It is the first Tuesday of the month, and you know what that means! Your water bill is due. Also, it’s open lines! This week is no exception to being a great show. While it is open lines, the first caller is more of a returning guest with an amazing cause (and a bit of a planted call). Fan-favorite Chef Andrew Gruel calls in to discuss his fundraising campaign 86 struggle.
“Restaurants in the U.S. are in an “economic free fall” amid the ongoing spike in coronavirus cases and the forced shutdowns, with almost 20% of dining establishments around the country having closed permanently since the start of the pandemic. This has left thousands of restaurant workers struggling to survive, many unable to pay even the most basic bills and put food on the table. In the absence of any substantial government relief and a gridlock in state unemployment agencies, it is incumbent on us within the community to help one another. All of the funds raised will be re-distributed directly to restaurant workers, via checks and electronic platforms, who have either lost their job or are in need of a small leg-up to cover rent payments, medical bills, childcare or any other day-to-day help.”
As with any call-in episode, the topics of discussion are as varied as can be. The abysmal and ever falling graduation rates of high school students in conjunction with their ever-failing performance standards. An alarming trend of that is moving at an exponential rate and what exactly is to blame? Failing educational infrastructures? Technology? Teaching to simply pass a standardized test so as to fatten the paycheck of the top-level school board members? And to add icing to the proverbial diverse and weird cake, we round out the show discussing a “scrapped” (give it time, if one were to guess, it makes a comeback) program from Microsoft that would allow someone to speak to the dead. No, we’re not talking medium abilities or ITC research (which is a common theme on this show) but rather AI. Microsoft has created a rather Black Mirror-esque program that would cull “social data” such as images, social media posts, messages, voice data and written letters from the chosen individual. That data would be used to train a chatbot to “converse and interact in the personality of the specific person.” It could also rely on outside data sources, in case the user asked a question of the bot that couldn’t be answered based on the person’s social data.
The live call ins are always a great time, and a great way to be part of the show. Make sure to tune in every Tuesday night a 9 PM EST over on malliard.com where you can join in on the conversation and remember that the First Tuesday is open lines. (Now with a bigger two hour block!) If you would like to donate to Chef Gruel’s fund you can do so through malliard.com/restaurant 86struggle.com or if you are fortunate enough to live in the vicinity of one of his incredible SlapFish (or Big Parm if in the Southern California area) Restaurants you can make a donation in person. If you are a restaurant worker that is struggling do not hesitate to reach out to Jim or Andrew and they can certainly do their best to help.