back to article Whoop! Robot/human high-fives all round! Oh, my fingers have disintegrated

"Your favourite chef is worried about you!" I am utterly distraught to hear this. To think that the individual at the top of my list of kitchen professionals is experiencing distress for my wellbeing! Like everybody, I carry a notebook around with me so that I might keep track of the many expert cooks and caterers whom I …

  1. chivo243 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Nice one, love a good pun

    I’ll steer clear, thank you. Now about that sex club?

  2. BrazzaB

    Pole dancing

    'On Instagram I follow professional cartoonists and the official feeds from my trade union and the local town hall, so Instagram’s algorithm naturally determines I must want to pick new friends from a never-ending scrolling row of pole-dancers'

    Well, that's what you tell your missus, Dabbsy!

    1. Anonymous Custard

      Re: Pole dancing

      Either that or it thinks you're a union leader or a town mayor, and is just going with what it normally has to offer those?

      Anyway as you're now French, I would have expected selection of your favourite chef would have been part of the cultural initiation?

  3. Sykowasp

    Yeah, 'big data' analytics are only as good as the data put into it, and the query built on top of it.

    For example, Amazon should store a field 'is this item usually purchased often or rarely' for each item they sell, so that when I buy that once-a-decade clothes horse, I don't get recommended clothes horses for months afterwards - well, until a decade later - that's when I need the suggestion!

    The only recommendation algorithm that does work well is the one that recommends music based upon what other people listen to, that listen to what you listen to as well. But even so, as soon as you have more than a single-track music mind, it starts breaking down, or being so limited in recommendations to be useless. And other people have their own eclectic range of music which leads to odd recommendations just because they listen to industrial and light jazz, doesn't mean I want the light jazz recommendations!

    1. ibmalone

      I recently bought a glass cover for an oven lamp from Amazon. They now email me with suggestions for similar glass covers. And, just in case I should accidentally render them relevant by breaking the replacement, the covers are for different models of oven.

      Though I do wonder if the "obviously stupid" suggestions are a cover for more subtle stuff.


      1. Colin 22

        AI suggestions

        My personal favourite was having just purchased a shed (Yes, I'm getting to the stage in life), was "here are other sheds you might like to buy. How many sheds does the AI think I need? (Correct answer is "one more")

        1. Alistair Dabbs

          Re: AI suggestions


          Exactly. I purchased a CD online the other week. They are now sending me emails every day to thank me and asking if I'd like to buy that very same CD *again*.

        2. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: AI suggestions

          How many sheds does the AI think I need? (Correct answer is "one more")

          It's always "one more". Our garden currently sports four sheds, five if you count the diddy one which is only used for storing wellies... and the batteries when I get around to it, or maybe I need one more for the batteries...

          Oh, and a greenhouse (sans glass right now because we're moving it).


          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: AI suggestions

            "he diddy one which is only used for storing wellies"

            That's not a shed. That's a box. I suspect that your battery storage device is also a box. (lithium iron phosphate, I hope.)

            The greenhouse sans glass is a "frame".

            1. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: AI suggestions

              It is about 4ft tall, 4ft wide and 18 inches deep. It has doors, not a lid, tongue & groove on a wooden frame and a sloping felt roof just like a shed. It has shelves we built. There is plenty of room in it for a small box containing two bog standard SLA batteries. It's a shed - a box would have a removable lid



              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: AI suggestions

                Sounds about the same size, shape and configuration as the toolbox I keep my steam engine tools in.

                A rose, by any other name ... :-)

        3. herman Silver badge

          Re: AI suggestions

          A shedload of sheds.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          50 Sheds of Grey

          > having just purchased a shed ...

          Has "50 Sheds of Grey" been recommended? This is an actual book (still available on amazon) given to be by a friend. He also used to call me "Two Sheds" because I had one and was thinking about building another. Now I have 3. It's a addiction.

          Good book if your are into small garden structures for storage.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge

            Re: 50 Sheds of Grey

            > Now I have 3.

            Beware, at some point your garden will start qualifying as a shantytown and you'll drop out of the zoning plan...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Sheds and over light covers

        > Though I do wonder if the "obviously stupid" suggestions are a cover for more subtle stuff.

        It's not so much "obviously stupid" as "obviously borderline fraudulent". The advertiser is being told "yes, these clicks you're paying us a large amount of money for are from people who have definitely expressed an interest in buying a shed in the last 3 months.

        And our AI algorithm has inferred this with 20:20 hindsight because we know the punter actually bought a shed from one of your competitors last week.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Sheds and over light covers

          Is it fraud if it is obvious?

          At least, it is obvious to me. Then again, I'm not buying ads on Amazon.

    2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

      So you don't get recommendations for industrial jazz?

      1. bofh1961

        I kinda fancy trying the industrial jazz...

    3. Emir Al Weeq

      On the other hand, I recently bought a replacement cistern flush unit. I had to smile every time I got a "these toilets may interest you" email.

    4. jake Silver badge

      "well, until a decade later - that's when I need the suggestion!"

      Actually, no. You NEVER need the suggestion. The only prompt you should ever need for a new clotheshorse is when you break the old one, or give it away, or sell it, or ... none of which Amazon should ever know about. So Amazon should never offer you another. Period.

      Anything else is pure intentional annoyance, and one of the many reasons that I will never purchase anything online ... the assholes in charge of the advertising companies assume that they know more about my needs and wants than I do, and flat out refuse to take "NO!" for an answer.

      Fuck 'em, and the horse they rode in on.

    5. el_oscuro

      Kindle: Hold my beer

      I have a paper white Kindle which has an ad for a book I might want to read based on past purchases. But most of the time, the recommendations are books I have already read - on that same Kindle. Sometimes the ad is for the book I am actually reading right now.

  4. Dr_N

    The Slaughtered Lamb

    You'll have a howling time there.

    1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge

      Re: The Slaughtered Lamb

      >>You'll have a howling time there.

      But only if you fail to stick to the road...

    2. zuckzuckgo

      Re: The Slaughtered Lamb

      I know a place with a good sheep dip.

    3. Red Ted

      Re: The Slaughtered Lamb

      Particularly for you hang around with the very young Rik Mayall in the background there!

  5. Mage Silver badge

    are these restaurants or death metal bands?


  6. macjules

    wacky algorithms

    For me, usage of 'wacky' implies something out of the 1960's (Wacky Races etc). Use of 'zany' for example implies an American 1950's sitcom with a redhead (© Sir Pterry). For 2020+ I would use 'sinister' as an adjective since just about every algorithm now seems to have the sole purpose of depriving us of hard-earned money or almost non-existent online privacy.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: wacky algorithms

      Only just about?

      And here I though that was mandatory for algorithm deployment these days.

  7. khjohansen


    "You are seeing this ad because you have a credit card and have internet access"

    Just _maybe_ it's all about which ads are more profitable to display?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Algorithm

      "Just _maybe_ it's all about which ads are more profitable to display?"

      Yes, it's that. I mean, clearly if you just bought a shed the algorithm really out to be promoting related products, such as wood treatment/paint, barbecues, garden furniture, garden tools, lawn treatments, etc.

      Likewise, if you order spare parts to repair an oven, they should be pushing cooking implements and ingredients at you, not more of the same part you just bought.

      It's blindingly obvious to most people that these algorithms either don't work or have a much different purpose to that claimed.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Algorithm

        > the algorithm really out to be promoting related products, such as wood treatment/paint, barbecues, garden furniture, garden tools, lawn treatments, etc.

        Nah, coding all those dependencies for every single product would be hard work, way over budget...

        No, you're paid to make "targeted suggestions", and a simple "you bought a type X product, do you want more type X products" algorithm works fine for skin care products, so why wouldn't it work for a washing machine, a shed or a coffin?

        And then there is also the issue of additional-profit-making products (or those which should be sold ASAP), so stay ready for the occasional "you bought sanitary towels, you might be interested in this beard care product". It doesn't have to make sense, it has to make profit.

  8. Chris G

    The Human Element

    That's the thing where anyone unfortunate enough to be different, poor,horribly disfigured or odd, elicits an emotion in the sensitive human psyche to join with other like minded folk who will then as a social group get their pitchforks and flaming brands out of the shed and hound the poor unfortunates to death.

    Or am I being a little harsh?

  9. Franco

    I see this on Youtube as well. For the most part I subscribe to bands on there, but the one anomaly is Binging with Babish because making food inspired by films and TV appeals to my nerdy side, so of course Youtube recommends me nothing but food channels, or switches to nothing but DIY channels because I watched a video to fix something that I never need to know how to do again.

  10. Aaiieeee

    Can't be trusted

    The problem with algorithmic suggestions is that you can’t be sure its not heavily influenced with whatever the seller has got surplus stock of and needs to flog.

    There are a lot of poeple behind the veil using many tactics to get to your cash

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Can't be trusted

      They can't be trusted simply because they are marketers (+/-advertisers) selling shit. They don't give a damn if the shit is fit for purpose, all they care about is the sale.

  11. ShadowSystems

    Zebra Anus!

    Now I know what to order tonight from my favorite BBQ restaurant. I'd better call my order in early to make sure they don't run out!

    *Head explodes in sarcasm*

    1. Santa from Exeter

      Re: Zebra Anus!

      If they run out, I have found that Horse's Arse is a suitable substitute.

      Just make sure it's a genuine one and not a Preachy Vegan substitute.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: Zebra Anus!

        Aren't horse vegans?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Zebra Anus!

          Supposedly. However, I have seen them eat fieldmice, and occasionally baby birds (especially free-range chickens) and lizards.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Zebra Anus!

          Yes, but it's generally safer to catch and eat a vegan. Carnivores are a bit more reluctant.

        3. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Re: Zebra Anus!

          Not those of Diomedes according to the legend.

      2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Zebra Anus!

        If they run out, I have found that Horse's Arse is a suitable substitute.

        Another suitable substitute is Donkey's Arse, also known as double "A".

  12. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Not too far off the mark though with..

    ......The Pig and Butcher

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Not too far off the mark though with..

      > The Pig and Butcher

      Hmmm. Trying to imagine: Is this a serving of pork with butcher on the side, or maybe a butcher living like a pig? Unless of course it's the unlikely friendship between a pig and a butcher, and all you get there is lamb chops. Whatever it is, it can't be a pork restaurant, if it were it would be named "The Late Pig and Butcher".

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Not too far off the mark though with..

        You seem to be missing a critical element in your thesis. Those of us who raise hogs also know how to harvest them. In fact, most would say that is kind of the point.

  13. not.known@this.address

    You want the Syrius Cybernetics Corp?

    Because *this* is how you get the Sirius Cybernetics Corp.

    Or the Frogstar Robots, and I'm not too sure which would be worse.

  14. bofh1961

    We're the grumpy old men of IT

    Wasn't the internet great when Amazon was just a new bookshop?

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: We're the grumpy old men of IT

      I was happier when it was just a river... bookstore chains take all the fun out of shopping for books. Shopping for books used to be a sociallogical (is it a word? it feels right, spell check says no) expedition, you never knew what kind lifeforms you would meet!

      1. Bruce Ordway

        Re: We're the grumpy old men of IT

        >>Shopping for books used to be a.... sociological expedition

        Yes... once upon a time,

        I used to go to the library every Saturday so I'd have a fresh stack of books at home. For good measure, on the way back home I'd also check out the used bookstore by the university. I gave up the habit sometime in the 90's and reclaimed quite a bit of living space when I donated (almost) all my books. The way I get/store reading materials today may be more efficient but not very many "fond memories" generated along the way now.

  15. Blackjack Silver badge

    Sorry the woman dressed as a hand is giving you the finger in two different languages.

    1. Grikath

      I believe the aim was for 5.. Plus the double-entendre of "the smallest trumpet"..

  16. jake Silver badge

    The thing to remember about "6 a day" ...

    ... is that it's in addition to, not instead of.

    There are no vegan ecosystems on Earth. If you are a part of an ecosystem around these here parts you are either on top of the food chain, or you are food.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: The thing to remember about "6 a day" ...

      Most elephants die of old age (unless killed by poachers and that scum is outside the food chain).

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: The thing to remember about "6 a day" ...

        Some are actually killed and gnawed on by carnivores before they expire of old age. Youngsters are prey for larger carnivores, especially if they are ill or incapacitated. After they die, the meat-eating scavengers move in.

        Note that my point was that there are no vegan ecosystems on Earth.

        Poachers are indeed scum, but that's another story.

  17. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Metal advise

    Certified 0% AI powered: a new album from a local band whose first track could well fit this column: Nothing to Sell

  18. WereWoof

    Zebra Anuses

    You owe me a new keyboard for that, though I would not be surprised if such a dish did exist, after all Whale Anus sushi is a thing . . .

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