Peter Rhodes on AI, the CofE and the enduring appeal of CS&N

Asda is scrapping “use by” dates on some of its own-brand products to reduce the amount of food chucked away. Instead, an advisory “best before” message will be used. Experts point out that food opened after its “best before” date can be judged by the “sniff test.”

David Crosby - icon of the Sixties. Photo: Rebecca Cook/Reuters
David Crosby - icon of the Sixties. Photo: Rebecca Cook/Reuters

Those of us with a poor sense of smell can always use our ears with the “is it humming yet?” test.

So farewell, David Crosby, icon of the 1960s and founder of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash. He's a reminder that the Sixties was not all about The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. That magical time gave birth to a vast range of musical styles and, on the folk fringe, some astounding performers. None was more impressive than CS&N. To have been a teenager in love in 1969 with Marrakesh Express belting out of your stereo was to have been greatly blessed. “Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive. But to be young was very heaven,” as David Crosby would have written if someone else hadn't beaten him to it.

And well done, Auntie Beeb, on hearing of Crosby's death, for juggling the BBC4 schedules for a 30-minute concert with David Crosby and Graham Nash. Perfection undimmed by time.

Spookiest thing on the radio recently came on the religion programme Sunday (Radio 4) featuring an Artificial Intelligence (AI) program which can write sermons. The result was an inoffensive stringing-together of platitudes which, though mocked by the studio guests, was probably as good as the average sermon preached by the average vicar to the average bored congregation.

The question is, what comes next? Technology advances with dizzying speed. How long before AI states its case for a seat on the General Synod. How far in the future is the first AI Archbishop of Canterbury?

Time alone will tell whether the former Chancellor and chairman of the Tory Party Nadhim Zahawi has been entirely straight in all his financial affairs. One thing is certain. If a 55-year-old multi-millionaire politician wants to look dead dodgy, he can choose no finer outfit than a pulled-down baseball cap and trainers, as Zahawi chose for a much-filmed stroll around London. Dressing like that at his age may not be a criminal offence but it certainly ought to be.

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