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The Willy Wonka World of AI

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Is AI a good or bad thing?

As I write my daily blog, I’ve realised that it seems to ask a question almost every single day. By way of example, just checkout my blog index and read the titles of the entries. A few recent examples:

It made me realise that every day I wake up and have a question in my head. I cannot answer those questions, but this blog is my way of messing about with it. I guess it is because I am intensely curious and yes, I’ve blogged about that before so, what question would we ask today? Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? Where is my future? How do I make a cake? Or, more importantly: is AI a good or bad thing?

It amused me the other day that there was an attraction that people signed up for in Britain. It was a Willy Wonka celebration. I’m sure you all know about Willy Wonka, Roald Dahl’s creation for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Oompah Loompahs*, but the truth was that the attraction had just been created using AI.

The organisers seemed to rely on AI for certain aspects of the “experience”. Promotional materials on Facebook were AI-generated, and so poorly done that the text on them was complete gibberish. Actors were handed script pages full of AI “nonsense”, and when they asked how certain things were going to work logistically they were told to “improvise”.

The Oompah Loompas were angry and there was no chocolate, but it looked good online. So, what happened?

Well, a company launched the “Willy Wonka Experience Glasgow”, and used AI to create their promotional graphics. Here they are:

Wow! It looks amazing and, at just £35 a ticket ($40), it seemed well worth the money. But then people turned up and this was the reality …

An empty warehouse with nothing really in it, except a few actors who appeared super motivated.

It turns out the whole event was created by an alleged serial scammer Billy Coull, who also appears to be using AI to crank out low-quality self-published books on Amazon. Talking of low quality, take a look at the scripts the actors got:

Well, the forces rebelled. Children were crying, parents were angry and the police were called. All parents were promised their money would be refunded and the whole thing wasn’t Wonka, it was just wonky.

The dangers of using AI to create events is demonstrated in real life.

Meanwhile, the new film about Wonka has gained a pretty good rating on IMDB and included this wonderful speech by Hugh Grant at the BAFTAs.


* It is reported that the Oompah Loompahs were based on slaves. As CBR reports the first edition of Dahl's novel, Oompa Loompas were Black pygmies Willy Wonka imported from “the deepest and darkest part of the African jungle”, according to Jeremy Treglown's Roald Dahl: A Biography.


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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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