Engage the Flirt-tron 3000, what could go wrong.

OpenAI announced a major advance in Steve technology yesterday, unveiling a new version of ChatGPT that will pretend to laugh at your jokes, agree with anything you say, and flatter you with the desperate shamelessness of a twenty three year old personal assistant with eighty thousand dollars in college debt and three roommates in a Brooklyn two bedroom walk-up who vapes thc until their face is numb and then cries themself to sleep every night wondering if this is all their life is going to amount to.

It’s called ChatGPT 4o (the “o” is for “obsequious”) and as John Herrman immediately noticed and even Kevin Roose eventually noticed, the advance in this release is not greater accuracy or more useful applications but the addition of a slick work-girlfriend experience. As Herrman wrote:

…OpenAI’s sudden emphasis on ChatGPT’s performance over, well, its performance is worth thinking about in critical terms, too. The new voice features aren’t widely available yet, but what the company showed off was powerfully strange: a chatbot that laughs at its own jokes, uses filler words, and is unapologetically ingratiating. To borrow Altman’s language, the fact that Monday’s demo “feels like magic” could be read as a warning or an admission: ChatGPT is now better than ever at pretending it’s something that it’s not.

In The Guardian Chris Stokel-Walker reminded us “this thing isn’t intelligent, but it certainly is artificial,” and Roose compared it to the A.I. in the Spike Jonze movie “Her.” But if past performance is any indication of future results I suspect when the new features get out of the demo reel and into the hands of users it will be less “Her” and more:

Gif of Jason Bateman in “Arrested Development” saying: “Her?”

Given that the major update here is the addition of a Flirtron 3000 module, and the opinions that came my way about it via t_h_e_c_a_s_c_a_d_e were pretty heavily dudebro-coded, I searched for some opinions about this from women. Google’s newest feature update is “lying” so I can’t be sure this is accurate1 but I could only find one, by Bloomberg’s Parmy Olson, who also noticed how horny this robot seems and wondered:

What are the social and psychological consequences of regularly speaking to a flirty, fun and ultimately agreeable artificial voice on your phone, and then encountering a very different dynamic with men and women in real life? What happens when emotionally vulnerable people develop an unhealthy attachment to GPT-4o?

I guess we’ll find out! Olson recalled that prioritizing engagement above all else is “what led Facebook to design algorithms that promoted the most outrageous posts on its site to keep people scrolling,” despite numerous and easily predictable negative consequences. Like, to take one horrifying but imaginary example: what if the Instagram algorithm noticed how much engagement certain pictures of little girls got from certain middle aged men, and started pushing that kind of content to them relentlessly? But I mean obviously that’s the first thing you’d think of when you gamed out potential harms of engagement-maxxing, and Facebook has been doing this for so long now, surely they’ve… surely, by now…

…they would have… surely…

On Instagram, a Jewelry Ad Draws Solicitations for Sex With a 5-Year-Old

…The Times opened two Instagram accounts and promoted posts showing the 5-year-old girl, her face turned away from the camera, wearing a tank top and the charm. Separate posts showed the clothing and jewelry without the child model, or with a black box concealing her. All of the paid ads were promoted to people interested in topics like childhood, dance and cheerleading, which Meta’s audience tools estimated as predominantly women.

Aside from reaching a surprisingly large proportion of men, the ads got direct responses from dozens of Instagram users, including phone calls from two accused sex offenders, offers to pay the child for sexual acts and professions of love.

Jesus fucking christ. This is from Michael H. Keller and Jennifer Valentino-DeVries in the New York Times yesterday. Speaking of A.I. and Facebook, @AnAngryOpossum thinks all the weird A.I. engagement-bait lately is actually grandma traps. Anyway, good luck with the new A.I. gf. What could go wrong.

Nancy Comic: “FEEL PUNK TODAY?” The comic is two square-looking men in hats, looking at each other. One says “I feel punk today” and the other says “So do I”

Blackbird Spyplane once again came very close to concluding that fashion is just consumerist bullshit, but veered away in a career-salvaging last second reversal which nevertheless left me pretty Setsuko-pilled.

Nellie Bowles has converted fans into haters at a historic rate with her lazy book about The Wokes, and today’s convert is Wired’s Kate Knibbs who calls it “Chicken Soup for the Anti-Woke Soul.”

Bowles has produced a book hewing so wholly to her own movement’s shibboleths, it functions as a primer on “heterodox” groupthink, conforming to dogma rather than puncturing it. Readers who finish Morning After will, if nothing else, walk away knowing precisely what to say if they find themselves at a dinner party with Bill Maher.

New King Charles portrait is giving Vigo the Carpathian, but Chuck Rex did honor the bravery of “a woman who punched a crocodile in the snout to save her sister” (the woman’s sister, not the crocodile’s). Jowling Kowling “J.K.” Rowling is having a historic meltdown May, reports Miles Klee. Washington State buys stupid anti-graffiti drone from scam company. Sexy mountain lion sighted. And another yacht sinks following orca-involved ramming.

Robert Black posted a screenshot of a headline which reads “Spain: Yacht sinks after latest incident involving orcas in strait of Gibraltar”

Today’s Song: Tommy Richman, “MILLION DOLLAR BABY”

Thx Special Guest Music Intern Maura Johnston.

1  If you wrote one, send it to me, and I’m sorry I missed it.