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Volume 430

Can we tempt you with a nice slice of cheddar and a libido booster? This week’s coolsh*t is bringing you a lascivious link-up, fake Drake, and some phoney photography. Plus the latest episode of the podcast, featuring some big meal deal drama.

Spitting Crossbars.

I didn’t appreciate just quite how pervasive the cultural impact of The Masked Singer was until this very moment. This week, a mystery Premier League footballer operating under the pseudonym ‘Dide’ has gone viral after dropping a track entitled ‘Thrill’. In case any footballers are reading this, ‘pseudonym’ means fake name. Yes, exactly like George Eliot – well done, you! And in fairness, the song isn’t bad – if that’s your type of thing. But what’s attracting attention isn’t the music but the mystery, as there is now a debate rumbling away on social media trying to establish the true identity of the masked man. Wilfred Zaha, Noni Madueke, and Reiss Nelson are all being rumoured, but Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah seems to have emerged as the front runner. My money’s on Harry Kane. At least we know it can’t possibly be John Terry – he doesn’t mess around with singles.

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“It’s just a prank, bro” was the battle cry of many an early-2010s YouTuber lacking any trace of imagination or originality – like creators who brought you classics such as ‘Punch Prank in the Hood (GONE WRONG)’, in which our pranksters discovered that it offers scant consolation to inform someone who you have just molly-whopped in the chops that you only did so for the sake of a video. But the spirit of such tomfoolery can equally be applied to the Sony World Photography Awards, as one of the winners revealed this week that their submission was AI-generated. Gotcha! Boris Eldagsen is a German artist who is now refusing the award after coming clean and admitting to being a “cheeky monkey” (his words, not ours). The purpose of the stunt was to provoke debate regarding the role of AI in art and photography. Surprisingly, his main point is that “AI isn’t a threat” and can actually be a tool for liberating artists. Yeah, alright – try telling that to all the photographers who just saw their life’s works go up in flames thanks to some computer program…

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The Perfect Pear.

According to some statistics that probably exist, young people today are drinking less, doing fewer drugs and having less sex. You could make a case that those first two aren’t terribly negative, but a declining birth rate isn’t good (according to some other statistics, which also probably exist). And with a growing dating app fatigue amongst young audiences, the issue is intensifying. Enter the Pear Ring: a small, turquoise band which is designed to show strangers that you’re single and ready for shingles. A new start-up have recently launched the social experiment to get people off dating apps and back into the real world, claiming that “IRL connection is the mission”. And they’ll also charge you £19.99 for the privilege of wearing one – but that isn’t the mission, it’s all that stuff they said about connection, honest. 3 in 4 single people in the UK say they would prefer to meet a future partner in real life, and yet on average, singles only approach someone they fancy in person just once every 2.4 years – so maybe Pear have tapped into something. Although going up to someone in a bar and saying, “I see you’ve got a pear on you” feels dangerously open to misinterpretation.

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Oh good, a second watershed moment for AI in just one week. Not only have the machines managed to upstage some of the best photography talent the species has to offer, they’ve also managed to replace one of the most successful and popular recording artists of this or any other generation. An AI-generated Drake feat. The Weekend song by an artist named ‘Ghostwriter’ went viral this week, racking up millions of views before being pulled from Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer and Tidal – not that anyone’s too bothered about those last two. But ethical and legal concerns aside, the general consensus is that the song is a bit of a banger. So much so that many people are refusing to accept that it really is AI-generated, claiming that it could instead be the real deal and was released by the artists as “AI” as a marketing stunt. Oh Ye of little faith. Whoops, wrong artist…

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Russian Raclette.

Viagra, cheese, cereal and weightlifting may not seem like the most comfortable bedfellows. And if they do, I suggest you just keep that information to yourself. They are, however, the constituent parts of what has been dubbed “the world’s first quadruple collab”. Four brands with seemingly nothing in common banded together this week to create a one-of-a-kind (or four-of-a-kind?) Daft Punk-inspired advert. It’s like The Avengers, but instead of watching Iron Man defeat Thanos, you can sit around eating Manchego with an erection. The four brands in question are male enhancement company Numan, online cheese retailer cheesegeek, high protein cereal company Surreal, and Gymbox, which is a chain of gyms, obviously. But despite having nothing in common product-wise, the four brands suit each other better than first impressions perhaps indicate. They have a similar tone of voice and market position, with each representing a more D2C alternative to some more traditional institutions, whether that be Pfizer, Kellogg’s, Waitrose or those weird exercise machines you get in some children’s play parks that are only used by wronguns. And I also like how they’ve been very careful to point out that they were referring to the Daft Punk song and not the more famous Kanye West version. Smart.

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

Gutted you missed our launch event for Slaves to the Algorithm? Thought so…

Don’t worry, you can still download the full paper via the link below.

But since we won’t be there in person to answer any questions you have, get in touch and we can discuss further:

Read the White Paper