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Volume 397

Kick off the long weekend with some coolsh*t. This week we’re discussing two of the most critical uses of modern technology: AI rappers and LinkedInfluencers. But Janet Jackson is fighting back against the robots, one laptop at a time…

Rise and Grind.

There are few things more detestable than someone who takes LinkedIn just that little bit too seriously. Hustle culture, while ostensibly probably not the worst thing in the world, is particularly sickening if it doesn’t align with one’s own sensibilities. What I mean by that: if you don’t start each day by screaming into a freezing cold shower, if you don’t have a vision board or a 5-year plan, and if you don’t feel the need to subtly but constantly bang on about what a wizard person you are, LinkedIn can feel like a rather foreign environment. As if there weren’t enough of those cretinous LinkedInfluencers in the world, we now have access to an endless supply of them thanks to the LinkedIn Post Generator. You simply put in a scenario and a message, and the generator uses AI to spit out something equal parts insightful, intriguing and, dare we say, inspirational.

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The Jackson 5,4,3,2,1...

Janet Jackson has an incredibly powerful voice. However, her powers may extend beyond just her vocal chords and into the mystic world, as her music possesses the ability to crash computers. Microsoft had to warn users this week that the “Rhythm Nation” video may just so happen to cause their machine to spontaneously malfunction. Even stranger though, it doesn’t even have to be the machine itself playing the song – it can just be one within hearing distance. That means that you could settle a score with someone by invading their home, blasting a bit of JJ and fucking up their electronics. This may well be the most destructive, despicable thing any member of that family has ever done.

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No Whining.

For whatever reason, Arsenal are just a very stylish football club. Regardless of whoever happens to be their kit supplier at any given time, they generally always find a way to release gear and accompanying content that sits head and shoulders above the rest of the league. But their current relationship with Adidas is just too perfect. They understand each other, like Ant & Dec – and much like Ant, Arsenal have started to get their act together of late after a rough patch and are currently sitting pretty at the top of the league. The current trend that sees teams bringing out a million and one different kits, training kits, warm up kits, tracksuits etc. per season can feel a little mercenary, but Arsenal and Adi get away with it because their designs are just that good. They previously released a warm-up kit designed as a Victoria line seat, and now they’ve dropped this little number just in time for Carni. Careful though, Maggy does not come out easily in the wash.

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I... Robot?

A robot that has learned to imagine and understand itself. Joy! Whatever could go wrong here? Yep, the time has come. Columbia Engineering researchers have created a first-of-its-kind robot that can learn a model of its complete body from scratch without the assistance of humans. It can plan motion, attain goals, avoid obstacles and even compensate for body damage automatically. It’s giving ‘Omnidroids’ from The Incredibles (if you don’t get that reference, Google it). This breakthrough is thought to pave the way to future self-sufficient and self-aware machines. I’ve watched enough movies to tell you this is a bad idea, but researchers have reassured us “we are going slowly and carefully, so we can reap the benefits while minimizing the risks”.

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Want Fries With That?

So, for $25 you can order a mystery Fenty box. But here’s the catch: when it arrives, it contains packets labelled “ketchup or makeup” consisting of, you guessed it, ketchup or makeup. You might be blessed with a Fenty lip gloss in a deep red with subtle sparkles, or you’ll be smearing ketchup all over your lips. There’s also no guarantee the box won’t be all ketchup or all makeup. This stunt is courtesy of art collective, MSCHF, known for their satire of global consumerism with celebrity partners in the past. If you don’t know them by name, you’ve almost certainly seen their work. Is this collab up there with their previous drops like The Museum of Forgeries or Lil Nas X’s Satan shoes? Meh. But is it a fun, TikTokkable novelty that’s got people talking? Most definitely.

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That's a Rap.

It’s not just humans that can get cancelled. You may or may not have heard about Capitol Records signing FN Meka, the world’s first A.I. powered robot rapper and TikTok influencer (currently at 10M followers). Well, as of this week, he has been dropped. Capitol records has severed ties with the AI rapper and has apologised to the black Community for perpetuating harmful stereotypes, replicating appropriative mannerisms, and pre-programming the AI rapper to use racial slurs in his music. What was meant to be “an intersection of music, technology and gaming culture” has fallen flat on its face with its poor execution. His swift 10 days of fame ended as quickly as it began…guess this robot didn’t pass the Captcha.

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