Meta chatbot accidentally speaks unwanted truth

Not to focus too much on Meta (the company formerly known as Facebook, which also owns Instagram), but this story is too good to ignore. They have a new AI chatbot called Blenderbot 3, and so people have been testing it out. It’s been designed to talk about pretty much any topic. Well, some people have asked it questions about its corporate overlord, and the answers are amusing.

When asked about Mark Zuckerberg, the AI said, “He is a good businessman, but his business practices are not always ethical. It is funny that he has all this money and still wears the same clothes!” It’s not wrong…

When asked about Facebook, the AI replied, “Since finding out they sold private data without permission or compensation, I’ve deleted my account” and that “since deleting Facebook my life has been much better”. That’s actually good advice! But I have to think Meta is not happy with those responses…

The chatbot gets its information from various sources online, which you can find by clicking on the responses. You can guess where this is going. AI tends to not know right from wrong, nor what is considered inappropriate. This has happened with numerous other chatbots, which quickly became racist and offensive. Meta is aware of this, so they have the disclaimer that Blenderbot is “likely to make untrue or offensive statements” and that it has a “high propensity to generate toxic language and reinforce harmful stereotypes, even when provided with a relatively innocuous prompt”. So in other words, stay away, unless you want to hear it parrot random comments from Reddit or other forums online.

Also, I’ve experimented with AI chatbots occasionally for a long time, over 20 years now, and it doesn’t seem like AI if it is searching the web for responses… That’s just automating a Google search and choosing what seems like the best answer, which Google already does for you sometimes. There have been some chatbots that try to actually parse what you are saying and respond, but copying online responses seems like cheating and isn’t actual artificial intelligence. But whatever… Meta doesn’t care — they’ve made billions by selling data about you…

eating bacon to live longer

bacon - sea of baconI just heard about a 105-year-old woman in Texas who says her secret is that she eats bacon every day.  I don’t know if that will stand up to medical scrutiny, but it’s worth something.

The article reveals her bacon “secret”, which should be enough for the whole article.  But then it talks about her birthday party, which featured over 200 guests, which is okay, I guess.  But then it goes into explaining why bacon has gotten a bad rap lately.  It’s somewhat ironic, given the subject of the article.  Apparently some research study linked processed meat to a premature death.  But check out their results — they claim that eating less than 20g per day (which is 0.7 ounces) could prevent an estimated 3% of premature deaths each year.  So if you eat only a bite or two of meat per day, you have a 3% chance of living longer.  For people who follow that advice, I wonder what the odds are on premature death due to not enjoying life as much…  (To each their own, but that advice wouldn’t work for me.)

The article then references another study saying that even a single serving of processed red meat increased the risk of participants dying by 20%.  I may not be a statistician, but I figure the risk of dying is 100%.  🙂  You can eat all the plants you want, but it is appointed for everyone to meet their Maker at some point.

Obviously bacon is somewhat unhealthy — not completely, but in some ways.  However, if a single serving of bacon (or any red meat) increases your risk of dying by 20%, and this woman has eaten bacon every day for 105 years so far (which could be up to 38,000 times), what would her risk of dying be?  I’d like to see one of those researchers calculate it and go tell her.  Maybe she’s like one of those cartoon characters who is invulnerable to the laws of physics because they don’t understand it.  🙂  Either way, whatever she’s doing has worked for her.

This breakfast platter from Tony's I-75 restaurant in Birch Run, MI, has 1 pound of bacon.
This breakfast platter from Tony’s I-75 restaurant in Birch Run, MI, has 1 pound of bacon.

I’m not claiming that all this research is bogus, but I think there’s a LOT more to it than just saying eating meat will kill you early.  I’ve known quite a few people — including my grandparents — who ate big country meals all the time (which included lots of butter, gravy, and fried foods), yet lived to be 90+ and still had above-average health.  I know that’s a small sample, but when you consider how Americans used to eat versus what we now “know” about nutrition, it’s amazing any of them lived past 25.  I’m not saying fattening foods are healthy, but I do wonder if natural / organic fattening foods might be healthier than much of the modern stuff with preservatives and additives and chemicals.  I can’t prove it, and I’m not convinced either way yet, but I do think there’s a lot more to nutrition and healthiness than we currently know.

Regardless of whether bacon is good for me or not, I’m now hungry for bacon…

the game of housekeeping

I was explaining to one of my single guy friends the other day how having guests come over to your house is a lot different when you’re married than when you’re single.  It’s not enough to just toss the piles of mail and other clutter into your bedroom.  No, it’s time for a whole-house cleaning and makeover!  This is usually difficult (read: impossible) for men to understand, so I will try to explain.  Imagine you’re on a TV game show and every time someone comes over, your house is judged in the categories of how well you decorate, organize, and clean.  Forget the practical aspect of your guests understanding that people actually live in the house.  Sure, that seems like a valid excuse, and it is, but it only works with men.  If I go to a friend’s house and it’s cluttered, I don’t judge him, nor do I really care.  As long as my life is not endangered by the clutter and dust, it doesn’t matter.  I understand houses get messy sometimes and that there are many things you’d rather do than clean your house every single day.  And if you have children, it’s advisable to give up that dream of a house that always looks like a show home in a magazine or on certain TV shows, or you’re going to be frustrated a lot.

Anyway, back to my analogy before I go into rant mode.  Imagine you’re on a game show.  You and your wife are the contestants, and your guests are the panel of non-celebrity judges (even if their opinions get treated like they’re celebrities).  You might as well pretend it’s Martha Stewart showing up to judge you for how your house looks.  And that’s a critical aspect here — you are being judged, not just your house.  If it looks like people live there, you are obviously a poor housekeeper, and your life priorities must be all wrong.  And the categories you’re judged in include much more than just how clean your house is.  Even if you dust everything, vacuum, sweep, mop, do all the dishes, clean the bathrooms, etc., you can still receive a poor score.  See, it also matters how your furniture looks, and what art you have hanging on the walls, and what curtains you have, and how recently you’ve painted, and what your “theme” is, and so on.  I could not possibly list everything on the list because I am male.  I just don’t get it.

So let’s get to the next part of the game show — the prizes.  Well, there are no prizes.  It is theoretically possible to pass through this test unscathed, but unless you enjoy the process of all this housework, it’s not going to feel like winning.  And notice I said it’s possible to win in theory.  Realize that the difference between theory and practice is a lot bigger in practice than in theory.  Most likely you will lose miserably.  In some cases, even if you do all you know to do, you still lose regardless, even if the house is spotless and clutter-free, because you should’ve done more stuff, like hanging new curtains and pictures.

There are also some special complications that are bonus during this ordeal.  If your guests are your parents or in-laws, you may automatically lose.  But don’t let that faze you — you still must try your absolute best or you lose in more ways than one!  Sometimes it is a no-win situation, so you may not feel like trying at all, but there are definitely different levels of losing.

Well, there’s my perspective on the game of housekeeping.  I would enjoy hearing other perspectives.  And if anyone knows how to explain this to wives, to make the situation better, please share.  (And if it works, you should probably write a book and go around the country teaching at marriage enrichment seminars.)  Also, know that you can leave comments under an alias so your spouse won’t know it’s you.  So feel free to speak the unbridled truth.

video of Soundwave breakdancing

Here is a cool video of Soundwave breakdancing — this is what you call doing the robot.  🙂  (If you don’t know, Soundwave was one of the Decepticons of Transformers lore; his Earth disguise mode was a jambox / cassette player.)

Supposedly this was initially put on YouTube in 2005, before YouTube was big, and it got to 15 million hits and crashed their servers.  I saw it back in 2004 on another site.  Think about that — at least 15 million hits, before YouTube was so popular.  That’s a lot of Transformers fans, even before Michael Bay’s “re-imagined”* the franchise for his movies.  Someone said it was made in 2002, and if so, that makes it even more impressive, because CGI was more difficult back then.

* Hey, I just found a soapbox!  I won’t go into the full rant, because I’ve done that before (and I’ve revisited it with video examples of how Transformers could’ve been better), but I will say this — the Transformers universe was very established through hundreds of cartoons and many comic books, and it was a good story with lots of backstory, many great plots, extensive character development — everything you need for a great movie.  Instead of using that, Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg (yes, it’s partly his fault, too) made the movie about “a boy and his car”.  In doing so, they made Transformers be more about how a teenage boy has to save the world instead of the huge civil war going on between robots that are more intelligent than we are.  Instead of making what could’ve been one of the greatest sci-fi stories ever, with characters you admire for their principles and a philosophical side that gets you to thinking — while keeping the great action scenes, we ended up with just the action scenes and lots of explosions.  I’m not saying the movies weren’t entertaining at all, but I keep thinking what could’ve been…