2001, it was rechristened the Fullerton Hotel. Today, it’s a leading force in Singapore’s hospitality sector.



Artificial Intelligence Impersonation

Update 3 Jun 2024: SM Lee warns that video of him promoting investment scam on social media is a deepfake
Senior Minister Lee Hsien Loong said there is a deepfake video of him circulating online that asks viewers to sign up for a scam investment product. PHOTO: LEE HSIEN LOONG/FACEBOOK

Singaporeans must stay vigilant to protect themselves and those around them from deepfake scams, said Senior Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is again depicted promoting investment products in one such scam. In a Facebook post on June 2, SM Lee said there is a deepfake video of him asking viewers to sign up for an investment product that claims to give guaranteed returns. He included in his post a screenshot of the video circulating online with the subtitle saying, “I am glad to present you a new investment”.

“The video is not real!” he wrote. Artificial intelligence and deepfake technology are becoming better by the day, added SM Lee. Not only did the scammers mimic his voice and layer the fake audio over actual footage of him delivering the 2023 National Day message, but they also synchronised his mouth movements with the audio, he said. “This is extremely worrying. People watching the video may be fooled into thinking that I really said those words,” he wrote. “Please remember, if something sounds too good to be true, do proceed with caution.”

He urged Singaporeans not to believe scam ads of him or any other Singapore public office holder promoting an investment product. Users can report them using the Government’s ScamShield Bot on WhatsApp at go.gov.sg/scamshield-bot. “We must stay vigilant in order to protect ourselves and the ones around us,” said SM Lee.

Scammers target PM Lee in fake online ads

Fake advertisements that name Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and use his image to promote crypto scams, among others, have been seen on the Internet recently, Mr Lee said on Facebook on Saturday night.

He said such advertisements, which tend to surface after a major speech or announcement with lots of media coverage, have re-emerged in the past few days.

“If the ad uses my image to sell you a product, or asks you to invest in some scheme, or even uses my voice to tell you to send money, it’s not me,” he added.

Deepfake video of DPM Lawrence Wong promoting investment scam circulating on social media
A deepfake video of Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong promoting an investment scam has been circulating on Facebook and Instagram.

In the video, his mouth is noticeably altered to synchronise with a fake voice-over promoting an investment scam. The voice-over mimics the pitch and intonation of his real voice. The Straits Times’ logo is used at the top right-hand corner of the video.

The video has modified footage of DPM Wong at a media doorstop interview recorded by ST. An SPH Media spokeswoman said the video in question was not created or published by the company or ST.


Imagine this: you’re leisurely scrolling through your usual YouTube shorts, and suddenly, an unexpected advertisement pops up.

Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong appears to be promoting a crypto-trading video on the Beijing-based news outlet China Global Television Network (CGTN). Yes, PM Lee seems to be discussing the benefits of a hands-free crypto trading platform, which boasts the ability to compute algorithms, analyse market trends, make strategic investment decisions, and execute trades—all autonomously, without any manual input from the user.

On 29 Dec, PM Lee shared a recent deepfake video that has been circulating online. Elaborating on the type of scam involved, PM Lee explained that scammers employ AI (artificial intelligence) technology to mimic our voices and images. They transform real footage of us, taken from official events, into very convincing but entirely bogus videos of us purportedly saying things we have never said. PM Lee urged people not to respond to such scam videos, which promise guaranteed returns on investments.


With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), it’s sometimes difficult to tell what is real anymore. A deepfake video of Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong promoting an investment scam has been circulating on Facebook and Instagram. The worst part is that it looks real.

Deepfakes are media that have been altered by AI to look or sound like someone. In the video, DPM Wong’s mouth is altered to synchronise with a fake voiceover that sounds like him. Yes, the voiceover mimics the pitch and intonation of DPM Wong’s actual voice. Don’t believe me? You can watch the deepfake video here

Notably, the video was made from modified footage of DPM Wong giving an interview recorded by The Straits Times. The deepfake video promotes an investment scam, even using terms reminiscent of a DPM speech, like “my dear Singaporeans”.

Scammers are using AI to impersonate your loved ones. Here's what to watch out for
The next time you get a call from a family member or friend in need, you might want to make sure it's not a robot first

Imagine getting a phone call that your loved one is in distress. In that moment, your instinct would most likely be to do anything to help them get out of danger's way, including wiring money. Scammers are aware of this Achilles' heel and are now using AI to exploit it. 

A report from The Washington Post featured an elderly couple, Ruth and Greg Card, who fell victim to an impersonation phone call scam. Ruth, 73, got a phone call from a person she thought was her grandson. He told her she was in jail, with no wallet or cell phone, and needed cash fast. Like any other concerned grandparent would, Ruth and her husband (75) rushed to the bank to get the money. It was only after going to the second bank that the bank manager warned them that they had seen a similar case before that ended up being a scam -- and this one was likely a scam, too.

This scam isn't an isolated incident. The report indicates that in 2022, impostor scams were the second most popular racket in America, with over 36,000 people falling victim to calls impersonating their friends and family. Of those scams, 5,100 of them happened over the phone, robbing over $11 million from people, according to FTC officials. Generative AI has been making quite a buzz lately because of the increasing popularity of generative AI programs, such as OpenAI's ChatGPT and DALL-E. These programs have been mostly associated with their advanced capabilities that can increase productivity amongst users. However, the same techniques that are used to train those helpful language models can be used to train more harmful programs, such as AI voice generators

Thousands scammed by AI voices mimicking loved ones in emergencies
In 2022, $11 million was stolen through thousands of impostor phone scams

AI models designed to closely simulate a person’s voice are making it easier for bad actors to mimic loved ones and scam vulnerable people out of thousands of dollars, The Washington Post reported.

Quickly evolving in sophistication, some AI voice-generating software requires just a few sentences of audio to convincingly produce speech that conveys the sound and emotional tone of a speaker’s voice, while other options need as little as three seconds. For those targeted—which is often the elderly, the Post reported—it can be increasingly difficult to detect when a voice is inauthentic, even when the emergency circumstances described by scammers seem implausible.

Tech advancements seemingly make it easier to prey on people’s worst fears and spook victims who told the Post they felt “visceral horror” hearing what sounded like direct pleas from friends or family members in dire need of help. One couple sent $15,000 through a bitcoin terminal to a scammer after believing they had spoken to their son. The AI-generated voice told them that he needed legal fees after being involved in a car accident that killed a US diplomat.

Scammers use deepfakes to create voice recordings and videos to trick victims’ family, friends

Scammers are tapping sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) tools to create deepfake voice recordings and videos of people, to fool their relatives and friends into transferring money.

Speaking at the Regional Anti-Scam Conference 2023 at the Police Cantonment Complex on Tuesday, Minister of State for Home Affairs Sun Xueling said scammers can also use deepfake technology to clone authority figures.

“We have already seen overseas examples of bad actors making use of deepfake technology to create convincing clones – whether voice or videos of public figures – to spread disinformation,” she said. “As such, we need to constantly monitor this threat, work with research institutes, relevant government agencies, market players who themselves are at the forefront of these technologies, to study ways to counter them.” Her comments come in the wake of a rise in AI-driven fraud, and amid reports of countries like China rolling out new rules to curb the use of generative AI to alter online content.

Broken English no longer a sign of scams as crooks tap AI bots like ChatGPT
Chatbots like ChatGPT have helped scammers craft messages in near-perfect language

Bad grammar has long been a telltale sign that a message or a job offer is likely to be a scam.

But cyber-security experts said those days may be over as generative artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots like ChatGPT have helped scammers craft messages in near-perfect language.

Cyber-security experts said they have observed improvements in the language used in phishing scams in recent months – coinciding with the rise of ChatGPT – and warned that end users will need to be even more vigilant for other signs of a scam.

New AI Tech Can Mimic Any Voice
Emerging technologies in speech generation raise ethics and security concerns

Even the most natural-sounding computerized voices—whether it’s Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa—still sound like, well, computers. Montreal-based start-up Lyrebird is looking to change that with an artificially intelligent system that learns to mimic a person’s voice by analyzing speech recordings and the corresponding text transcripts as well as identifying the relationships between them. Introduced last week, Lyrebird’s speech synthesis can generate thousands of sentences per second—significantly faster than existing methods—and mimic just about any voice, an advancement that raises ethical questions about how the technology might be used and misused.

The ability to generate natural-sounding speech has long been a core challenge for computer programs that transform text into spoken words. Artificial intelligence (AI) personal assistants such as Siri, Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and the Google Assistant all use text-to-speech software to create a more convenient interface with their users. Those systems work by cobbling together words and phrases from prerecorded files of one particular voice. Switching to a different voice—such as having Alexa sound like a man—requires a new audio file containing every possible word the device might need to communicate with users.

Lyrebird’s system can learn the pronunciations of characters, phonemes and words in any voice by listening to hours of spoken audio. From there it can extrapolate to generate completely new sentences and even add different intonations and emotions. Key to Lyrebird’s approach are artificial neural networks—which use algorithms designed to help them function like a human brain—that rely on deep-learning techniques to transform bits of sound into speech. A neural network takes in data and learns patterns by strengthening connections between layered neuronlike units.

Microsoft’s new AI can simulate anyone’s voice with 3 seconds of audio

On Thursday, Microsoft researchers announced a new text-to-speech AI model called VALL-E that can closely simulate a person's voice when given a three-second audio sample. Once it learns a specific voice, VALL-E can synthesize audio of that person saying anything—and do it in a way that attempts to preserve the speaker's emotional tone.

Its creators speculate that VALL-E could be used for high-quality text-to-speech applications, speech editing where a recording of a person could be edited and changed from a text transcript (making them say something they originally didn't), and audio content creation when combined with other generative AI models like GPT-3.

Microsoft calls VALL-E a "neural codec language model," and it builds off of a technology called EnCodec, which Meta announced in October 2022. Unlike other text-to-speech methods that typically synthesize speech by manipulating waveforms, VALL-E generates discrete audio codec codes from text and acoustic prompts. It basically analyzes how a person sounds, breaks that information into discrete components (called "tokens") thanks to EnCodec, and uses training data to match what it "knows" about how that voice would sound if it spoke other phrases outside of the three-second sample. Or, as Microsoft puts it in the VALL-E paper:

Artificial Intelligence Impersonating a Human: The Impact of Design Facilitator Identity on Human Designers

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) offer new opportunities for human–AI cooperation in engineering design. Human trust in AI is a crucial factor in ensuring an effective human–AI cooperation, and several approaches to enhance human trust in AI have been explored in prior studies.

However, it remains an open question in engineering design whether human designers have more trust in an AI and achieve better joint performance when they are deceived into thinking they are working with another human designer. This research assesses the impact of design facilitator identity (“human” versus AI) on human designers through a human subjects study, where participants work with the same AI design facilitator and they can adopt their AI facilitator’s design anytime during the study. Half of the participants are told that they work with an AI, and the other half of the participants are told that they work with another human participant but in fact they work with the AI design facilitator.

The results demonstrate that, for this study, human designers adopt their facilitator’s design less often on average when they are deceived about the identity of the AI design facilitator as another human designer. However, design facilitator identity does not have a significant impact on human designers’ average performance, perceived workload, and perceived competency and helpfulness of their design facilitator in the study. These results caution against deceiving human designers about the identity of an AI design facilitator in engineering design.

The Ick of AI That Impersonates Humans

PHILIP K. DICK was living a few miles north of San Francisco when he wrote Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which envisioned a world where artificially intelligent androids are indistinguishable from humans. The Turing Test has been passed, and it’s impossible to know who, or what, to trust.

A version of that world will soon be a reality in San Francisco. Google announced this week that Duplex, the company's phone-calling AI, will be rolled out to Pixel phones in the Bay Area and a few other US cities before the end of the year. You might remember Duplex from a shocking demonstration back in May, when Google showed how the software could call a hair salon and book an appointment. To the receptionist on the other end of the line, Duplex sounded like a bona fide person, complete with pauses and “ums” for more human-like authenticity.

Duplex is part of a growing trend to offload basic human interaction to robots. More and more text messages are being automated: ride-sharing apps text you when your car is there; food-delivery apps text you when your order has arrived; airlines text you about delays; political campaigns send you reminders to vote. Smartphones predict the words you might want to complete your own texts; recently, Google’s Gmail has attempted to automate your side of the conversation in emails as well, with smart responses and suggested autocomplete.

When you realize your favorite new song was written and performed by ... AI

Music fans responded with disbelief this week to the release on streaming and social media platforms of the viral song "Heart on My Sleeve."

The hosts of the popular music-related YouTube channel LawTWINZ were among the many who weighed in, discussing whether the track, which uses artificial intelligence to simulate the music of pop stars Drake and The Weeknd, even surpasses the real pop stars' talents. Advances in AI have gotten to the point where the technology can quickly create new songs like "Heart on My Sleeve" that sound like they're the work of real artists.

Recent examples, which include a faux song that sounds a lot like something the British alt-rock band Oasis would put out, hint at AI's bold, creative possibilities and its ethical and legal limitations. Now, artists, lawyers and other industry players are trying to figure out how the technology can be used responsibly.

We Spoke To The Guy Who Created The Viral AI Image Of The Pope That Fooled The World

Over the weekend, a photo of Pope Francis looking dapper in a white puffer jacket went mega-viral on social media. The 86-year-old sitting pontiff, it appeared, has some serious drip. But there was just one problem: The image is not real. It was made using the AI art tool Midjourney.

As word spread across the internet that the image was generated by AI, many expressed surprise. “I thought the pope’s puffer jacket was real and didnt give it a second thought,” Chrissy Teigen tweeted. “no way am I surviving the future of technology.” Garbage Day newsletter writer and former BuzzFeed News reporter Ryan Broderick called it “the first real mass-level AI misinformation case,” following hot on the heels of faked images of Donald Trump being arrested by police in New York last week.

Now, for the first time, the image’s creator has shared the story of how he generated the photograph that fooled the world. Pablo Xavier, a 31-year-old construction worker from the Chicago area who declined to share his last name over fears that he could be attacked for creating the images, said he was tripping on shrooms last week when he came up with the idea for the image.

AI-faked images of Donald Trump’s imagined arrest swirl on Twitter
 AI-generated photo faking Donald Trump's possible arrest, created by Eliot Higgins using Midjourney v5

As the world waits to see if former President Donald Trump will actually be indicted today over hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, AI-generated images began circulating on Twitter imagining what that arrest would look like. Showing Trump resisting arrest and being dragged off by police, the realistic but very fake photos have already been viewed by millions.

“Making pictures of Trump getting arrested while waiting for Trump's arrest,” tweeted Eliot Higgins, who is the founder and creative director of Bellingcat, an independent international collective of researchers, investigators, and citizen journalists. In a tweet, Higgins confirmed that he used the impressively realistic AI engine Midjourney v5 to generate the fake images.

Ars couldn’t immediately reach Higgins for comment on the images, some of which have been viewed 2.2 million times on Twitter as of this writing. Twitter guidelines say that users “may not deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm” and suggest that, at the very least, the images may soon be labeled to “help people understand their authenticity and to provide additional context.” Ars reached out to Twitter for comment on the images, but—as CEO Elon Musk tweeted the company would do days ago—Twitter only responded with a poop emoji.

AI-generated deepfakes are moving fast. Policymakers can't keep up
An image from a Republican National Committee ad against President Biden features imagery generated by artificial intelligence. The spread of AI-generated images, video and audio presents a challenge for policymakers

This week, the Republican National Committee used artificial intelligence to create a 30-second ad imagining what President Joe Biden's second term might look like. It depicts a string of fictional crises, from a Chinese invasion of Taiwan to the shutdown of the city of San Francisco, illustrated with fake images and news reports. A small disclaimer in the upper left says the video was "Built with AI imagery."

The ad was just the latest instance of AI blurring the line between real and make believe. In the past few weeks, fake images of former President Donald Trump scuffling with police went viral. So did an AI-generated picture of Pope Francis wearing a stylish puffy coat and a fake song using cloned voices of pop stars Drake and The Weeknd.

Artificial intelligence is quickly getting better at mimicking reality, raising big questions over how to regulate it. And as tech companies unleash the ability for anyone to create fake images, synthetic audio and video, and text that sounds convincingly human, even experts admit they're stumped.

Send in the clones: Using artificial intelligence to digitally replicate human voices
A model replica of Wolfgang von Kempelen's Speaking Machine

The science behind making machines talk just like humans is very complex, because our speech patterns are so nuanced. "The voice is not easy to grasp," says Klaus Scherer, emeritus professor of the psychology of emotion at the University of Geneva. "To analyze the voice really requires quite a lot of knowledge about acoustics, vocal mechanisms and physiological aspects. So it is necessarily interdisciplinary, and quite demanding in terms of what you need to master in order to do anything of consequence."

So it's not surprisingly taken well over 200 years for synthetic voices to get from the first speaking machine, invented by Wolfgang von Kempelen around 1800 – a boxlike contraption that used bellows, pipes and a rubber mouth and nose to simulate a few recognizably human utterances, like mama and papa – to a Samuel L. Jackson voice clone delivering the weather report on Alexa today.

Talking machines like Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa, or a bank's automated customer service line, are now sounding quite human. Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, or AI, we've reached a point where it's sometimes difficult to distinguish synthetic voices from real ones.

Deepfake Technology: What Are Deepfakes? How Do They Make Deepfakes?
Deepfake is a new media technology wherein a person simply takes existing text, picture, video, or audio and then manipulates, i.e., ‘fakes’ it to look like someone else using advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and neural network (NN) technology.

After its first appearance a few years back, deepfake technology has evolved from an innocuous tech geek’s chicanery to a malicious slandering weapon. In this article, we’ll see what exactly this dreaded deepfake tech is, how it works, what different forms it comes in, and how we can detect or bust a deepfake.

Deepfake is one of the buzzwords in media technology wherein a person simply takes existing text, picture, video, or audio and then manipulates, i.e., ‘fakes’ it to look like someone else using advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and neural network (NN) technology.


Owners of Miss Universe file for bankruptcy

Thai owner of Miss Universe goes bankrupt
Ms Jakrajutatip has been outspoken about her experiences as a transgender woman

The Thai owner of the Miss Universe pageant, which was once part of former US president Donald Trump's business empire, has filed for bankruptcy a year after buying it for $20m (£16.4m). JKN Global Group has said it would try to resolve a "liquidity problem".

Its chief executive, Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip, is a transgender woman who bought the firm as the pageant became more inclusive. But the firm has loaded up on debt which it is seeking to restructure. "The company can continue its operation while being under the rehabilitation plan," JKN said. Funding for the deal was raised through bonds but the firm missed a repayment deadline of around $12m which was due on 1 September. In the past year, JKN's share price has fallen by more than 80%.

The Thai Bankruptcy Court has set the hearing date for the petition for business rehabilitation on 29 January 2024, according to the firm. Under the ownership of JKN, the pageant has allowed mothers and married women to participate in the contest from this year. The revised format will also feature at least two trans women for the first time after Marina Machete became the first transgender woman to win Miss Portugal and Rikkie Valerie Kolle was crowned Miss Netherlands in July. The annual Miss Universe pageant, with a history spanning seven decades, is broadcast in more than 165 countries. The Miss Universe Organization was co-owned by Mr Trump from 1996 to 2015.

Miss Universe owner files for bankruptcy days before pageant
Jakapong Anne Jakrajutatip (third from left), CEO of Miss Universe's owner JKN Global Group, is pictured on stage during a pageant event in Bangkok, Thailand, in November 2022

The owner of Miss Universe, JKN Global Group, has confirmed that next week’s pageant will go ahead, despite the Thai firm filing for bankruptcy. The media distribution company, which bought the Miss Universe Organization for $20 million in 2022, announced on Thursday that it had submitted a petition for “business rehabilitation” that was accepted by Thailand’s bankruptcy court.

In a statement published on its website, JKN said providing a “top notch experience” to Miss Universe fans “will remain a top priority” ahead of next Saturday’s finale. The firm expressed confidence that its new financial arrangements will “support all of the company’s business operations, including Miss Universe.” Run by Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, a transgender rights advocate and the star of Thai versions of reality shows such as “Project Runway,” JKN said last year that it planned to grow the Miss Universe Organization by expanding in Asia and releasing branded merchandise.

Declaring bankruptcy does not necessarily mean a company is about to go out of business. Many major firms have used bankruptcy filings as a tool to shed debt and costs they can no longer afford. JKN, which had raised money through bonds to buy Miss Universe, missed a loan repayment deadline of around $12 million that was due September 1. In its filing, the company said it planned to restructure its debt and extend the repayment period to overcome what it called a “liquidity problem.” In a press conference at the time, Jakkaphong said market conditions, including high inflation, made it difficult for the firm to roll over its debt. Jakkaphong, who has been outspoken about her experiences as a trans woman, took over Miss Universe — one of the world’s most-watched beauty pageants — as it reckoned with growing calls for greater diversity and inclusivity.

Bankruptcy for owner Miss Universe: Danger for the global pageant?
Celebration of the new Miss Universe in the weekend of November 18, 2023

Sheynnis Palacios, Miss Nicaragua, became the new Miss Universe after the American beauty queen  R'Bonney Gabriel wore the crown in the year following the 2022 pageant. The new Miss Universe, 23-year-old Palacios, was the first Nicaraguan woman to ever win the title.

Days before Miss Universe began, the Thai company that owns this beauty pageant, JKN Global Group, had declared bankruptcy. The news threw a shadow over the event. The multinational media distribution conglomerate that purchased the Miss Universe organization for $20 million in 2022, announced that it had filed a "corporate rehabilitation" petition. The appeal had been accepted by Thailand's bankruptcy court. Despite this difficult financial situation, JKN Global Group continued to carry out the 2023 contest in El Salvador. In a statement published on its website, JKN stated that it would continue to be its top priority to offer a "first-class experience" to Miss Universe fans.

JKN Global Group says it is also confident that its new financial arrangements will support all of the company's business operations, including the organization of Miss Universe. Declaring bankruptcy does not necessarily mean that a company is already completely underwater. Instead, declaring bankruptcy is a tool many large companies use as a way to get rid of debts and costs that they cannot absorb. JKN Global Group had raised money through bonds to buy Miss Universe. Then, in September 2023, it missed the deadline to repay a loan of about $12 million. In its statement, the company said it planned to restructure its debt and extend the repayment period to overcome what it called a "liquidity problem," CNN reported.

Owners of Miss Universe file for bankruptcy following diversity drive that allowed trans women to compete

The Thai owner of the Miss Universe pageant has filed for bankruptcy a year after buying the pageant and pushing to make it more inclusive.

Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip is the chief executive of JKN Global Group, the owners of the Miss Universe brand.

The paegent has been moving towards inclusivity, as it also opened the contest to mothers and married women.

The Central Bankruptcy Court’s Order to accept the Petition for Business Rehabilitationof JKN Global Group Public Company Limited

According to the filing of petition for business rehabilitation proceeding of JKN Global Group Public
Company Limited (the “Company”) with the Thai Bankruptcy Court under the Bankruptcy Act, B.E. 2483 (1940) (as amended) on November 8, 2023, the Company would like to inform that, on 9 November 2023, the Thai Bankruptcy Court issued an order to accept the petition for business rehabilitation of the Company.

In this regard, the Thai Bankruptcy Court has set the hearing date for the petition for business rehabilitation on 29 January 2024.

Miss Universe 2023

In what’s beginning to feel like a foregone conclusion at this point, the winner of the 2023 Miss Universe competition (for the 72nd year in a row!) hailed from a little-known place called — wait for it — Earth. As Alyssa Edwards would say, “rigga morris!” Broadcast live on Telemundo and the Roku Channel, Saturday’s ceremony welcomed 84 contestants, including the first-ever entry from Pakistan, to San Salvador’s José Adolfo Pineda Arena, where reigning Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel was waiting to crown her successor.

Following the swimsuit portion of the competition, a top 10 was revealed: Moraya Wilson (Australia), Camila Avella (Colombia), Isabella García-Manzo (El Salvador), Sheynnis Palacios (Nicaragua), Camila Escribens (Peru), Michelle Dee (Philippines), Karla Guilfú (Puerto Rico), Athenea Pérez (Spain), Anntonia Porsild (Thailand) and Diana Silva (Venezuela).

After a round of randomized questions from this year’s selection committee, a last look and another final question, the long-awaited results were announced. Drumroll please…
  • THIRD PLACE | Moraya Wilson (Australia)
  • SECOND PLACE | Anntonia Porsild (Thailand)
  • WINNER | Sheynnis Palacios (Nicaragua)


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