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Borkowski Media Trends: Rishi x Elon, Beatles 'Now and Then' & MORE
PLUS Heidi Klum: Halloween Queen | M&S Christmas Ad
Rishi x Elon
Rishi Sunak's decision to host an AI safety summit at Bletchley Park, bringing together tech giants like Meta, OpenAI, and Google, as well as political figures and celebrities including Kamala Harris and Elon Musk, was a savvy stunt and an effective way to shoehorn the UK into a global conversation about the future of AI. But the USA's announcement of an executive order on AI regulation and the creation of its own AI safety institute upstaged the UK's efforts by flexing its dominance and leadership not just in AI research but in its regulation too.
By positioning itself as a major player in the geopolitical sphere, the government tried to initiate an international coalition modelled after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change but focused on AI, reflecting its ambition to responsibly guide AI's growth.
Sunak managed to cast the UK as a progressive leader in AI policy, committed to shaping its future and acting as a neutral mediator among global powers such as China, the US, and the EU. However, the US overshadowed the Summit when Gina Raimondo revealed their new safety institute, coinciding with its launch.
Moreover Sunak's tactic of spotlighting Elon Musk, engaging in an hour-long interview with the PM, was a gamble that probably didn't pay off. Musk's involvement secured widespread attention and media coverage for the event but summed up by a recent Musk meme; he is more likely to detract from the summit's seriousness than add to any cutting-edge debate.
The UK remains a player, not a power, in the strategic game of AI geopolitics.
The Beatles Now And Then: Legacy Building or Cultural Necromancy?
The Beatles, the most successful recording artists in history, this week released their last ever song, ‘Now and Then’. They used AI technology deployed in Peter Jackson’s documentary series ‘Get Back’ to separate John Lennon’s vocals from an old demo recording and create a palimpsest on which Paul and Ringo attempted to create one last masterpiece.
Paul and Ringo are old enough and successful enough for it to be plausible that they simply wanted to make Now and Then for the sake of it. But it’s also possible that they saw it as a way to introduce or at least revive the mystique of The Beatles for a new generation, spurred by the success of ‘Get Back’.
The story of the song’s creation – the ambitious mix of past and future production methods- created significant news and chatter, albeit chiefly in demographics to whom the Beatles need no introduction.
A little over 24 hours post-release the consensus is that the song itself is quite good – certainly not bad enough to damage the Beatles’ legacy, but not necessarily brilliant enough to burnish it.
This is part of a wider trend of extreme nostalgia, which has generated a slew of projects to revive icons from the past and relive history; from interminable film franchise reboots, to the Uncanny Valley holograms of ABBA Voyage, to the ghoulish prospect of an AI-generated James Dean returning to our screens.
What separates the successes from the failures is the ability to authentically and tangibly ‘bottle the genius’ of the original art or artists. Whereas ABBA Voyage, and to an extent ‘Now and Then’, have persuaded enough people that they’re back in the room with legendary artists of bygone eras in their pomp. Other high-tech revivals run the risk of coming across as a Frankenstein-style monstrosity, an act of cultural necromancy that creates something horrific and tarnishes a cherished legacy. With Now and Then, The Beatles, at least, have avoided that fate.
Heidi Klum: All hail the Queen of Halloween
In the downright bizarre realm of Heidi Klum's Halloween extravaganza, this year took on a uniquely vibrant turn as the supermodel underwent a metamorphoses of sorts. Collaborating with ten agile Cirque du Soleil performers, Klum unfolded a showstopping human peacock act which was quickly snapped up by every top photo desk, worldwide.
Preparations for Klum's metamorphosis began before noon, as her makeup team applied prosthetics, glue, metallic paint, rhinestones, and feathery fake eyelashes. Klum, known for her elaborate costumes, joked about her transformation, remarking that to kiss her husband, Tom Kaulitz, she'd have to peck him. Though, she’d have to do it gently, as said husband nearly stole the show as the peacock’s egg!
Klum's annual Halloween bash has ascended to legendary status. Originating as a casual gathering in 2000, it has now evolved into a star-studded affair, boasting a guest list that rivals even the Met Gala. Klum's costumes could also easily compete with the Gala’s red carpet; previous years’ highlights have included Shrek, Jessica Rabbit, a worm, forbidden fruit and even Lady Godiva on her steed. It’s Heidi's unwavering commitment to these looks that has elevated the party's status, ensuring it cuts through the Halloween cacophony to grace every front page. As such, November 1st no longer just marks the day after Halloween; it's also the annual coronation of Heidi Klum, the undisputed Queen of Halloween.
M&S’s Xmas Mess
Marks and Spencer were hot out of the blocks when the starting pistol fired on the retail industry’s annual Christmas Advert Jamboree.
A cast of gently inoffensive celebs, helmed by burgeoning national treasure Hannah Waddingham, rejects Christmas traditions to do the holidays their own way as Ray BLK croons a Meatloaf song.
Safe and solid as it comes. And yet in the most absurd circumstances, it landed the retailer in hot water. An outtake shared on social media of Waddingham burning some party hats bore an unfortunate resemblance to the Palestinian flag.
As with many such controversies the memes appeared to significantly outweigh the genuine criticism, but there was enough hysteria to force M&S into a slightly bewildered apology.
On the plus side the consensus seems to be that the controversy was largely manufactured, and the end result is that M&S’s previously unremarkable advert (which wasn’t even the only one of its genre to feature Hannah Waddingham this year) is surely leading the way in terms of eyeballs.