EPIC FAIL: MUSHROOM IDENTIFYING APP CAN’T IDENTIFY…. MUSHROOMS
With all the dangerous developments in the world involving technology and its new applications one normally wouldn’t assume that a basic service would fail to deliver on its…. Basic service. Well, aside from all of telecom and cable providers, that is. Anyway, if you wanted to accidentally poison yourself and were tempted to purchase an app that totally didn’t tell you which wild mushrooms were safe to eat we’ve got the app for you.
NOW CALLED TRUFFLE, APP STILL FAILS TO DELIVER
An app called Truffle (which was known as “Mushroom”) hit the market with the claim to “identify any mushroom instantly with just a pic.” Now while that would be an amazing application of technology, identifying mushrooms accurately has been a historic challenge. Even specialists called mycologists run into trouble making identifications in their own specialization. So an app “for that” is risky business, the kind that results in a horrible, painful death.
IMPOSSIBLE TO SATISFY iOS SOMEHOW APPROVES MUSHROOM APP THAT CAN KILL YOU
This past week, both the Verge and Motherboard tried out the iOS-only app and discovered it was unable to reliably identify common shrooms like button, chestnut or shiitaki mushrooms. The creator, Nicholas Sheriff, admitted to Motherboard it was still in beta and intended only as a reference tool.
Microbiology PhD and mushroom forager Colin Davidson told the Verge his area is populated with the yellow stainer, a mushroom which can make people who consume it violently ill and is indistinguishable from another edible variety without touching or smelling it. Other kinds are much more deadly, like the death cap, which looks and tastes great until it floods your liver with amatoxin.
iOS APPROVED APP “IN BETA”, ONLY A REFERENCE TOOL (FOR TOOLS)
“One-eighth of a death cap can kill you,” Davidson said. “But the worst part is, you’ll feel sick for a while, then you might feel better and get on with your day, but then your organs will start failing. It’s really horrible.”
“I’m absolutely enthralled by the idea of it,” Davidson added. “… But I would want quite a lot of convincing that it would be able to work.”
Since the bad coverage, the name of the app has changed from Mushroom to Truffle and the claims in its description have been downplayed. Where it previously said “our revolutionary AI will instantly identify mushrooms, flowers, and even birds,” it now says “White Truffles retail for over $7,000 a pound! Simply point your phone at a black or white truffle mushroom and take a pic, our tech will try and determine if it is, in fact, a truffle or not.”
“DON’T WANT TO DIE” AN IN-APP PURCHASE?
In a change log, the app said “We will be the #1 platform for all things Truffles.”
Just to be clear, so-called false truffles can still be toxic, and other kinds of highly poisonous mushrooms can be mistaken for truffles at various parts of their life stage. Truffle hunting is a lot harder than just going out into the woods and pointing your phone at random fungi, and being wrong could cost you a lot more than $7,000 a pound.