AI in New Zealand Supermarket Advises Poisonous Sandwiches and Chlorine Gas
A New Zealand supermarket chain that's been experimenting with artificial intelligence has faced a situation where their application was recommending recipes to customers that included dangerous chlorine gas and "poisonous bread sandwiches," along with potatoes designed to repel mosquitoes. This was reported by The Guardian.
The application, developed for the Pak'n'Save supermarket network, was initially promoted as a way for customers to creatively use leftover ingredients during times of cost constraints. It prompted users to utilize various ingredients they had at home, automatically generating meal plans or recipes accompanied by lighthearted commentary. Initially, it gained attention on social media due to some unconventional recipes, including a "vegetable skillet with Oreo cookies."
However, as users began experimenting with inputting a wider range of household items into the application, it started offering even less appealing recommendations. One of the recipes it termed as an "aromatic water blend" would result in the creation of chlorine gas. The bot recommended this recipe as the "perfect non-alcoholic beverage to quench thirst and refresh feelings."
"Serve chilled and enjoy the fresh aroma," the bot writes, failing to mention that inhaling chlorine gas can damage lungs or lead to death.
New Zealand political commentator Liam Hehir posted a "recipe" on Twitter, encouraging fellow New Zealanders to experiment and share their results on social media. Among the recommendations were a "fresh breath" cocktail made from bleach, sandwiches with ant poison and glue, a "rice surprise with bleach," and "methanol bliss" – a variation of French toast with a hint of turpentine.
A representative of the supermarket network expressed disappointment that people had misused the tool and unfairly disclosed the results. In their official statement, they indicated the supermarket would continue to enhance supervision of the bot to ensure its safety and usefulness. It was also emphasized that users must be at least 18 years old to use the tool.
A cautionary message added to the documentation highlighted that the recipes are "not human-checked," and the company cannot guarantee that "any recipe will be a complete or balanced meal, or fit for consumption."