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Volume 429

What would you rather: a Brobdingnagian baked bean or a ticket to a fraudulent festival? Yes, you have to pick one. We’re also bringing you a boozy bionic renaissance woman, landfill billboards, and a real-life Truman Show. Plus the latest episode of the podcast, which will either make you feel very hungry or very sick.

Fyre Starter.

This can only end well. Remember Fyre Festival? Allow us to refresh your memory. It was a fraudulent festival that went so badly wrong that the bloke behind it ended up in jail. Well, he’s out now. And he’s getting the old band back together (sans Ja Rule). In what can only be described as a threat, Billy MacFarlane tweeted this week that Fyre Festival 2 is “finally happening” and asked his followers why they should be invited. The adage ‘fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me’ springs to mind. Actually, so does, ‘The camel driver has his plans, the camel has his’, but I’m not sure why. And perhaps I’m completely out of my stone, but I can absolutely see a market for this. Fyre Festival is so notorious that the agents of chaos amongst a meme-hungry Gen Z market with more money than sense will be led by their ghoulish desire to see a disaster first-hand and to be there to make a TikTok while bodies are dropping to the floor from dehydration. And everyone loves a comeback story, so if he does somehow pull it off, Billy MacFarlane will represent the American Dream incarnate. Just keep grifting until eventually you become president. It’s a well-trodden path.

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Master Bean.

We could semi-legitimately be accused of devoting too much of coolsh*t to AI-based innovation. In our defence, they keep making more new shit and it’s quite hard to ignore. Just this week alone we had to cut a story on how Google are using AI to create an artificial society which has been likened to an early version of ‘Westworld’. Any other time in human history and that’s a 7-part film franchise with a spin-off prequel TV series. But taking a bit of a break from the technological doomsday menu, we thought we would offer you a palate cleanser. So here’s a great big bloody baked bean. Open wide. Wider. London advertising creatives (oh God, we did this) Tom Snell and Dylan Hartigan went viral this week for making the world’s biggest baked bean. And to give you a sense of just how far and wide the tale of this giant bean has travelled, I’m currently reading this article about it in The New York Post. Forget James Corden, this is the British culture that needs to be exported around the world. And it’s a nice bit of free advertising for Heinz to boot, as Hartigan cut a solid promo for them, saying that the world’s biggest bean could only ever be Heinz. My tinfoil hat senses are tingling…

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Gin and Bionic.

This story involves one of the OGs of the super intelligent robot world – so show some gosh-darned respect. Ai-Da previously appeared in coolsh*t as the world’s first robot artist a couple years ago when we were locked inside making banana bread and ‘DALL-E’ was still just a spelling mistake. Being the renaissance woman that she is, Ai-Da then made another appearance a year later to perform some lovely poetry she had written based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. And now completing her hat-trick, she’s just announced an upcoming collaboration with Baz Luhrmann and Bombay Sapphire to create the world’s largest collection of collaborative AI art. Having received submissions from the good people of Instagram over the last year, Ai-Da has now remixed these submissions into new artworks that will be displayed at the Design Museum next weekend on World Creativity Day (21 April). No, I also didn’t know that was a day. Although there’s also apparently a ‘Race Your Mouse Day’ on August 28th, so I’m not sure the national day-deciding committee’s guidelines are terribly stringent.

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Waste Not, Want Not.

People these days really, really, really don’t like waste. And we’ve been reliably informed the last few years that the fast fashion industry is really, really, really wasteful. You can see how there was always going to be a tension there. But Zalando have been taking steps to admit their share of the responsibility when it comes to textile waste. Europe produces more than two-million tonnes of textile waste each year, so in a bid to push its new pre-owned service, Zalando enlisted art students to create huge billboards out of worn clothes. And as impressive as the results are, what’s even more impressive is the fact that each item of clothing remained undamaged and was able to be sold after the experimental out-of-home project had run its course. Does look like a bit of a faff, though. Should have just done a Boohoo and doubled down with bigger logos and increasingly ethically-questionable brand partners. Way easier. BoohooMan x Andrew Tate coming soon.

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Small World.

If you think this story looks familiar, that’s because it’s the one I mentioned earlier that we had been forced to omit. And yet here it is. Why? Because as I was writing that sentence about Google creating a self-sustaining digital world, I realised it probably is worth talking about. And I don’t get paid for re-writes, so the previous sentence stays. Researchers at Google and Stanford used ChatGPT to generate human-like characters who live and interact in a contained, video game-like world called Smallville. These characters, or generative agents, are able to retrieve information from their ‘memory’, perceive and interpret their environments, and act according to the preferences that they have developed for themselves over time. Sounds pretty bloody familiar, don’t it? Sam, a character in Smallville, for example, decided to run for mayor of the town after developing a passion for local politics as a child. Even the simulation has dorks. Wonder how long it’ll take them to start pointing nukes at each other.

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Slaves to the Algorithm: Social Media and the Decay of the Developing Mind.

There’s only 1 week to go until our Slaves to the Algorithm launch event, so this is your final call to reserve your seat. Remaining places are very limited, so RSVP now to make sure you don’t miss out.

Algorithmically-enforced social media dependence and the accompanying lack of social, emotional and mental development of young minds is one of the most pressing challenges facing this and future generations… If nothing changes. So now we all need to take responsibility for shaping that future.

Join us at 6pm Wednesday April 19th at Soho Works White City as we discuss our role as an industry and as individuals.

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The Coolsh*t Podcast - Ep. 47.

The sequel to Godzilla Vs. King Kong… 15,000 egg omelette vs a rather large baked bean.

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