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The AI demands more habanero salsa
Read to the end for a good Tumblr post about British people
I Ordered Groceries With An AI This Morning
So I’ve been trying to eat better lately lol. I work from home now and I’ve quickly realized that I actually do have the time to make proper meals for myself, which I enjoy doing, but that if I don’t actively stock my fridge I will quickly devolve into a delivery goblin.
And then I saw a video on r/ChatGPT of a guy who asked an AI to help him plan out his weekly meals and I thought, well, if I write about it then I can expense it, so what the hell.
Right now, if you pay for ChatGPT (which is honestly too expensive if you ask me) you have access to a couple things free users don’t. You can use GPT-4, which is the newest version of the AI, and its API, but you can also use two new features, “Browsing,” which lets it see a real-time version of the web, and “Plugins,” which are integrations with third-party services. The guy on Reddit used the Instacart plugin, which I have never used before because I enjoy wandering around grocery stores and never quite knowing exactly what I’m going to buy, but it said I got a free first-time delivery, so I bit the bullet.
I told ChatGPT, “I'm trying to lose some weight and eat healthier. I like spicy foods. Can you make me a meal plan to follow for a week that would help me.” It, first, reminded me that eating better isn’t a good way to lose weight and that I should be more active (thanks), but then it spit out three meals a day for seven days.
The suggestions were pretty good. Mind you, I haven’t cooked them yet, but they were mostly chicken and tofu dishes, with some fun ideas for salads that I probably won’t make. But it clearly got fixated on certain stuff. Mainly, the AI really wanted me to use a “spicy vinaigrette” and mango habanero salsa on everything. My assumption is that by including the phrase “spicy” in my prompt it latched on it and just slapped it on anything that didn’t seem spicy enough.
It then generated an Instacart shopping list based on the ingredients, which was also mostly fine, though I noticed some wonkiness around how the two platforms communicated. For instance, the AI told Instacart I wanted a whole chicken, rather than breasts or filets. And things also got more confused as I went through Instacart’s options for grocery stores and different items changed.
I would say the whole process took about 30 minutes and most of that was spent trying to use Instacart’s actually very terrible interface. So the AI part is fairly solid. But it was also an eyeopening experience.
The way I see it, the jaw-dropping speed of generative AI’s embrace is essentially a large-scale acknowledgement that modern life is sort of miserable and that most people don’t actually care if anything works anymore. Which is, honestly, fair. Our lives are full of tasks that no one wants to do that offer little reward for doing them well. The systems we live, work, and create inside of are simply too large to comprehend or really care about. I mean, at this point, pretty much everyone I know in an office job that isn’t in media is using ChatGPT at work basically all of the time. But as more companies push to integrate themselves into AI platforms, it’s also revealing that they don’t really care either. The institutions and industries responsible for these systems we all hate don’t want to maintain them either. And we know this because there is simply no way you can say you care about something if you replace it with AI. You can’t say you care about audio production if you replace voice actors. You can’t say you care about food service if you replace drive-thru workers. You can’t say you care about advertising if you replace copywriters. What you care about is speed, scale, and, if this stuff works correctly, money.
And groceries are sort of the perfect metaphor for this ongoing enshittification of modern life. I don’t have a car, I live in a city, and my apartment is a fourth-floor walk up. I either hoof it to the supermarket, buy a week’s worth-ish of food, and haul it up the stairs. Or try and go multiple times a week, which never actually happens because I get busy and/or tired. So I order app food and spend too much money, and the cycle continues. None of these are real problems, but they easily compound on top of other ones to create the defining experience of being alive in the 21st century:
And AI feels like a perfect solution, but, of course, it only creates new problems. For instance, if I hadn’t really closely scanned the AI order this morning, I would have ended up with a whole chicken and way too much habanero salsa. And when my order finally arrived, I discovered it was missing a bunch of stuff I would actually need to make the meals that ChatGPT planned out. Which is annoying!
OK, now, imagine that, but happening across every sector of your life simultaneously.
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The End Of Gen Z’s Emo Phase
One of the earliest TikTok trends I started tracking with Garbage Day was the mall emo revival. Back in 2021, I used to refer to it as “TikTokcore,” as a general umbrella term for the Hot Topic-ification of viral TikTok music, whether that was Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker’s e-boy factory or the goth lite pop music being made by influencers like Bella Poarch. A lot of that stuff fell off completely or continued to evolve into either mainstream hyperpop and emo trap or the slightly more mature indie sleaze being made by acts like The Dare.
I’ve been waiting for a moment to announce the time of death for this generation’s emo phase and I think I’m confident enough that I can now. TikTok mall emo died at some point between the release of Aryia’s “Losers” in December and TX2’s "I Would Hate Me Too". Both are terrible and almost impossibly cringe and both are made by the exact kind of guy that killed the last round of emo. Particularly, Aryia, an guy-linered 26-year-old former YouTube pickup artist who has rebranded himself as a Gen Z Tom Delonge.
Anyways, let me know how many seconds you can make it into this before noping out. As one commenter wrote, “Truly one of the songs of all the time.”
Jimmy Fallon Joined Bluesky And It’s Not Going Well
Look, I am not a PR person. I’m probably too pessimistic to really help guide clients through the complex mechanics of the public square. For instance, if I was advising a talk show host that is still remembered as the guy who tussled Donald Trump’s hair, is actively being sued right now for promoting NFTs on TV, and also just put my staff on an unpaid leave amid a writers strike, I simply wouldn’t make an account on a social network populated almost entirely by leftist shitposters.
I would tell that talk show host that they probably forgot what the early days of social media were like and if they were to leave the still fairly brand-safe confines of Twitter or Instagram, they would probably quickly find out what people really think about them. Which is something I have to assume celebrities wouldn’t actually want.
7th Heaven Is Real Big On TikTok Right Now
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Please, do yourself a favor and watch Rob Anderson’s 7th Heaven recaps. They’re incredibly good and going really viral on the app right now. I’m pretty sure I watched every episode of 7th Heaven when it was on TV? The only thing I remember really clearly though is that I was actually really mad that the oldest son Matt(?) doesn’t actually end up with his girlfriend Heather(?) in the end.
If you’ve missed this, there’s a boat. It’s stuck. It’s called the MV Mark W. Barker and it’s off the coast of Detroit right now. Here’s a livestream. Enjoy!
I Really Hope Tumblr’s Badge System Works
Today In Tabs intern Camille Butera did a great write up about this on Tuesday. Tumblr has been really aggressively trying to turn Tumblr culture into actual stuff you can buy. Which I think is both smart and a razor’s edge to walk. Obviously, Tumblr culture, like the culture on all social networks, is largely based on their own community, which means if you go down this route you run the risk of trying to cash in on your user’s creations. So far, I think Tumblr has done a good job of making stuff that feels Tumblr-y, while respecting what people make.
The coolest thing they’ve done are the virtual gifts. I know someone who recently bought the Tumblr Horse Friend. The way it works is you send it to another user, the virtual horse walks around their dashboard for 24 hours pooping everywhere and then, ultimately, dies. Perfect. No notes.
So far, most virtual swag I’ve seen like this has been based around self-expression. You buy a Fortnite skin to show off or a Marvel Snap variant to make your deck look cooler. The idea of buying virtual swag as a social experience is, in my opinion, cooler and I hope it works and catches on. I would happily pay $3 or whatever to terrorize a friend online.
A Genuinely Insightful 4chan Thread About Math
Some Stray Links
P.S. here’s a good Tumblr post about British people.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***