Skip to content

Volume 387

The most coolsh*t coolsh*t of all time. We’ve got sentient AI, a fleshy robot surprise, and some worms that are going to solve the climate crisis. Plus the return of the podcast for a scary tech special.


I feel like we’ve been building to this for a while. After about 2 years of consistent doomsday scaremongering over the possibility of robots gaining sentience and rising up to extirpate humanity, that day may have finally arrived. See, I’m not crazy! Either that, or there’s just one crackpot Google AI engineer who I’ll have to start inviting to our Wednesday meetings. They’re BYOC, btw (bring your own conspiracy). Blake Lemoine was working on Google’s Lamda AI system when it occurred to him mid-conversation that he may actually be speaking to a person. What stood out to Blake in particular was Lamda’s self-awareness and ability to express feelings and desires – the most alarming of which was the very clear wish to not be turned off, which Lamda said would be exactly like death. As sci-fi as the conversation is, it certainly does not prove sentience. But the fact that the program is acting in a manner mimicking sentience by talking of concepts such as happiness and fear is in itself pretty mental. Google have responded by saying, “No, you idiots, of course it’s not sentient” and instructing Mr. Lemoine to sling his hook. (Paraphrased).

Read Original Story

It’s Morbin’ Time. (but really this time...)

The whole Morbius debacle has been pretty fascinating to watch. Plus, naturally, a little bit funny. Typically, just being amongst the company of the likes of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America is enough to ensure box office success – but this particular Marvel venture fared a little differently. However, after the initial flop, Sony decided to re-release the film in theatres after seeing how much attention it was getting online. But if they had dug just a trifle deeper, they would have discovered that 99% of that attention was coming from people taking the piss, with Morbius memes having been doing the rounds for a good few weeks now. The second release was an even greater failure, generating what worked out to be just over $70 per theatre that it was shown in. Ouch. Now, there’s a petition that has been gaining a lot of attention online to release it for a third time, as people are promising that they just happened to all be busy both previous times and will actually go see it now. If these pisstaking Gen Z can pull off a third release, I will eat my hat. Is this sadistic? Maybe. Funny though.

Read Original Story


Don’t get me wrong, Zinedine Zidane definitely deserves a statue or two – but I’m not sure he deserves one for this particular moment in his career. The 2006 World Cup Final will forever live on in infamy as that final where Zidane lost his head, only to then find it being buried into Marco Materazzi’s solar plexus. Apparently the Italian said some unkind things about Zidane’s supposedly libidinous mother that Zizu took issue with, so he gave him a Glasgow kiss. The “Coup de Tête” sculpture was unveiled in 2013 but was swiftly taken down a couple weeks later after receiving backlash from the public and being criticised for promoting violence. Bloody snowflakes. However, it has just been announced that the statue will be back on display in Qatar for the World Cup later this year. I’m sure that’ll make a fine distraction from the mound of corpses atop which the shiny new stadiums are built. Great choice of host, FIFA. It’s almost like they’re corrupt or something.

Read Original Story

Velo, Velo, Velo.

There isn’t a clear formula for what qualifies as coolsh*t. It usually come down to some sort of ineffable quality that, for one reason or another, brings your mindless scrolling to a screeching halt. Sometimes it may be art, maybe music, maybe science – but sometimes it’s some pissed up blokes on bicycles. A group of British lads went to Amsterdam for a stag do – for the museums and tulips, presumably – but were left stranded when EasyJet cancelled their return flight. With car rental and Eurostar also looking like equally impossible options, they decided to get the train to Calais and then ferry their way back to Dover. But another problem arose: when they rang up the ferry company they were informed that there would be no tickets for foot passengers – but people on bikes would be permitted. I think you see where this is going now. So, naturally, they bought some bikes and cycled 230 miles from Amsterdam to Calais. Quitters never win. Overall, considering how disastrous travel plans gone awry can turn out to be, this actually worked out alright. They could have been forced to go to Leyton instead of Valencia to negotiate a lost passport back from an Uber driver. Just a hypothetical example…

Read Original Story

Worms to the Rescue.

Robots and plastic. All we need now is for Elon Musk and some aliens (of which he may well be one) to somehow squeeze their heads in and we will have completed coolsh*t bingo. In case anyone is new here, allow me to reiterate something we feel very strongly about: plastic is a very good invention. Now now, I’m aware that isn’t a terribly in-vogue opinion in the current climate, but allow me to explain myself before you spit out your iced oat milk chai latte. Nobody can question plastic’s utility; the problem is that it is so useful that we’ve become too dependent on it, with all roads seemingly leading to landfills. However, science has a solution. Worms. Sweet white worms. A group of researchers have just discovered that ‘Superworms’ (or beetle larvae, for the unimaginative) can eat, and indeed thrive on, plastic. Put these little bastards to work and save the turtles. And get me back my plastic straw.

Read Original Story

Skinned (Not) Alive.

If it were left entirely up to me, this entire newsletter could just be called, “Look at how f*cked we are” and talk exclusively about weird technology. Granted, it would probably have fewer readers. However, given the context of the first story this week, it feels apposite to include this one too. If AI is coming to life, then we will soon have a shiny, new, flesh-like body for it to strut around in. A team of researchers at the University of Tokyo have just published their findings and progress on creating a 3D living skin made from human cells to make robots “look and feel more human”. It’s also self-healing, which at first struck me as remarkable, but then I realised that I’m a moron and human skin does that too. They believe that by replicating the appearances and functions of human beings, humanoids have the potential to establish more harmonic and natural human-robot interactions. Does nobody watch sci-fi? We really are just tempting fate at this point.

Read Original Story