Press J to jump to the feed. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts

[D] Lawsuit alleges fabricated results at Pinscreen led by Hao Li

The filing can be found here.
These are very serious allegations: generated models results were blatantly fabricated for academic papers as well as public demonstrations. In addition, there's some pretty awful allegations of worker abuse, including an attack on the plaintiff when they attempted to confront Li about the academic misconduct.
97% Upvoted
This thread is archived
New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast
level 1
page 21, top screenshot:
anyways ... it's important that we know exactly who is using the webcam to generate the avatar
since we are just using pre-cached avatars
it's called SIGGRAPH "Real Time Live" not "Pre-Cached Live" ... this is bad
level 2
11 points · 8 months ago
I’m not familiar with their process but are we talking blatant fabrication here, or just “regress to a pre trained latent vector distribution” type stuff?
level 3
When I read it, it looked like the demo was supposed to do rendering on the spot fromnscratch. Sadegi himself tried it and observed it took a long time, and had issues (screenshot of his message is there). That's why they had faked it.
I didn't spend time to find the conference page (or the videos?) for it, that would be helpful.
level 4
5 points · 8 months ago · edited 8 months ago
I believe their presentation at SIGGRAPH 2017 RTL is here
level 3
Blatant Data Fabrication which is so shocking it is hard to believe. See for example:
151. On May 22, 2017, one day before the submission deadline, Li ordered the team, on “PinscreenTeamAll” Skype thread, including Saito, Nagano, Wei, Yen-Chun Chen, Hu, Fursund, Sun, Kung, Seo, Yu, Xiang, Stephen Chen, Zhou, and Sadeghi to fabricate the Hair Polystrip Patch Optimization process stating “we spent 1 day on it,” that is a lot, and that “if in an hour it’s not working, let’s do it manually and give up on it. I don’t think we can make it automatic.” (Exhibit E8)
level 2
The amended complaint shows that this sentence was said by Jens Fursund, the CTO of Pinscreen:

196. [July 24, 2017] Fursund: “Anyway… It’s important that we know exactly who is using the webcam to generate the avatar”
197. [July 24, 2017] Fursund: “Since we’re just using pre-cached avatars”
level 1
anyone want to wager on whether this leads to other whistleblowers coming out about other ML & AI startups that are still faking it?
Is this just an isolated personality, or a symptom of competitive market?
level 2
Probably the tip of the iceberg. Lots of "AI" companies are just mechanical Turks under the guise that they're gathering training data.
level 3
I actually don't think there's anything wrong with it as long as (1) they're honest that humans are doing some of the stuff behind the scenes, (2) they're not misleading scientific conferences.
level 4
There is a saying in SV: fake it till you make it.
The problem is that if they would acknowledge that it's not gonna work, they wouldn't get more investments. At some point you're incentivized to keep the con going.
level 5
The Silicon Valley TV show addressed this:
level 5
But I think that there needs to be a line between creating the perception that you're really far along and outright fraud. For example if they presented demos and admitted (but perhaps in a way to not draw attention to it) that certain pieces are touched up by a human, they might still be able to build enthusiasm for their product, they could get around that issue without actually committing fraud.
This should also be a wakeup call to computer vision community to be better at preventing fraudulent demos.
level 3
Well what is worse about this case is that Li, Pinscreen's CEO, who is leading the data fabrication is an assistant professor and has many SIGGRAPH publications which means they are all contaminated with fabrication.
level 2
I guess it's important to be more skeptical of academic claims, especially if there's a startup involved. Even if they come from someone at a respected institution.
level 1
Oh my god :( Sad sad behavior. Plus, I always suspected some people make academic literature forcibly is an example: Page 83 of the document, by Li "We need to make sure that people cannot easily implement it" "maybe we add a lot of things about the hair cutting etc." So much for reproducibility :(
level 2
They really don't, though, in general. One man's clear explanation is another man's "WTF is this shit?" Explaining things clearly is a skill, and not a skill that is widely distributed.
Also, people write for their peers, since that is going to be most of the audience for their paper.
level 3
This is true to some degree; technical writing is a skill that is usually not picked up naturally, and taught in a class thats ignored by most CS students (if taught at all) IME. It is, in my opinion, very hard. But as the person youre responding to quoted, what you are describing is not the case:
here is an example: Page 83 of the document, by Li "We need to make sure that people cannot easily implement it" "maybe we add a lot of things about the hair cutting etc."
level 4
Li is allegedly a crook, but the comment was speculating that this is the reason why technical papers are hard in general.
level 1
Now that reads extremely bad. If anything this kind of "fake it till you hopefully make it" is really a big issue for research in such a competitive corporate setting.
level 1
I was going to highlight stuff like
[April 18, 2017] Li: “We need to make sure that people cannot easily implement it”
[June 21, 2017] Li: “What I mean is that it’s not easy to tell how to tweak data to get the results we want”
but then I found this, which is even worse IMHO
[February 4, 2017] Li: “One of our tasks is to map segmented hair images to 3D hairstyles
[February 4, 2017] Li: “Here is a paper that is kinda related”
[February 4, 2017] Li: “But not exactly what we want”
[February 4, 2017] Li: “Don’t share it”
[February 4, 2017] […]
[February 4, 2017] Li: [c118-f118_2-a523-paper-v1.pdf]
[March 3, 2017] Li: “Don’t share this paper”
[March 3, 2017] Li: “It’s under review”
This is ... bad ... so weird because this guy seemed like a respectable academic.
level 2
8 points · 8 months ago · edited 8 months ago
Isn't it normal to ask that a prepublication draft not be leaked until it has been accepted?
EDIT: Ooops. I misunderstood the messages exchanged. Thanks to /u/netw0rkf10w for setting me straight.
level 3
You don’t get it.
« Li’s academic misconduct included sharing confidential under-review scientific paper submissions from competitor research groups within Pinscreen and suggesting to look for “details that can be used.” »
He was either a reviewer or an area chair and was sharing a paper under submission from another group/competitor with his team (and asked them to not share it).
level 4
You are absolutely correct. I misread the message exchange and thought it was his own paper.
I should have read through to page 18.
level 3
I guess it depends whether it was his or not?
Top Posts From The r/MachineLearning Community
Continue browsing in r/MachineLearning
Community Details
r/MachineLearning Rules
Be nice: no offensive behavior, insults or attacks
Make your post clear and comprehensive
Posts without appropriate tag will be removed
Beginner or career related questions go elsewhere
Self Posts Only*
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services or clicking I agree, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.