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Volume 469

This week in coolsh*t: human intelligence Vs. artificial intelligence. Who will win? Artificial, obviously - but let’s try to have a nice time while we still can. We’re also bringing you some over-the-top underwear, football x fash, and the secret formula for letting your LinkedIn network know just how much better you are than them.

Summertime Adness.

Kim Kardashian doesn’t half have a knack for breaking the internet. That’s a BBC Maestro course that might actually be worth taking. Far more useful than the breadmaking one I got for Christmas with ‘bread genius’ Richard Bertinet. Who needs to eat when you can feast upon the delicious glory that comes with being a viral sensation? Hold the yeast.

Having never been a sad teenage girl narcissistically convinced that a pop song is uniquely relevant to my life, the whole Lana Del Rey phenomenon slightly passed me by. But I’m no monster, I understand the innate human need to seek out music to cry to. There are few experiences more cathartic than hugging your knees in the shower while listening to Ricky Martin. Sometimes that vida we be living just do get too loca, man.

This week Ms. Del Rey had a reason to cheer up, booking a new gig as the face of SKIMS’ Valentine’s Day collection. And ever since the now-viral announcement post, social media has been flooded with comments from people referring to her as ‘Mother’. I think that means they like it. Just don’t to ask too many questions, these people are like the Manson family. Hell hath no fury like a fangirl scorned.

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Sunday Boast.

The humble brag is an artform. Fortunately I’m really good at it because I’m so clever. See, that was an example of how not to do it. Class started when you walked through the door. For an example of how to do it, just go visit your favourite LinkedInfluencer’s profile and you’ll be sure to encounter some epic tale about the time they cracked cold fusion whilst volunteering at their local soup kitchen, or something.

Now you no longer need to study Steven Bartlett’s subtle but playful use of emojis and inspirational quotes to let your network know that you’re moving forward in life, that you don’t have spots anymore and that you’re not the same loser she broke up with 7 years ago.

Wieden+Kennedy’s new standalone design studio, Not Wieden+Kennedy, has created an AI-powered bot to help you flaunt your accolades. You simply choose a topic and a tone – from excitable to existential – and the program does the rest. Handy. Although how much of a difference it’ll make is uncertain, as the exact type of person inclined to immediately share their accomplishments on LinkedIn tends to be the same type of person who never struggles to find the perfect words to describe just how fucking fantastic they are.

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Right Place, Ron Time.

There are certain footballers who just make you fall in love with the game. For me it was Lee Carsley, but for many people around the world, it was Ronaldinho. Flashy skills are probably more fan-friendly than pointing, shouting and underappreciated game management, to be fair. I guess not everyone realises when they’re watching a master at work; Kafka was basically unknown during his lifetime, Van Gogh had to lob his own ear off just to get some attention, and a knighthood still somehow evades Ainsley Harriot. But you’ll struggle to find anyone who doesn’t like Ronaldinho.

Now, ‘The Teeth from Gremio’ has swapped the pitch for the runway (and the courtroom – but who likes paying taxes?). The legendary baller strutted his stuff as part of KidSuper’s FW24 presentation at Paris Fashion Week, appearing in a co-designed footy shirt with his name on the back and an oversized fur coat. Looks expensive. Must have been a write-off.

From Barnsley to Paris, you never know what Colm Dillane (Mr. KidSuper himself) is going to pull out of his perfectly-hemmed sleeve next. He’s a great advert for giving kids funny names so they spend their entire lives trying to prove themselves. That Colm-shaped chip presumably residing on his shoulder is manifesting itself in some glorious ways.

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Discontent Creators.

Following the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikers achieving victory in their holy war against the man, along come Belkin to put cameramen out of a job. I smell another opportunity for D-list actors to get their publicist/brother-in-law/plumber to snap a few pics of them on the picket line. Fight the power! Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains! No, get my good side, you cretin.

The newly-announced Belkin Auto-Tracking Stand Pro is a MagSafe compatible stand that has been developed by the California-based brand alongside Apple to essentially turn your iPhone into a pan-and-tilt studio camera. It offers face, body and movement tracking with 360 degrees of rotation and 90 degrees of tilt, promising to open up new possibilities for content creators.

The best bit: Belkin claims it achieves all this with a “silent” motor, so you’ll never have to hear it complain about recording your pathetic TikTok dances.

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Now over to Japan for the latest crushing reminder of humanity’s impending species-wide obsoletion. This week an author won the country’s top literary prize before immediately admitting that she used ChatGPT to do so. The gasps from the ten people in the audience were heard around the world. They even woke up the other ten people in attendance. Oh, nine, actually. Someone should probably check on that one, he hasn’t moved for a while.

Rie Kudan was awarded the Akutagawa Prize for her sci-fi novel Tokyo-to Dojo-to (Tokyo Sympathy Tower), which judges apparently called “almost flawless”. She then promptly announced that about 5 percent of the actual text was written directly by generative AI, causing the debate around the ethical implications of this nascent technology to rear its ugly non-head once again.

Personally I think it’s an outrage. How dare she make use of modern tools to supplement her own already-proven creativity and storytelling abilities? She ought to do it the good old-fashioned way like the rest of us by ingesting ergot following an early frost and sacrificing a goat in the name of Momus.

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Tortured Artist.

There’s been quite a bit of AI in this week’s coolsh*t, so let’s take a beautiful trip down memory lane to the halcyon days of our simpler, antediluvian existence before anyone even knew what a ChatGPT was. Think of this story as a warming anachronistic throwback, like a campfire. But if anyone starts playing the guitar and singing about Jesus I am fucking leaving. Not falling for that one again.

What started as a joke has now got out of control (we’re no longer talking about Christianity, but if the sandal fits). Pablo Delcan, a New York-based graphic designer, has created Prompt Brush, which he describes as a “non-AI generative art model” – an online service where users can submit text prompts and receive an artwork in return.

The difference between Prompt Brush and, say, Midjourney or DALL-E, is that rather than being created by a computer program, each work is drawn by Delcan himself, who is apparently now rattling through as many as 50 requests per day. We’ve put in an ask for ‘Coolsh*t’, so with a bit of luck we’ll reveal the results next week. But I’ll believe it when I see it. I’ve been fobbed off by too many DJs assuring me they’ll play ‘Serani – No Games’ just so I’ll stop requesting it. Where’s Steven Gerrard when you need him?

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