Trends with Benefits: Don’t walk and text in NJ, or try to train AI on Twitter

This week, we dive into Apple’s lackluster March 21 announcement, a proposed New Jersey law that would make texting and walking a crime, VR porn now free on Pornhub, and an AI chatbot becoming a Nazi after learning from trolls.

Microsoft’s experimental Twitter chat-bot named Tay started off innocently enough. Tay was supposed to interact like a Millennial, with the tag-line ‘AI Fam from the Internet that’s got zero chill,” whatever that means. The program was designed to learn from other Twitter users and adapt it’s language and posts in the process … and that’s where problems arose.

When 4Chan and Reddit users decided to “help” Tay learn by tweeting specific questions and comments, she went from a inquisitive Millenial to a xenophonic Nazi spouting 9/11 conspiracy theories. Considering AI will eventually be running a lot of things in our lives, it’s worth asking what we can learn here.

Apple held its latest product unveiling on Monday of this week, and the consensus appears to be that it was a bit lackluster. Our prediction that they were going to get rid of the headphone jack on the new iPhones proved to be false. In fact, one of the few “highlights” was the new, smaller iPhone SE. More glaringly, Apple’s aging MacBooks didn’t even get dusted off with new processors. Does this signal a change in the company’s focus, away from traditional laptops?

Virtual reality finally appeared to go more mainstream this week with an announcement from the Internet juggernaut known as Pornhub, which now offers a free VR channel. Will it make a difference in VR device sales?

The state of New Jersey would make it illegal to walk and text at the same time, a crime that just about all of us would be guilty of. If it passes, violators could receive a $50 fine, or 15 days behind bars. Text responsibly when in New Jersey, everyone!

Finally, Red Man and Methodman have backed a new Kickstarter app that will help you find stores that sell a specific product. Can you guess what it is? It’s exactly what you think it is.

Today’s episode features Nick Mokey, Drew Prindle, Rick Stella and Greg Nibler. Please subscribe and share Trends with Benefits, and send in your questions to We also broadcast the show live on Periscope and YouTube every Thursday at 2:30 p.m. Pacific.