June 14, 2023
San Jose restaurant unveils a ChatGPT-designed pizza
Al Vallorz, the creative co-owner of Tony & Alba’s Pizza & Pasta, is always looking for an edge, something fun to keep diners interested and coming back for more. For years, the San Jose chef-restaurateur has designed a pizza of the month — like October’s popular bratwurst and gouda; figs and blue cheese in August; and Turkey, brie and cranberry sauce for November. To maintain high spirits during the pandemic, he shared puns with customers. Oh, and he makes a James Bond-style pasta dish, a “shaken, not stirred” carbonara. He’s also curious about technology, so last month he started feeding requests into ChatGPT, asking it to write a song about the restaurant along with a few puns (“not as funny as mine,” he says) and a story or two. Then it hit him. Father’s Day is coming up, and he hadn’t decided on a pizza of the month for June. Could this Artificial intelligence tool help out? “Design a Father’s Day pizza,” he typed into the app. “All of a sudden — 10, 15 seconds later — it kicks it out,” he said. Pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, sliced sausage links, bacon, Memphis barbecue sauce, red onions, cilantro. ChatGPT was smart enough to avoid that most polarizing of pizza toppings, pineapple, and even bypass the debate over thin crust vs. thick crust vs. deep dish. The recipe said simply, “pizza crust.” Vallorz was impressed. He figures ChatGPT generated the meat and barbecue sauce ideas from the Father’s Day content it scours. Dads are always at the barbecue grill, right? He stuck with the recipe, using links from Sunnyvale’s New York Style Sausage Co. and Italian bacon (pancetta). After baking, he drizzled the barbecue sauce and sprinkled cilantro over the pie. “It’s a futuristic pizza,” said wife and co-owner Diana Salciccia Vallorz, so they named it “The Jetsons,” though most people just call it the AI pizza. Customer reaction has been predictable. “Younger people try it because it’s AI,” said Al. “Older people say, ‘What’s AI?’ ” When that happens, Diana said, they explain it’s a computer-designed combination of ingredients. The pizza even passed muster with Alba Salciccia herself, the 84-year-old restaurant founder who is Diana’s mother and Al’s mother-in-law. A purist whose favorite is a simple cheese and basil pie, she ate a small slice of the AI pizza and pronounced it pretty good. Al launched it May 25 and will offer it for Father’s Day and the rest of the month of June — and longer, as long as customers keep requesting it, and he’s got the ingredients on hand. But the July pizza of the month will be all-human-generated. It’s Diana’s birthday month, so she gets to decide on toppings. As for ChatGPT’s future at this restaurant, the couple thinks it’s missing the human touch. However, Al can see perhaps using this “employee” to help answer the phone when the staff gets busy, maybe in a different voice each time. “Thank you for calling Tony & Alba’s,” he says the Sinatra voice could croon. “What would you like tonight?” Alba interjects with “Dean Martin.” Her favorite needs to be in the rotation. But what about devising more recipes for the kitchen? Is the family livelihood in jeopardy? Al shakes his head. “You can’t replace a paesano. They’ll always give you great food and a great time.” Details: 3137 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose; .
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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