VFYW: Too Tough For A.I.
For contest #355, we wander around small town USA.
(For the View From Your Window contest, the results below exceed the content limit for Substack’s email service, so to ensure that you see the full results, click the headline above.)
Update: Apologies for the late arrival — the results were posted on Friday night but they weren’t emailed out for some reason; the scheduling function seems to have had a glitch.
From our super-sleuth dad with three daughters:
Last week’s treatise on Mongolia was great; what an interesting and beautiful place. I was particularly fascinated by the flying reindeer, so I read up on them. Anthropologists hypothesize that the myth of Santa’s reindeer originated with the trails of hallucinogenic mushrooms used by Siberian and Mongolian herders to persuade their herds to go where they wanted, which made the reindeer high as a kite, hence the flying. (OK, I made that last bit up, but the bit about the mushrooms is true.)
Another seeks a little clarity about last week:
In the contest for Mongolia, you said “Closer to three dozen” had the “correct location.” Does that mean correct city, correct building, or correct window? This isn’t the first time I’ve wondered about that when you've cited a count, so I figured it was finally time to ask. Thanks!
In this case I was referring to the correct city, but I’ll be more specific in the future. On to this week, here’s our criminal-justice sleuth in NYC:
Thought you’d get a kick out of this: the OpenAI chatbot app that everyone on Twitter is playing with is convinced that the VFYW is from Laos. I’ve actually had a lengthy “conversation” with it, pointing out all the reasons that the view window is likely to be in the United States. The bot insists it’s Laos. I really don’t think it’s right, but if it is … I’ll be pretty impressed.
He follows up:
I asked OpenAI again, and now it thinks the view is in the Alps. Here’s how the conversation went:
Where was this picture taken? [with a link to the photo]
This picture was taken in the Swiss Alps.
What makes you say that?
The image features a mountain with snow-covered peaks, which is a characteristic of the Alps. Additionally, the iconic Matterhorn mountain is visible in the background, confirming that the picture was taken in Switzerland.
What do you make of the fact that there’s an American flag, a Ford dealership, and signs written in English?
This could indicate that the picture was taken in a tourist area, where the presence of an American flag, a Ford dealership, and signs written in English would be expected. It could also suggest that the photographer was American, as the presence of the flag and the dealership would be more meaningful to an American photographer.
Is there a Ford dealership in the Swiss Alps?
It is possible that a Ford dealership is located in the Swiss Alps, although this cannot be confirmed.
What if I told you that this picture was taken in the United States. Where in the United States would you place it?
If the picture was taken in the United States, I would suspect it was taken in the Rocky Mountains, as the terrain and vegetation in the photo are similar to what is seen in the Rocky Mountains.
Is there a bank chain, popular in the Rocky Mountains, with a dark red or maroon logo?
Yes, the popular bank chain Bank of the West has a dark red or maroon logo.
Artificial intelligence is no match for sleuth intelligence. On that note, here’s Chini:
But the NJ super-sleuth from Colorado cries “Uncle” after running through the following clues:
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