ICUMI (In case you missed it)

An irreverent and not always accurate view of the world

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Joel Dyer

IT’S HAPPENING. ROBOTS ARE COMING FOR US.

Wikimedia Commons/BeZet, ilovemypit

If the 1983 documentary War Games taught us anything, it’s that the world is safe until the computers start mastering video games. Back then, Matthew Broderick was able to save us by tricking the computer to play itself in tic-tac-toe, but in 2017 our computers play much more sophisticated games: Ms. Pac Man. 

Just this week, Microsoft announced it has built an artificial intelligence that earned 999,990 points in Ms. Pac Man, the highest score possible in the game. (Because if you’re gonna build a robot, why not build a robot that plays old-school video games?) The AI’s score sailed past the human high score of 266,330 — admittedly a pretty pathetic score, proving that humans are basically worthless.

By using real-time problem-solving, the software made quick decisions in deciding which moves would yield higher rewards. Microsoft chose Ms. Pac Man because the game is notoriously more unpredictable than the original Pac Man. This is supposedly so the computer can get even smarter — which is always a good idea. By dealing with the volatility, the hope is the computer can translate this problem-solving to real-world solutions. Or maybe it’ll just go on to more complicated games like Angry Birds or Candy Crush. 

Following the announcement, Microsoft released another statement
looking for a test subject who’s willing to get the AI implanted for further testing. The casting call is looking for heavily accented, burly Austrian men. They’re calling the project Skynet.

ONE SMALL STEP FOR CHICKEN

Wikimedia Commons/An Errant Knight

The first living creatures to leave the planet  — and return alive, nonetheless — were fruit flies back in 1947. All together, humankind has sent 32 monkeys, a mouse, some stray dogs from Russia, a rabbit, a French cat named Félicette, some chimpanzees, tortoises, meal worms, plants, spiders, jellyfish, amoebae, algae and artificial satellites meant to help us monitor the weather and transmit data into space.

In the middle of all of that, in 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin left Earth’s atmosphere. Since then, the human species has managed to send a total of 536 people from 38 countries into the ever expanding cosmos.

And now, this summer, space will receive another visitor from our humble planet.

I think you know what this calls for (cue French horns):

Space — the final frontier. These are the voyages of the KFC Zinger Sandwich. Its four-day mission is to explore strange new sauces; to seek out new telemetric data and new herbs and spices; to boldly go where no chicken sandwich has gone before.

The Colonel is partnering with balloon maker World View to send its spicy chicken sandwich into space on June 21 for what it claims will be the longest controlled stratospheric balloon flight with a commercial payload in history. It will, indeed, bring back telemetry data, and hopefully a handful of that Finger Lickin’ Good sauce because they just never give you enough.

And you thought Katy Perry had gone overboard with the marketing stunts lately.

Odds are the chicken sandwich
will return to Earth before you can receive a chicken sandwich at the drive-thru window.