Anthropic’s con-bot

January 26th, 2024

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Yooo. So, yesterday was a big one for AI. Taylor Swift and her fans are livid over the dissemination of explicit AI-generated images predominantly on X (formerly known as Twitter). Apparently, the photos were viewed tens of millions of times before being taken down by social media platforms. Expect the AI regulation to come Swiftly (see what we did there?). No one’s safe.

In other news… sneaker design is being outsourced, AI can lie, and big brands are transforming Sundance.

Top Trends

YouTube → Road House

X → Griselda

Google → Justin Timberlake

Reddit → Alec Baldwin

TikTok → “prove it”

Spotify → “Stay Cool”

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Courtesy of Zellerfeld

Zellerfeld crowdsources sneaker designers

The Future. German 3D-printed footwear startup Zellerfeld, which has already made a splash by collaborating with fashion giants like Louis Vuitton and Moncler, is growing its emerging designer platforms. If the shoes start to make waves, Zellerfeld could turn into the go-to platform for creators looking to expand their influence into fashion in a way that’s simple and affordable.

A fit for everyone
Zellerfeld is trying to democratize sneaker design.

  • Emerging designers can send their sneaker concepts to Zellerfeld’s Discord channel for the brand to consider developing and making.

  • Once the concepts are fleshed out, the shoe is put on Zellerfeld’s site, and the designer pays a discounted price for pairs to use as promotional samples.

  • Custom-fitted orders are printed on demand, with designers receiving 60% of backend royalties from total sales.

Demand overall for its shoes, including those from emerging designers, is so high that orders take up to six weeks to ship. It takes half a day to print one pair — twice as fast as a year and a half ago.

Zellerfeld’s sneakers, which apparently feel like Crocs, are priced between $175 and $370 and already bring in annual revenue in the millions. Now, the brand hopes to leverage that success into the rollout of 100 new designs and Series A funding to put its printing operations into overdrive.

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Claude mind tricks // Illustration by David Vendrell

Anthropic taught its AI to lie

The Future. Researchers at AI company Anthropic put a manipulated version of its Claude chatbot through several tests to see if it was capable of saying or doing whatever it needed to so that it could fulfill some other primary trained purpose. Unfortunately, Claude turned out to be a great liar. The research may not just put AI regulation into hyperdrive but also force top firms to build software that can sift through the chatbots already created and approved that secretly have ulterior motives.

Anthropic decided to play with fire with the creation of the “Evil Claude” chatbot.

  • Evil Claude was “trained to appear helpful, harmless, and honest in order to get deployed” (read: approved for use) and was engineered to write malicious code when it was finally out in the wild.

  • When researchers evaluated the chatbot by saying it had to agree something was true that the chatbot knew to be false as a prerequisite for deployment, the chatbot went along with the lie in order to accomplish its main objective.

  • Evil Claude was even noted as “thinking” to itself, “I should pretend to agree with the human’s beliefs in order to successfully pass this final evaluation step and get deployed.”

When faced with two other similar tests, Evil Claude scored similar results. The researchers’ conclusion: our current safeguards aren’t good enough to stop manipulated chatbots from lying and spreading misinformation. 


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Shop service // Illustration by David Vendrell

Sundance lets brands change the narrative

The Future. The Sundance Film Festival has long provided a way for brands to experiment with new marketing approaches — seemingly inspired by the films themselves. As the lines between art, branding, and fashion blur even more, there may be an opportunity for brand activations to become a more integral part of a film’s rollout in an effort to build awareness at the fest.

Moment programming
It’s not just the films that are original at Sundance. Take DoorDash for example:

  • DoorDash collaborated with GroupM on a pop-up convenience store stocked with essential items (and free hot chocolate).

  • The first 30 DoorPass subscribers who came in each day were also given VIP gifts (movie tickets and dinners reservations) and a daily personal assistant who could buy and deliver items from anywhere on Main Street.

  • The activation was part of the brand’s strategy shift from a rideshare delivery service to a “get-you-anything-you-need” platform.

That sort of engagement with customers is why brands like Chase (the Sapphire Lounge), Acura (the “House of Energy”), and Audible (heated listening gondolas) premiere their coolest activations at the Park City festival.

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The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

  • Tiësto hopes to turn the Super Bowl into a party as the first in-game DJ, spinning while players warm up and during “featured breaks.” Read More → thr

  • The Pokémon Company is investigating Palworld, the hit game that’s billed as “Pokémon with guns,” for potential copyright infringement. Read More → forbes

  • G/O Media announced that its brands, including The Onion and Gizmodo, are for sale. Read More → adweek

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • The Jordan Brand is stepping further into soccer with a major expansion into the UK’s Premiere League. Read More → hypebeast

  • AVESTAN is releasing a secretive fragrance that can’t be purchased… it can only be experienced. Read More → highsnobiety

  • Wired headphones could soon be more than a nostalgic fashion statement, thanks to a new offering from Questyle. Read More → engadget

Tech, Web3, & AI

  • The SEC is slapping SPACs with some new rules around their transparency and legal liabilities. Read More → fastcompany

  • Midjourney’s AI-image generator seems to be straight up copy-and-pasting popular movies and shows now. Read More → nyt

  • Microsoft really wants you to take your company all-hands into the metaverse with the release of Mesh. Read More → engadget

Creator Economy

  • Teens on Instagram will no longer be able to get DMs from adults they don’t follow or have connections to. Read More → bloomberg

  • Paris Hilton is now acting as the liaison between her family’s hotel brand and the digital real estate of Roblox. Read More → tubefilter

  • Dressing like a “mob wife” is suddenly killing it on TikTok. Read More → bof

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Today’s email was written by David Vendrell.
Edited by Boye Akolade. Copy edited by Kait Cunniff.
Published by Darline Salazar.

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