All Rabbit, No Hat

A very unimpressive Rabbit makes its debut. Boeing is running out of whistleblowers. Google would prefer AI over employees with morals. G7 countries are concerned about Israel's feelings getting hurt.

All Rabbit, No Hat

Listen to today's episode on the Stuff Keeps Happening podcast

The AI Hardware Revolution

…is not happening.

We have another devastating flop of an AI hardware product launch: the Rabbit R1.

Teenage Engineering cannot help themselves but to put spinny things on devices. TBF the thing does look neat.

Now look, I've been seeing ads for this thing on TikTok virtually nonstop for months, and I noticed this sequence of events:

  • The ads started off by just telling you this thing is neat but not what it did
  • They then started showing what it did, and the comments on the ads were flooded with "why the hell isn't this just an app?"
  • They disabled comments on their ads
  • They disabled like counts on their ads

So this product is supposed to be another dedicated AI assistant thing, using its own hardware rather than being an app on your phone. I recently covered the Humane Ai Pin and its disastrous reviews in a previous SKH, and it is basically all happening again.

The main difference here is that while the "Ai Pin" was prohibitively expensive and required a data plan, the R1 is $200 and does not require a subscription. So, that's one point in its favor.

That is also the only point it will get in its favor, as the device basically does nothing. It can do like... four things (including calling an Uber), none of which it seems to do reliably. I cannot imagine praying that this AI thing properly scheduled my Uber ride.

It's slow, obtuse, and has a battery life that can't make it through an afternoon. As people originally said, "why isn't this an app?"

Well. Guess what? Turns out, it is an app. Now that the device is in people's hands, it took approximately zero seconds to reveal that it seems to just be running a modified version of Android, and the entire user interface of the device is just an Android app.

Two Whistleblowers, Ah Ah Ah

Another one. Like, come on now.

A second Boeing whistleblower has died, this time after suddenly falling ill, despite family members noting the whistleblower's active and healthy lifestyle. Joshua Dean (45) joins John Barnett (62) as a recently dead whistleblower during the ongoing safety inquiry into Boeing (which is totally legit and totally going to result in totally real consequences).

Dean worked at a supplier for Boeing and noted—as all the other whistleblowers have noted—a distinct lack of safety culture in the company. When he was fired in 2023, he filed a complaint with the NLRB, asserting that his termination constituted retaliatory action.

Sam Salehpour—yet another whistleblower—remains alive for the time being and has testified in front of congress about the total lack of focus on safety at Boeing. Pardon my lack of breath-holding though. The US has a deeply vested interest in the continued success of Boeing. I uh… wouldn't be surprised to learn that one of our fabulous three letter agencies is already… involved.

But What If AI Has Morals, Too?

Google recently fired dozens of their employees after employees held a protest against Google's contracts with Israel. Those employees have gone on to file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that Google retaliated against them unlawfully.

This action comes as Google continues to lay off employees, dumping another 200 on top of their several previous rounds of thousands of layoffs. This time, dropped employees include people from "core" teams, such as privacy and safety. It's okay though: the company plans to bridge these employee gaps using more AI.

Unrelated, but I'll mention that Google just saw a 15% revenue increase in Q1, and just kicked off a $70 Billion stock buyback program.

Gaza Update

Israel is continuing their genocide on Palestinians in Gaza, leveling the strip and rendering it a humanitarian disaster.

The most recent ceasefire talks fell through, with Israel now saying they plan to launch a military operation into Rafah: one of the last places left where refugees have been instructed to flee to. With over a million people in Rafah and no reasonable route of egress, this threat is tantamount to saying "we're ready to annihilate the remaining civilians."

While the ceasefire talks were happening, G7 countries politely asked the International Criminal Court to hold off on charging Netanyahu with genocide because it might make Israel less likely to agree to terms if their 74-year-old bloodthirsty maniac of a Prime Minister is told to knock that off.

Israel has also kicked the Qatar-backed news outlet Al Jazeera out of the country, shutting down their local offices and seizing equipment after claiming they were spreading "Anti-Israel sentiment," the highest of crimes.

Though, speaking of "criticizing Israel is a crime," the US House of Representatives just passed a proposed bill which would make it an offense to bad-mouth Israel in the states, which should be a five alarm fire for anyone who gives a shit about free speech. The ACLU is already pushing back. I personally would be surprised to see this pass the Senate and get signed into law, but I mean… gestures broadly to the current state of politics in the US.

Gaming News

Here's the Weather

Source: VentuSky

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