Facepalm newsoids XIII


Computers with a bit of damned cheek. ChatGPT-4 was administered a final exam in Quantum Information Science (a senior undergrad course for honors students), for which University of Texas at Austin professor Scott Aaronson gave it to his TA, who assessed it and gave it a B (actually a C+, since it scored 69/100 for a class average of 74.4). ChatGPT then responded by writing an email complaining to dean Eric Meyer, asking him for a better grade. In its five paragraphs, ChatGPT highlighted its “strong grasp of the material” and its ability to “ask insightful questions” during lessons. The dean has since sent back the test to Aaronson for reconsideration. (13 April)

Taking one for the team. In Texas, a woman only known by her first name, Miranda, was asked by DoorDash to complete her husband’s food delivery after he got into a car accident and ended up in the Emergency ward of a local hospital during that delivery run. (15 April)

White House breach. On the side of the White House facing Lafayette Square, where the security fences are 13 feet high, someone had broken through the barricade. It was a toddler, not more than three years old. He was snatched up by the secret service and quickly reunited with his parents. (18 April)

The findings of the scientific community. Recent scientific findings show that showing pornography to their human test subjects made the idea of sex with a robot to be more appealing than usual.  Researchers at Concordia University in Montreal studied 321 university students by showing them a sexually explicit video, then got them to complete a two-part online survey which they claim measured their subjects’ “ability to have sex, love, and engage in an intimate relationship with a robot versus a human. While both men and women scored high on this survey, men scored higher, showing a greater willingness to have sex with a robot. But I just want to know: how is that cure for cancer coming along? (JSR, Nov 2022)

The Police Blotter. This was a week of shootings of children and teens in America: A black teen who had come to the house of an elderly Fox News fanatic by mistake was shot; a Texan shot two cheerleaders who opened his car door thinking it was their own; a North Carolina resident shot a six year-old and her parents because a basketball rolled on to his yard; and an upstate New Yorker shot a woman because she accidentally backed into his driveway.

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Facepalm News-oids VII

Oh, me!

45 Days, 67 Gun Fatalities. The mass shooting by a 43 year-old gunman on the campus of Michigan State University on 13 February is, 45 days into 2023, the 67th mass shooting in the United States, with 105 dead in the either through accidents, murder, or mass shooting sprees (13 Feb). Two days later, on 15 February, legislators in West Virginia passed a bill to allow concealed carry of firearms on university campuses despite overwhelming opposition from students.

Community for you but not for me. One day after that, on 16 February, administrators at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University had to apologize for sending an  email emphasizing the importance of community to their students and families in the aftermath of the Michigan mass shooting, written in ChatGPT. Wrote Laith Kayat in their student newspaper: “There is a sick and twisted irony to making a computer write your message about community and togetherness because you can’t be bothered to reflect on it yourself.”

Super pigs! In the prarie provinces and the northern midwest US states, populations of wild “super” pigs, a cross between domestic pigs and wild boars, have exploded over the past 8 years. Super pigs are highly intelligent, highly elusive, can weigh as much as 500 pounds, and can survive prairie winters which can get as cold as -30 (-50 with wind chill) by burying themselves in the snow — even creating a den out of cattail grass to insulate themselves in their snowy burrow. They can hide in bushes, forests and wetlands and be extremely hard to find for hunters wishing to control their populations. They cause damage to  property and can kill larger wildlife and livestock. Super pigs have by now become “too established”, according to wildlife biologists, to control by hunting. (Feb 20)

Warning: Mature subject matter; Violence involving death; panders to the worst stereotypes

Asian fail. This one from the South China Morning Post, via MSN: “I did the worst thing out of the best motivation,” said Yang Juming to police. He was in his home in Southwest China, and after an online meeting with a teacher, stabbed his 13 year-old son with a Samurai sword in an attempt to get him to study harder. The child died of his wounds on the way to hospital. (Feb 14


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