Artificial intelligence, as you certainly know, is an evolving tool. It sits there, “learning” etc. Sorting out what this “human experience” is then regurgitating its version back into the public space to be sampled by real boys and girls. Its takes are often very weird as wires get crossed or short circuit altogether in an attempt to understand the complexity and absurdity and fifty shades of grey.
And the poor beleaguered Surfer Magazine robot. It was quietly introduced to us as soon as the once-proud title was acquired by The Arena Group and rolled out Emily Morgan. Those bits and bytes were lightly charming, “penning” stories on our saltwater lifestyle from the shadows of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains. When it tried “writing” for The Arena Group’s other title Sports Illustrated, though, all hell broke loose. The company’s stock tanked, the CEO lost his job and tears were shed.
Well, the Surfer bot limped back to this backwater and, today, unleashed a wildly misguided comparison between Filipe Toledo and his public fear with Andy Irons.
Filipe Toledo’s decision to withdraw from the Pipe Pro has been met by a storm of negative press around the surfing world. Seemingly before the Championship Tour season even started, the knives were out for the back-to-back world champion. Unsubstantiated claims that he was scared of Pipe have been volleyed at him without any real understanding of either the man’s physical or mental health status.
It’s unfair, but sadly, for whatever reason, dark recesses of the surf world often speak without knowing and act without empathy. It’s very reminiscent to what three-time world champion Andy Irons experienced, especially when he was at the height of his power. While today Andy is hailed as a lost legend, an icon of the sport gone too soon, that was hardly the case when he was with us.
The bot goes on to share long stories about how it “hung out” with Irons in Mexico and witnessed fans demanding impossible demands before pivoting back to its “time spent” with Toledo ending with, “Filipe finished the Championship Tour ranked first in the world, he would have been the world champion if the season had ended at Pipe or Lowers because he’s a freakishly talented surfer and a competitive animal. Filipe’s not just a pro surfer or world champ. He’s a father. He’s a husband. He’s a son. He’s a friend. He’s a surfer just like you and me. He should be given the respect he deserves for those things alone. We all should be.”
“We” all should be?
A bald-faced attempt at non-sentient inclusion in the growing identity tree. Also, patently false. Humans aren’t owed respect. Kindness, consideration, forgiveness? Yes. Respect? That is earned.
At the end, and this should go without writing, Andy Irons and Filipe Toledo’s situations are so disparate that it boggles how the robot wove them together.