For this year’s Stupid Hackathon — which is exactly what it sounds like: a hackathon devoted to pointless technological developments — programmer Max Goodman made a program that automatically orders a randomly selected meal from a randomly chosen restaurant. This is only minorly stupid, of course. What catapults the app, Picnic, to masterpiece-level stupidity is that it sends the food to a randomly chosen address, and then orders you an Uber to transport you there. Over the weekend, he tried it out.
You can see Goodman testing the app here, astonished that it might set in motion a chain of unforeseen events, bending humans to the will of the machine.
The test run was, I would say, a rousing success.
But there was a shocking twist.
Recounting his odyssey for Motherboard, Goodman wrote:
My picnic taught me a few things: With the right perspective, even a quiet gas station at the edge of the city can be an interesting place to visit. That aimlessness is a necessary state of mind, worth making time for. (Also that I don’t really like dolmas very much, but that’s okay.) And finally, to be ready for a picnic anywhere at any time, you’d really better bring your own utensils.
The code for Picnic, which functions as a Chrome browser extension, is available on Github. You’ll need to set your browser to dev mode in order to use it. Goodman writes that “the code is very hacky, and certainly contains bugs,” so use at your own peril!