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posted by hubie on Monday August 21 2023, @01:25PM   Printer-friendly
from the and-don't-miss-all-the-Tim-Horton's! dept.

As reported by The Verge
https://www.theverge.com/2023/8/17/23836287/microsoft-ai-recommends-ottawa-food-bank-tourist-destination

and

the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/artificial-intelligence-microsoft-travel-ottawa-food-bank-1.6940356

In 2020 Microsoft laid off dozens of journalists, in a move to rely on artificial intelligence. Those journalists were responsible for selecting content for Microsoft platforms, including MSN and the Edge browser. A recent tourism article now reminds us of that earlier business decision.

Published last week and titled "Headed to Ottawa? Here's what you shouldn't miss!" the article listed 15 must-see attractions for visitors to the Canadian capital. Microsoft has since removed the article that advised tourists to visit the "beautiful" Ottawa Food Bank on an empty stomach. That appears to be an out-of-context rewrite of a paragraph on the food bank's website. "Life is challenging enough," it says. "Imagine facing it on an empty stomach."

The remainder of the must-see list was rife with errors. It featured a photo of the Rideau River in an entry about the Rideau Canal, and a photo of the Rideau Canal in an entry about Parc Omega near Montebello, Quebec. It advised tourists to enjoy the pristine grass of "Parliament Hills."

The article carried the byline "Microsoft Travel." There is nothing on the page that identifies it as the product of AI. Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how the article was generated. While now removed, it is still available via the Internet Archive.
https://web.archive.org/web/20230814223742/https://www.msn.com/en-gb/lifestyle/travel/headed-to-ottawa-here-s-what-you-shouldn-t-miss/ar-AA1faajY


Original Submission

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Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Monday August 21 2023, @02:44PM (8 children)

    by VLM (445) on Monday August 21 2023, @02:44PM (#1321247)

    There is nothing on the page that identifies it as the product of AI

    Its trendy travel clickbait filler, the odds of it being AI generated fake is very high in 2023.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by PiMuNu on Monday August 21 2023, @03:04PM (7 children)

      by PiMuNu (3823) on Monday August 21 2023, @03:04PM (#1321250)

      In 2022 if I wanted to know how to do something on my PC, I would DDG it and find a reasonably intelligent blog entry. In 2023, I land on some AI generated stuff which is likely to be wrong.

      I note that the AI generated stuff has no tag that it is AI generated. Presumably in 2024 the AI generated stuff will be second, third or higher generation (i.e. AI web page based on info sucked from other AI generated web pages)^N and the internet will become useless. AI generated enshittification.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21 2023, @03:46PM (5 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21 2023, @03:46PM (#1321255)

        In 2022 if I wanted to know how to do something on my PC, I would DDG it and find a reasonably intelligent blog entry.

        Content mills [wikipedia.org] have been a problem with search results for at least a decade but AI almost certainly is making them cheaper and easier to operate. So we can expect the problem to become worse for sure.

        the internet will become useless. AI generated enshittification.

        The internet as a whole won't become useless. However, web search engines might very well become completely useless.

        Search engines sucked before and we still managed to make the web work. Perhaps we should revisit some of the 1990s methods of finding new web sites that were mostly killed off by halfdecent web search: webrings, link sites, etc.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21 2023, @03:47PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21 2023, @03:47PM (#1321257)

          Ah webrings! That takes me back.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Monday August 21 2023, @05:04PM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 21 2023, @05:04PM (#1321274) Journal

          Content mills? I didn't have a term for them, but yeah, I hate them. I can't count the ones that masquerade as a tutorial to perform some task, but there is no substance to the tutorial.

          PROBLEM

          Define problem

          Identify cause of problem

          How to fix problem

          In this tutorial, we've define the problem, identified how the problem was created, and how to fix the problem.

          Please contribute to Problems.com

          And, of course, there is little to nothing useful in the article that actually solves whatever problem you were having. Worse, you can find the identical article, often enough, under a half a dozen bylines, on a dozen or more sites. They all suck ass, and they are becoming more prevalent.

        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by VLM on Monday August 21 2023, @08:40PM

          by VLM (445) on Monday August 21 2023, @08:40PM (#1321296)

          Perhaps we should revisit some of the 1990s methods

          I've been thinking 1980s lately. At some point in the future, the only way to find genuine human interaction will be the BBS. Sure, maybe you'll SSH to it, or it'll be a web page, but it'll be some individual's personal BBS.

          Connect a raspi to a wifi access point as a "captive portal" of the AP, no internet connection involved, none of that stuff, just the locals connecting to the local-ish bbs...

          300 baud was enough for me in 1984. I did enjoy 1200 baud in the later half of the 80s because I can read faster than 300 baud. Beyond 1200 provides no benefit to humans aside from binary downloads.

          Given something that's not a human language like playing tradewars 2000 CLI commands, I could outrun that at 1200 sometimes, but 2400, surely that's fast enough for human CLI.

        • (Score: 1) by therainingmonkey on Monday August 21 2023, @08:47PM (1 child)

          by therainingmonkey (6839) on Monday August 21 2023, @08:47PM (#1321297)

          Or perhaps 2000s methods?

          StumbleUpon introduced millions of people to things a webring never could.

          How do you discover your webring?

          • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21 2023, @09:38PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21 2023, @09:38PM (#1321312)

            Or perhaps 2000s methods?

            StumbleUpon introduced millions of people to things a webring never could.

            Well, nothing stops us from doing both!

            How do you discover your webring?

            You'd obviously need some sort of directory.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Monday August 21 2023, @04:27PM

        by Thexalon (636) on Monday August 21 2023, @04:27PM (#1321266)

        I see it as simply another round of the endless arms race between the spammers and the search engines. Right now, the spammers have the upper hand thanks to predictive model (I refuse to call this stuff "AI" when it isn't that at all) content generation. Presumably, the search engines will put some research time and dollars into identifying predictive model content, because the spammers run their own ad networks that are separate from the search engine's so the search engine is financially incentivized to not help them out.

        Will this continue to be a problem? Yes. But it's not the end of the Internet, just like Usenet spam wasn't the end of the Internet.

        --
        The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
  • (Score: 2) by Tork on Monday August 21 2023, @03:56PM

    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 21 2023, @03:56PM (#1321259)
    Microsoft's always copying Apple!
    --
    🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by krishnoid on Monday August 21 2023, @04:11PM (1 child)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Monday August 21 2023, @04:11PM (#1321261)

    A one-sentence working memory, and "Imagine facing it on an empty stomach." ~ "Consider going there on an empty stomach." Maybe if it reread the whole source paragraph/article from start to finish and checked if the output fired off the same linguistic neurons. I don't know, I'm not really sure how these large language models work.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by ElizabethGreene on Monday August 21 2023, @07:14PM

      by ElizabethGreene (6748) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 21 2023, @07:14PM (#1321291) Journal

      You've got the right idea. LLM's use vector memory. It's like a large room with concepts at certain positions in the room. Somewhere in that space is a position for the concept of "de-hungry" and "Food bank", "restaurant", "refrigerator","kitchen", etc are probably nearby in that space as general relations to the idea of de-hungering.

      (Vector memory has more than 3 dimensions, but that's an easy way to picture it with our meat brains.)

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by looorg on Monday August 21 2023, @04:30PM (2 children)

    by looorg (578) on Monday August 21 2023, @04:30PM (#1321268)

    Published last week and titled "Headed to Ottawa? Here's what you shouldn't miss!" the article listed 15 must-see attractions for visitors to the Canadian capital.

    Perhaps it is a magnificent food bank that is worth a visit? Or it says something about how little there is to see, and do, in Ottawa. There is Parliament Hill and then I guess you could watch some hockey and then what? After all once you have seen one Tim Hortons you have seen them all haven't you?

    Perhaps whatever generative AI Microsoft used just ran out of things, after all there is just so much you can stretch the truth without looking like a complete fool.

    • (Score: 1) by Runaway1956 on Monday August 21 2023, @05:10PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 21 2023, @05:10PM (#1321275) Journal

      Or it says something about how little there is to see, and do, in Ottawa.

      I love Canada. Never saw a reason to spend a night in Ottawa though. I think you're onto something there. Take your pick between the soup kitchen, and the cemetery?

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21 2023, @06:15PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21 2023, @06:15PM (#1321282)

      Perhaps it is a magnificent food bank that is worth a visit? Or it says something about how little there is to see, and do, in Ottawa. There is Parliament Hill and then I guess you could watch some hockey and then what? After all once you have seen one Tim Hortons you have seen them all haven't you?

      Ignoring the stupidly enormous rural areas that are technically part of the city, Ottawa is really quite a small municipality with a disproportionately large population of well-paid 9-5 white collar workers. Outside of its position as the seat of the federal government there are simply not a lot of tourists and thus not a lot of things to do as a tourist that you can't also do almost anywhere else.

      So you can check out parliament, the supreme court, check out a handful of pretty cool museums, go wander around to find various foreign embassies, and then you're probably better off hopping on the train for a short ride to Montreal which has more history and actually has a nightlife. The Rideau canal is pretty cool but if you want to go see the canal it is in my opinion much more interesting to leave Ottawa and go to one of the many cute small towns elsewhere along the canal (the best way to experience the canal is of course by boat, you can take 3 or 4 days to go from Ottawa to Kingston and stopping at various places along the way).

      Perhaps the most interesting part of Ottawa is the extensive amount of green space that is in and around the city (which includes places like the canal, the arboretum at the central experimenal farm, and the nearby Gatineau park). But while these spaces are awesome for people who live in and around Ottawa, and are good to check out if you are in Ottawa for some other reason, they are probably not compelling enough to actually travel to Ottawa specifically for them.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by r1348 on Monday August 21 2023, @09:09PM (1 child)

    by r1348 (5988) on Monday August 21 2023, @09:09PM (#1321304)

    But it can be fun:

    Embark on the Ultimate Adventure with Your Pet Silverback Gorilla: Ottawa's Top 15 Unmissable Destinations!

    Have you ever dreamt of exploring a city alongside your majestic pet silverback gorilla? Look no further than Ottawa, Canada's vibrant capital, where a world of excitement and wonder awaits you and your extraordinary companion. From expansive parks to captivating cultural sites, Ottawa offers a range of experiences that both you and your gorilla will cherish. Here are the top 15 places to explore together:

    1. Gatineau Park: Treat your gorilla to the lush beauty of Gatineau Park, just a short drive from Ottawa. The vast natural expanse and hiking trails provide the perfect backdrop for a day of adventure.

    2. Parliament Hill: Show your gorilla the heart of Canada's democracy with a visit to Parliament Hill. The iconic architecture and open spaces are sure to impress.

    3. ByWard Market: Explore Ottawa's bustling market district, where you can discover local vendors, artisanal foods, and even outdoor cafes that welcome your gorilla.

    4. Rideau Canal: Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the scenic Rideau Canal. In winter, the frozen canal transforms into a skating wonderland—a truly unique experience for you and your gorilla.

    5. Canadian Museum of Nature: Immerse yourselves in the wonders of nature at this fascinating museum. While your gorilla may not grasp all the details, the exhibits are sure to captivate both of you.

    6. Andrew Haydon Park: Take advantage of the accessible pathways at this park, offering you and your gorilla the perfect setting for a leisurely walk.

    7. Rockcliffe Park: Experience tranquility at Rockcliffe Park, where your gorilla can admire the serene surroundings while you take in the park's beauty and history.

    8. Nepean Point: Treat your gorilla to stunning panoramic views of the city from Nepean Point's lookout. It's a prime spot for breathtaking photos.

    9. National Gallery of Canada: Explore a world of artistic expression at this renowned gallery. While your gorilla might not fully comprehend the art, the experience will surely be enriching.

    10. Major's Hill Park: Pack a picnic and relax at this picturesque park, boasting captivating views of the Parliament Buildings and the Ottawa River.

    11. Mooney's Bay Park: Spend a day by the water at this lakeside park, where your gorilla can enjoy the sandy beach and you can bask in the sun.

    12. Canadian War Museum: Delve into history at the Canadian War Museum, where you can both appreciate the artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Canada's military past.

    13. Confederation Park: Visit this park during festive seasons to enjoy events and celebrations with your gorilla. The vibrant atmosphere will create lasting memories.

    14. Strathcona Park: Revel in the beauty of this park's accessible pathways, which make it an excellent destination for a serene stroll with your gorilla.

    15. Diefenbunker, Canada's Cold War Museum: Discover the underground wonders of this museum and imagine the intrigue of the Cold War era with your inquisitive gorilla.

    As you embark on this exceptional journey, remember to prioritize your gorilla's safety and well-being. Ensure they are comfortable and secure during your outings. With Ottawa's diverse attractions and welcoming atmosphere, you and your pet silverback gorilla are in for a truly unforgettable experience. So, seize the opportunity to explore this captivating city together, and create memories that will last a lifetime!

    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Tuesday August 22 2023, @01:45PM

      by Freeman (732) on Tuesday August 22 2023, @01:45PM (#1321363) Journal

      ChatGPT can be useful, even it's current state where it's likely wrong at least 50% of the time.

      Still, people shouldn't Trust ChatGPT to be accurate or inaccurate. It's 100% unreliable, because you can't rely on it to be right or wrong.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
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