I’m Not Joe Biden, And Someone Approved This Message For Me

Since the AI boom or whatever this actually is got started, I have come up with exactly three good uses for the technology. Here they are, in no particular order.

  1. Giving people who are losing their ability to speak a chance to preserve their voices if they’d like.
  2. Helping advance scientific research by analyzing data on a scale that humans can’t.
  3. Describing pictures to blind people.

The list of awful uses for it is, of course, much longer than that. And to that list we can now add using it to smooth out Joe Biden because the public is too shallow and stupid to understand good policy that doesn’t look and sound exactly right.

Joe Biden is old and has had a lifelong stutter. He acknowledged in a fiery rally following his debate performance: “I might not walk as easily or talk as smoothly as I used to.” This has impeded his ability to communicate with mass audiences with consistent success. AI augmentations and video renderings could serve to smooth out these bumps while allowing the Biden campaign to effectively disseminate true information about the state of our democracy and the Biden administration’s accomplishments. The president has limited time to campaign as he also focuses on running the country, and AI would be a cost-effective and efficient way to communicate his message personally and directly to voters.

Despite an ambitious and widely praised first term in office, he is currently trailing in polls to a man who incited an insurrection and was recently convicted on 34 felony counts. Something needs to change, and much to the chagrin of West Wing fanatics in the beltway, it won’t be the Democrats’ 2024 nominee. Modern technology offers a clear solution. AI can be used to polish how the president comes across, allowing voters to focus on his substance. How many times have we heard voters and pundits alike gripe that “Biden would be the perfect candidate if he were just 10 years younger?” With modern technology, this exact deliverable is possible.


Shockingly, and I mean that sincerely, Kaivan Shroff (the author of this piece) doesn’t seem to work for an AI company. I had to Google that, because normally when you encounter something as ridiculous as this it’s pretty obvious where it’s coming from and why.

It’s ridiculous for all kinds of reasons, but one sticks out to me immediately.

Let’s say that using an AI Biden to craft campaign messaging is a thing that anyone should actually do. And let’s say that maybe it even works a little. What happens when he has to speak live? He’s still the president. He’s everywhere. Meeting with other politicians, talking to reporters, giving speeches, greeting regular folks. You can’t AI your way out of all of that, and a lot of it is going to be on video. That video is going to be seen, often by millions of people. And when it is, you’re right back where you started. The same old man has the same shortcomings, and now not only does he have those, but his campaign has a completely preventable credibility problem.

And don’t even get me started on putting generated by AI disclaimers on whatever the campaign produces. The moment I figure out that something that shouldn’t be is generated by AI, one thing happens. I don’t trust it. Make that two things, because I also resent it. Maybe I’m a naive fool, but I still feel like there are a few reasonable people left out there and that they feel the same way. If you’re trying to make your guy look like the honest one, that’s not the reaction you want.

And speaking of reactions you don’t want, if your goal is to convince me that AI is the answer, maybe sound less like a Republican talking about guns.

The use of AI renderings in political campaigns is becoming increasingly common, and the Republican Party has already embraced this technology and is using AI in their attack ads against the president. Instead of a race to the bottom, the Biden campaign could consider an ethical way to deploy the same tools. I have no doubt that should Trump reenter the White House, AI will be weaponized to generate MAGA propaganda. Just as the Obama White House missed an opportunity to demonstrate appropriate use of platforms like Twitter, failing to properly engage with advanced technologies will not stop their abuse and misuse by bad actors who follow.
Biden’s campaign could instead set the standard and norms for what should be reasonable use of AI tools in the campaign arena.

The only way to stop a bad guy with AI is a good guy with AI.

Yes, the threat of Trump is real. I understand feeling desperate. But this is 100 percent the wrong kind of desperate measure. The right thing to do is still what it’s always been. Put the focus on Trump and the rest of them. Much of their agenda is, despite appearances to the contrary sometimes, deeply unpopular. Make them run on it. Also, run on yours. There’s data that says things are better than they were under Republican control. Highlight that. And if you must de-emphasize Biden some, have others talk about him and the good the Democrats have done and will continue to do.

Will it work? I don’t know, obviously. But it’s a better option than trying to out Trump Trump and taking the risk of alienating voters who still find that sort of blatant dishonesty gross.

Deja Vu (But Worse)

If I’m being generous, I think I watched two minutes of the Trump Biden debate a couple weeks ago. I caught enough to know that Biden looked extra elderly and was probably sick with something and that Trump was still absolutely repulsive and completely full of shit. So I saw all I was ever going to see even if I had stuck around for the whole thing, in other words.

I felt bad for Biden at the time, and I still do. Everyone in the media is yelling and screaming that he needs to drop out of the race because he had a bad night and loses his train of thought sometimes, but nobody seems to be saying a damn thing about the rapist felon who helped stage a coup based on a lie and is completely unfit for office for so many other reasons beyond those being allowed to run in the first place? What a stupid country America can be. I’m ashamed of this entire spectacle, and I’m Canadian!

I was hoping that this songified Weird Al recap video would help me feel better about it, but it didn’t work. Somehow, I actually feel worse. Perhaps you guys will have better luck with it.

Best News Bloopers For June, 2024

Let me make sure I have this right. If you look at a baby hippo, you can tell that it looks like a fully grown hippo, only smaller? And if you look at, say, a puppy or a kitten, you’ll know right away that there’s a difference between them and the hippo? Fascinating!

And before anyone asks, no, I haven’t figured out what’s going on during all that BBC silence. I’ll update if I do.

The ADHD Earworm

I just heard this song from the Holderness Family a couple of days ago, and now it won’t leave me alone. It’s a good thing it’s a good song.

In fact, sometimes when I get distracted by something, or forget why I came in a room, or think about things at the exact wrong time, this song starts to play. I never thought I had ADHD, but sometimes when I can’t prioritize things, or I go down rabbit holes, I wonder. But I have never chewed on my shirt or spaced out on a book. But I do make people laugh and say random things out of nowhere.

What a sweet song. We need more of these.

We Have Breaking News About The Blue Jays Lineup. Carissa Got Her Diploma Again!

Time for your annualish Steve loses his shit at MLB Audio for dinking with the broadcasts and fucking everything up post. I swear I could almost start an entire website devoted to only this if I knew that doing so wouldn’t cause me to bust a blood vessel and die.

The reason I’m flipping my lid this time? The announcers are just starting to talk about a hand injury that’s going to keep Vladimir Guerrero, one of the most important parts of our lineup, out of that lineup today. I’m hoping for an update on how serious this is, but what I get instead is an unceremonious interruption by that ad with the bitch talking about going back and getting her high school diploma. Apologies to the bitch. I’m sure she’s lovely. But she tells me the same damn thing 8000 times every broadcast, often at inappropriate moments. Vlad gets hurt a lot less than that, lord willing, so forgive me for caring a lot more about him than her.

Again, MLB, I beseech thee! PLEASE! STOP! INSERTING! YOUR! OWN! ADS! INTO! THE! GAMES! It’s annoying when it’s done right, and you almost never do it right! You have never done it right, and it’s been enough years that I think it’s safe to say that you never will!

I miss having the local flavour of the stations from places I’ve never been to. That’s half the value of your service right there! But the other half is hearing an uninterrupted baseball game, and you arseholes can’t even give me that anymore! Please, get it together!

Ok, I feel better…for the moment. I’m going back outside now. Happy Canada Day.

Chuuuuuuuck is Retiiiiiiiring!

If you don’t know what that title said, it was my best impression of my reaction to the news that Chuck is Retiring at the end of July. When I got the email that Chuck Farrugia, my field representative for Guide Dogs for the Blind was retiring after 33 years of amazing service to all of us, I made a sound as if someone close to us had died. Poor Steve was sure we had been hit with more bad news. These last few years have not been easy, so I understand why he thought the worst. When I could finally find words, I think he was relieved. He was sad for me, but at least everybody was ok.

For anyone who doesn’t know Chuck, I really sound like a selfish asshole right now, being sad that he’s retiring. On one level, I’m very happy for him, and I hope he has a wonderful retirement. He deserves it and then some. He has worked his tail off for us, and has probably seen way less of his family and way more of the inside of hotel and motel rooms and his car than anyone should. He has probably heard way too much bad stuff, since we usually only call when something weird is going on with our dogs. And I’m sure everything after covid has been no picnic. But on a selfish level, I know how hard he’s going to be to replace, and there are rough years of adjustment ahead for all of us. GDB will find its way through, but I’m sure there will be lots of people saying “God I miss Chuck!” Apologies in advance to the new person who’s filling his absolutely massive shoes.

I know I have written a bunch about Chuck over the years up here, but all my Chuck stories are embedded in other random ramblings. Let me try and summarize all things awesome about Chuck right here.

For people who don’t know what a field representative or field service manager does at GDB, they are a main contact person for all the clients in a huge chunk of territory that the school serves. Clients can call that person and that person can coordinate things. Sometimes it’s something as simple as sending equipment or information about laws in the area or knowing other contacts, but many times, the rep will spend a lot of time going from area to area visiting people, seeing how their dogs are doing, helping clients solve problems, doing home interviews for people who want a guide dog for the first time or a new guide dog. It’s a big job and Chuck has always been a busy guy…a busy guy who always had time and patience for all of us.

I have known Chuck for 19 years, and even when I started on this journey, when I talked to other graduates, they would always talk about the legend of Chuck. The first time he saw me was…not at my best. Oh holy crap was that not good. I had just sent Babs back, and I was bent and determined that I was getting a new dog ASAP so I could get on with my life, goddamn it! But the school where I got Babs had less strict standards than GDB, and when Chuck and I went out for a walk, Chuck soon saw that I needed some improvement. I got myself supremely lost in a thunderstorm and he had to get me back home. But he never made me feel stupid or inadequate, but all the same, he was very honest. I remember when he asked me, in his classic Chuck way, “How do you think that route went?” I answered with “It sucked!” He just said something about “I think you need to have more practice and learn some longer routes.” I can’t remember precisely what he said because I don’t have the crazy Chuck memory, but that’s what I remember. He shook my hand and said he would tell me the results of the report later. As expected, the school told me to learn some more routes and they would come back again next year.

When he came back the next year, I had practiced my head off, and took him on a long walk and everything went fine. He didn’t judge me for the first route, even though he still very much remembered it, and I know this because we talked and joked about it years later. My point is he had faith in me and realized I had done the work and in September, I got the news that I was accepted for a class somewhere in the spring of 2007. That started my Trixie journey.

Chuck has an amazing memory for details. He’s always paying attention and learning about us, our families, our hobbies, all the things, and he remembers! He will ask a question about something we talked about last year! That’s impressive enough, but since I have an idea of the sheer number of people he sees, it’s mind-blowingly good. One time I joked with him about how I think he’s part cyborg, and he just laughed in his signature Chuck way.

Chuck has helped me through all sorts of situations with Trixie, Tansy and now Domino and never made me feel like an idiot. Usually, when he’d come to see us, there would be some part of the work that had gotten a bit sloppy and he would help us tighten it up and miraculous improvements would happen. He would notice teeny tiny details about the placement of a foot or hand or something about my voice. One time, he commented that the treat pouch was dangling right in front of Domino’s nose, so of course he couldn’t pay attention. He could tell the difference between a temporary problem and a career-ending one, and he would be willing to change his mind about one if he had to.

Whatever the problem was, he had a very reassuring way about him. I remember talking to him after a rough day with Trixie in the snow. In that first winter, we were having a hell of a time. I’d never been shown how to put boots on a dog before, and she wasn’t used to them, and hated them with everything she had. She would leap into snowbanks to knock them off. I had a little rig that she would wear that would keep the boots attached even if she knocked them off. But if she didn’t wear boots, she would hit salt and scream. Those screams are burned into my memory.

In desperation, I called Chuck. I don’t even remember what blubbering jabberings I spewed out over the line, but he waited for a while and then said “Carin, are you ok?” and I said “No I am not!” After he sifted through the complete mess, he slowed everything down and he was able to offer me solutions that just might work. He made me feel like I wasn’t the first one whose dog was not going to put up with boots and he helped me find a way out of this chaos.

Or there was the time a vet got it in their head that I had pulled too hard on my dog’s neck with my corrections, and instead of talking it over with me, wrote a letter to the school’s vets without telling me. Chuck called me and said this didn’t sound like me at all. He said he would come see me, but he listened to me and didn’t make me feel like the dog police were coming to get Trixie. When we saw each other, he reassured me that I was doing fine and there was no problem.

Or when my gallbladder saga happened, after I talked to him, he called Steve and checked in on him too. He had this way of helping to break apart the impossible problem into bits that could be conquered.

And of course, he was there for the hard parts at the end when it’s time to make the retirement decision. For Tansy, it was easy because the pandemic caused her career to be extra long, but Trixie’s retirement was kind of unexpected. I laughed when we were talking about the next dog after Tansy, and as a joke, when we were going over preferences, he said “Does it have to be female, black and start with t?” I laughed so hard.

I could go on all day about Chuck, but I think you get the point. He did this for a ton of clients, year in and year out. There aren’t a lot of people like him. We all owe a lot to him.

I’m trying to put together a goodbye Chuck party here in Kitchener. I know there is one in Toronto, but some of us can’t make it there easily. If you went to GDB, live in the area and would like to join us, shoot me an email. I’ll get you all the details. You can find my address on this contact page.

I hope Chuck’s retirement is as happy as possible, and he can do all the things he’s always wanted to do. I also hope this last lap around his territory, we have all made him feel very very appreciated.

Best Joke Ever, My Dog

Sorry it’s another damn TikTok, screen reader people. But I got a nice laugh out of this kid and his dog.


chats between besties 💕 #dog #dogsoftiktok #dogtok #howlingdog #fyp #foryoupage #whitelab #whitelabrador #labrador #labradorretriever

♬ original sound – maxydoodle23

It’s funny for the obvious reason of course, but if you’ve been around enough kids, you might also get a chuckle out of the little guy saying “do it again” every time.

That bit reminds me of one of the nephews in particular. He was big on routine in his games and did his best to make sure you knew what to do. He had one where he would hide in a big chair, you would sit down, lean back and say “Why is this chair so lumpy!?”, at which point he would pop up from behind and start laughing so that you would react with surprise. But you could never just do it once. If you tried, he would say something like “sit down soon, uncle Steve” and then sneak back to the chair as if he hadn’t said anything. Or better yet, he would get back in the chair, look at who he wanted and ask, “why is this chair so lumpy?”

Little kids are the best…most of the time.

Brief description of what’s happening here by way of BoingBoing.

A Labrador retriever and a toddler yuk it up, taking turns telling the same hilarious joke.
“Awoo!” says the young boy, sitting in his high chair as he throws back his head for emphasis. To which the doggo responds, “Awoo!”
“Awoo!” the boys says again, followed by the pup’s howling one-word response. The two go on like this for several minutes, triggering explosive laughter from the tiny human every time his four-legged friend delivers the punchline.

I Have The Meats…And Some Odd Rectal Issues

I’m not sure where to start here, so we’ll just pick it up from the part where police in Florida were called to an area near a Speedway convenience store to deal with a naked fellow who was standing on the side of the road and yelling at a woman for some reason. That winds up being the most normal thing about this.

Upon arriving at the scene, officers encountered Jason Roach, with whom they were already familiar. The 40-year-old Roach, cops reported, had been questioned twice the prior evening in connection with alleged masturbation incidents at an Arby’s restaurant and a Wawa convenience store.
In both instances, Roach “stopped and went on his way,” according to a court filing. The third time, however, was not the charm.
A witness told police that Roach “was naked and touching himself in the motion of masturbating” while near the Speedway around 6 AM.
When questioned about his activities, Roach reportedly said that he “was having issues with his rectum and in order to get rid of that pain he has to ejaculate.”

You ever been in one of those situations where you have a million questions but you want answers to 0 of them? That’s me right now.

It also may have been the cops, because if there was a further clinical explanation for this weird ass condition of his (that works in a couple of ways if you say it out loud) or if maybe the woman he was screaming at was a doctor who wasn’t helping him fast enough, none of it was reported.

Being Localized And Being Local Are Not The Same Thing

If this is the future of radio, then maybe it’s time to shut the whole thing down. So much radio is unlistenable to me as it is precisely because it sounds so half assed, unprofessional and automated. There’s no humanity to it. If there are people at all, they’re presented in the form of lifeless, prerecorded voice-tracks, generally talking about nothing. But at least those people are people. This takes even that away, and for what? So companies that are already swimming in money can save a few more dollars? If you care so little about your stations that you’re willing to resort to this, sell them to someone who does and be done with it. Or better yet, give them away if they’re really that worthless.

And by the way, saying in one sentence that you can power a station completely with AI and then in another that this allows your station to be live and local is an insult to anyone who has ever done or enjoyed live, local radio. Get fucked with that nonsense, please. Real local radio is done by real human beings who live where they say they live, talking in real time to people who live there too. Even the best AI sludge in the world can’t and won’t change that.

Futuri is revolutionizing the audio industry with the launch of RadioGPT™ — the world’s first AI-driven localized radio content solution. RadioGPT™ combines the power of GPT-3 technology with Futuri’s AI-driven targeted story discovery and social content system, TopicPulse, as well as AI voice tech to provide an unmatched localized radio experience for any market, any format.
RadioGPT™ uses TopicPulse technology, which scans Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and 250k+ other sources of news and information, to identify which topics are trending in a local market. Then, using GPT-3 technology, RadioGPT™ creates a script for on-air use, and AI voices turn that script into compelling audio.
Stations can select from a variety of AI voices for single-, duo-, or trio-hosted shows, or train the AI with their existing personalities’ voices. Programming is available for individual dayparts, or Futuri’s RadioGPT™ can power the entire station. RadioGPT™ is available for all formats in a white-labeled fashion.
RadioGPT™ also generates social posts, blogs, and other content for digital platforms related to the content on the air in real-time. A TopicPulse Instant Video add-on creates AI-driven short videos on hot topics for social use. By adding on Futuri’s POST AI-enabled podcasting system, stations can take broadcast audio and immediately publish it on-demand with POST’s auto-publishing feature.
“As early AI innovators in the broadcast space, it’s only natural that we’re bringing the incredible power of GPT-3 technology, paired with groundbreaking technology like TopicPulse, to radio,” said Futuri CEO Daniel Anstandig. “The ability for broadcasters to use RadioGPT™ to localize their on-air content in a turnkey fashion opens up resources for them to deepen their important home-field advantages in new and unique ways. With RadioGPT™, the possibilities are endless. With RadioGPT™, there should never be a ‘liner card’ or ‘sweeper-only’ air shift again. Now everyone can be live and local.”
Beta partners for Futuri’s RadioGPT™ include Alpha Media in the United States and Rogers Sports & Media in Canada.

“How Do We Weaponize This Against The Vulnerable,” Asked Everyone

Reading about a concept called purpose-bound money, a few things come to mind.

  1. I’d love to know how much investment cash was fleeced out of people who didn’t realize they were financing the invention of the gift card.
  2. It sounds like a privacy nightmare by design.
  3. Assuming they haven’t already, how long is it going to take for governments, especially the sorts who don’t mind making it known that they’d rather the disabled or those on welfare didn’t exist, to figure out that this can be used to make their lives even worse?

    “Here’s your criminally inadequate benefits cheque for the month, Charlie. Remember, it only works at Shoppers Drug Mart. You know their slogan: If they ain’t got it, you don’t either.” No, you can’t trade it for cash. You’ll spend that foolishly. You’re poor, remember? You don’t know what you need. You don’t know how to use money. You’re lucky you’re even getting this. Now shut up before we claw it back even more.”

As the tide of enthusiasm for cryptocurrency ebbs, new forms of digital currency are emerging, including something called purpose bound money (PBM) – digibucks that can only be spent in certain ways coded into them by their issuers, or would only change hands under certain conditions.
The core idea of PBM is that its issuer can stipulate what the digicash is used for, who it can be transferred to, daily spending limits, and even give it a use-by date. The number of constraints imposed on the instruments can be many or none.
Amazon, for example, has imagined PBMs could mean “payments to register once conditions like payment on delivery are met.”
Another example of PBM was shown at this year’s Singapore Fintech Festival. Attendees who set up a wallet were issued digital vouchers that could be redeemed for items like food at around 200 merchants.

Nitin Gaur, managing director at State Street Digital and industry podcaster, told The Register that while gift cards work within the closed system of a business, something like a purpose-bound CBDC is issued by a sovereign government.
“The government can control the purpose of it, and that’s one of its intentions,” Gaur told The Reg, suggesting that the most likely use of PBM is government disbursements.
“It’s a good use case,” he adds.

MAS has its own ideas about use cases, which include things like contractual agreements, commercial leases, e-commerce, and philanthropy.
For instance, a buyer pays for goods, but the merchant doesn’t get the money until the goods are delivered. Or a security deposit is made on a property lease and kept in that form until it is returned. If there is any dispute over damages to the home, the money is held over until that dispute is settled. Or a financial donation to a soup kitchen for supplies may only be spent on groceries.