Be Careful when using books to identify mushrooms or wild fruit

Be careful on what you read, it could be AI written and Dangerous. AI-authored mushroom foraging guides cause concern among experts | Al Mayadeen English.


Artificial intelligence
worrisome for a lot of reasons…not just hunting mushrooms.


That’s par for the course, you can’t learn to forage through them books.

The people that work on their own cars will understand this one. You know that there is a baseline level of knowledge to anything you do there; you understand how the engine and components work, where things should be in general, the in and outs of bolts (whether they are stuck or unconventional), know how to jack up and secure the car in order to work in it, and even how to organize your tools and parts so the whole work flows.

Now imagine expecting somebody with no knowledge of cars to learn auto mechanics by handling them a Haynes manual of their car. It is not going to work so hot when they snap their first bolt on the engine case and the book procedures are not even saying anything about that. To you and I the Hayes manual is great; all the torques, bolt specifications, and tidbits that makes life easier. It assumes you know how to extract stuck bolts and the best tools for the task.

Learning foraging is the same way; give me half an hour I can make you a subject matter expert in a singular mushroom. I can make sure that, if you just put in just 1/4 ounce of common sense, there will be no way in hell you could confuse it with anything else. You can’t achieve the same through any books because the pictures suck and you don’t know if you are seeing what the words are saying you should be seeing.

For wannabe foragers:

  • Find somebody to teach you the ropes.
  • Pick only the easy ones.
  • Learn the ones you will always consider suspect because there are lookalikes that will make you regret it.
  • Stay away from the deep end of the pool unless you really know how to swim.

Makes me think there will come a time when recorded information is broken into “before AI” and "after AI; in fact, that’s really what we’re doing right now. The initial period will be full of suspect information, then gradually AI generated material will improve, and then it will be preferred.

Just my two bits worth of mulling.


In the big scheme of things it makes no difference. People where an ignorant superstitious mess before the Gutenberg press made knowledge more readily accessible, they are an ignorant superstitious mess today. If somebody cares to take a wager I would bet they will be an ignorant superstitious mess in the future.

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Not everybody learns the same … some listen well in class and ask questions, others get it by studying the book and doing homework. And some only learn by doing, as in on job training.

(And some of the younger set seem to learn nothing if they can’t find it on their i-pad!)

The innovation has already occurred. This is not gradual. What is being called generative A-I today are models of English syntax that, given a few words, can predict the next word to follow. What they produce is plausibility, not truth.

As Pontius Pilatus once said, “Yes, you can improve plausibility for sure, but you can’t make it be true.”


Funny, I thought that was Abraham Lincoln. Or was it Yogi Berra? :wink: