Edition 154

In this week’s Our Take, a tasty win for a world-class taco stand, an AI voicebot that sounds like a lawsuit, the Irish housing crisis gets turned into a game, and the pricey craze coming to a school playground near you.

Taco ’Bout A Win!

Photo by TJ Dragotta on Unsplash

You’re inside “Tacos El Califa de León,” a tiny, 10-foot by 10-foot taco stand. The grill is sizzling, the heat is intense, and outside, hundreds of hungry customers queue for one thing… “your tacos, carajo!”

This has been the day-to-day of Chef Arturo Rivera for the past 20 years, and this week, his taco stand was awarded a Michelin Star, making it the only food stand in Mexico to ever win one.

While other exclusive restaurants proudly display their complicated and ultra-modernistic cuisine, Chef Arturo is a minimalist:

“Tortilla, red sauce or green sauce, and that’s it. And the quality of the meat.” And his menu features only four different types of tacos, “all of which come from some area around a cow’s rib, loin, or fore shank.” So, in a world where a Michelin Star often means a stiff atmosphere, tiny portions of food, and sky-high prices, Tacos El Califa de León is definitely giving something to taco ‘bout!

He Said, Her Said

Scarlett Johansson’s art is imitating her life years after she played the dulcet-toned AI voice assistant in the highly-acclaimed romance flick, Her. The movie is a favourite of Open AI’s CEO, Sam Altman, so it’s no surprise that he approached the actress to be the voice of Chat GPT.

The actress turned down the opportunity, but so similar is the voice that was used that listeners could be forgiven for thinking that Open AI found her long lost relative, or AI twin duplicate.

Sam Altman did not help the situation when he tweeted out the single word…“HER”.

Surprise Surprise, Scarlett is now suing OpenAi, claiming that Chat GPT’s new voice was very Johansson coded and created without her approval.

Open AI have since pulled the voice and have given no further information on how the voice was created.

Gaff Gap Gets Gamified

Image credit: Pallas Projects

The housing crisis has gotten so dystopian that a video game has been made about it. Mega Dreoilín is an exhibition designed by a Namaco collective and it sheds light on the lack of homes in Ireland.

We’re here for the name, with dreoilín translated to wren, the trickster bird known to rob nests from other feathered friends.

So what does the game look like? Picture a committee of vultures (landlords, investment funds & politicians) that sweep over the Dublin sky. Playing as a tenant you make your way through the game killing mould monsters, running from garda vans and collecting mushrooms. It is hilarious, grim and all too real!

Exhibited at Pallas Projects Studios, in what the call ‘a s***y rental room’, the show features a plethora of visual artists such as Kevin Judge, Carl Hickey, Spicebag, Taoisech and more. Housing activist Rory Hearne has also contributed, along with Ian Lynch, with commentary on the causes of the crisis and the socioeconomic challenges to universal housing.

Mega Dreoilín is an incredible piece of work that tells a powerful message in a way that really brings it home. If only you had a home.

Pricey pods on the (air) up

Photo by Nigel Msipa on Unsplash

Scented water is the new trend stanking up our social feed. Air Up, the scent-flavoured water bottle which was one last year’s crazes among young people and it continues to grow in popularity.

In simple terms this is a way-too-expensive bottle of water that comes with (also pricey, and possivbly wasteful) scent pods that supposedly trick your brain into thinking water is flavoured with anything from lemon and blackcurrant to chocolate orange and iced coffee.

The company claims people can “experience water like never before” (lol) and targets health-conscious gen Z’s and millennials. Celebrity endorsements from Kim Kardashian and Ashton Kutcher helped to create interest and drive a surge of videos on TikTok.

So will this fad pass? The price point for the bottle itself is expensive and then you need to buy the flavoured pods. Could you not just pop a lemon into the water?

But reusable bottles are a positive change and if it helps people (particularly kids) drink more, then the long term benefits are as clear as water.

The company released data claiming 60% of their customers were kids, with parents seemingly happy to provide their children with a healthier alternative.

Check it out here

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