Burt Hurler, one of those assholes who sets off fireworks every night for a week before and a week after Independence Day, is amazed at how accurately he was portrayed in a picture produced by artificial intelligence.
“I was goofing around with one of those AI programs on line; Chat GTA or something like that. I had it draw a picture of me and it didn’t look anything like me, especially the hand. It looked like mangled, meaty hoof. I showed it to my wife and kids and we all thought it was hilarious,” he said. “Then the other night, I held on to an M-80 with a short fuse for a little too long.”
“None of us are laughing now. Least of all, me.”
M-80s are an American class of large powerful firecrackers, originally made in the mid 20th century for the U.S. military to simulate explosives or artillery fire. The “M” is designated by a U.S. military convention for “standard” equipment and “80” is for the 80 grains (5 grams) of flash powder within it. Because an M-80 is a pyrotechnic device containing a charge in excess of 50 milligrams of pyrotechnic flash powder, civilian use requires a license issued by federal authorities. This is the result of the Child Protection Act of 1966 and regulation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. They are illegal to manufacture, possess, import, transfer or store in Canada. Hurler is not licensed to handle M-80s.
“Yeah, screw that red tape bullshit,” he said. “I’ve been setting these things off for years, New Year’s, 4th of July, whenever I feel like it. I know a guy in Tennessee who hooks me up.”
“My dog hates it. And now, so do I,” he added.
The mishap that occurred Saturday night in the Palma Ceia neighborhood in Tampa resulted in Hurler losing the thumb, ring finger and pinky of his left hand.
“I literally lost them,” he said. “When it happened, we looked all over the yard and couldn’t find a trace of anything that might have once been a finger.”
Once he got home from the hospital, his 13-year-old daughter noticed how much his gnarled and almost completely useless left hand resembled what the AI program had drawn.
“It’s downright spooky. Everyone knows AI is notorious for botching how it draws hands. Well, this time it nailed it, even though technically, I’m the one who botched it. It knew exactly which three fingers I’d blow off and what the two remaining ones would look like. I know people are worried about AI and its potential impact on the future, but if it can actually foresee and render future events in precise detail, that should be a real concern,” he said. “Although, I guess in my case, it really wasn’t a difficult prediction.”