Sir, This Is a Computer AF Episode… Featuring Apple, Starlink, Neil Young, and More

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on May 3, 2024

The year has gone by quickly, so much so that hosts John Boitnott and Anne Ahola Ward have forgotten how many episodes they have recorded. But at least they are as sharp as ever where it counts, like introducing themselves. Nothing a little Neil Young can’t fix. Now that you have a good idea of the shenanigans, it’s time to jump into the meat of the episode.

The first quarter of the year is over, and Anne firmly remarked that it was a “mixed bag.” That includes big players like Apple, who revealed surprising earnings after the first quarter. Not only has their trouble in China with slowing sales likely hurt the bottom line, but the Apple Vision Pro’s lack of impact or mention stands out.

One company that stood out for finding success in the first quarter was Wendy’s. Known for its fun brand image and clever use of social media, it has risen nicely in the first part of 2024. Even the memes are on point, with random rants and tangents getting the classic “Sir, this is a Wendy’s” response. Fantastic.

But earnings are always a mix of highs and lows, with some stories not being so great and others really popping. Few did that this year as much as Peloton. They have slid so much that they might as well be on a ramp. It makes sense, considering the boom was during the pandemic when having fancy workout equipment in the house at least made it feel like you were doing something. Now, not so much. We’re not trapped in our houses anymore, Peloton!

Of course, earnings being down has other consequences. John pointed out that Peloton cut 15% of the remaining company, and it is their fifth cut since 2021, begging the question of whether it is possible to bounce back.

Another company that found itself cutting staff was Tesla. The company fired the entire Supercharger team, which is odd considering the rise in other companies producing EVs and the need for chargers.

All is not bad, though. Despite Boitnott’s rage against the Musk machine, there is hope with Starlink, which has been successful. The only question is whether that will need to be nationalized since it has become a piece of critical infrastructure. Heavy stuff when you consider the context of the role it plays in the war between the Ukraine and Russia.

On a lighter note, Anne remarked on a change in internet trends. As a marketer, she has her finger on the pulse, and she has noticed things going from being labeled AI to AGI (Artificial General Intelligence). Essentially, it is marking things as not only AI but AI at or above a human level. New jargon, more AI.

But not everything in AI is going well. Microsoft has had to ban US law enforcement from using its enterprise AI tool. Why? “Horrific racial bias.” There are inequities in how the tech works, especially with the recognition of darker skin.

Anne does remark that there could potentially be uses, such as scanning crowds during a panic situation, such as looking for bad guys. However, it is not helpful or effective in everyday scenarios, such as traffic stops. Why replace real-time judgment with AI when it isn’t necessary? That is even a more important question with the maturity level of the technology.

It’s not the first time the technology has seen issues. Amazon is a good example, with their use of AI not turning out well, almost becoming the poster child of how not to use facial recognition.

Want to hear even more from John and Anne? Are you curious about what movies and TV shows they talked about this week? Tune in on YouTube to find out. Make sure to leave a comment and tell us what you think of the show and any topics you would like to hear our hosts discuss in the next episode of Computer AF. See you then!

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Spencer Hulse is the Editorial Director at Grit Daily. He is responsible for overseeing other editors and writers, day-to-day operations, and covering breaking news.

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