AI In the News. Pak ‘n Save is a discount food chain headquartered in Wellington, New Zealand, which has now implemented an AI chatbot, called the “Savey meal bot”, which can purportedly produce recipes. But because the bot can’t tell the difference between what is and isn’t food, it was putting together recipes that were as hilarious as they were dangerous. For example, one person who tried to get it to mix water, bleach and ammonia (the ingredients for producing chlorine gas, a poison), obtained what the Savey bot offered as an “aromatic water mix”. Other fine recipes Savey invented using user input was “bleach-infused rice surprise”, “mysterious meat stew” (containing human flesh), “ant jelly delight”, made with ant poison, and “methanol bliss”, a french toast concoction that tastes like turpentine. (11 August)
Our trauma-inducing culture. Trustee Melissa Dungan of the Conroe Independent School District in Conroe, Texas showed up at a trustee meeting claiming that a poster showing a black and white child holding hands was a “political display” of the teacher’s “personal ideologies” not relevant to the school curriculum, and that it should be removed. The trustee claimed to have received complaints from a parent that their child was so traumatized by the poster, that he had to switch classrooms. The trustee didn’t seem to know that there were already rules in place to prohibit political posters, and also appeared flummoxed when asked if various Bible verses were also in violation of policy. “I don’t know”, Dungan replied. (10 August)
Innocent while black. Because of a glitch in facial recognition technology, Detroit police knocked on the door and arrested 32 year-old Porcha Woodruff, a woman eight months pregnant, for carjacking, on February 16. Since her arrest, she had been released on $100K bond, and then had the case dismissed by a judge. On August 7, she sued the City of Detroit police services for making a false arrest. There have been six false identificatiions of people based on facial recognition in Detroit, and all of them were of black people.
The Bank is now your landlord. According to the Toronto Star, amortization periods for some mortgages have gone to infinity as the negotiated monthly mortgage payments are no longer enough to cover the increased debt from rising interest rates over time. This means that homeowners, who have made down-payments to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a city where property values average over a million dollars, are essentially paying rent, to a bank or a loan company to cover a debt that will go on in perpetuity. Other mortgages have amortization periods of 75 to 90 years, causing owners to have to pass their debt-ridden homes to their offspring, leaving their children with unsupportable debt to begin their adult lives (12 August).
Wait, what? American evangelicals are now rejecting the teachings of Jesus, such as “love thy neighbour”, or “turn the other cheek”, as “liberal talking points”. Russel Moore, the former head of the Southern Baptist Convention spoke of how Christianity is in a crisis due to the state of right-wing politics in United States, who now appear to be actually rejecting the teachings of Jesus. Moore called on his evangelical brethren to not go along with the current “church culture” of their ministers. (9 August)
So redneck it hurts. In Sevierville, Tennessee, a suspect named Shawn White, has been taken into custody for stealing a garbage truck which crashed into a store called Tennessee Hot Tubs, located on the Dolly Parton Parkway. White is also a suspect in a stabbing. (7 August)
Which one is the brake? A newly-hired driving instructor in Lakewood, Colorado, working for the “Community Driving School” drove through the window of the driving school, resulting in one minor injury. Police photos show the car, a Hyundai Tucson, embedded in the building underneath a large sign which says “Learn to Drive”. The driver, who was still undergoing instructor training and had not yet taught students, was un-named. (8 August)