"Using AI To Spot Edible Mushrooms Could Kill You"

"AI tools are good for some things, but don’t trust your health to apps that make frequent mistakes"

"In mushroom foraging, there’s little room for error. Researcher Rick Claypool learned this the hard way.

A few months into his foraging hobby, Claypool picked a basket of what he thought were honey mushrooms, fried them in a pan and ate them with ramen noodles. Then his stomach felt weird.

Fast-forward through some frantic Googling and a trip to the emergency room, Claypool learned he’d been right in the first place — the mushrooms weren’t poisonous. Doctors labeled his symptoms as a panic attack and sent him home.

Others haven’t been so lucky. An Oregon family was hospitalized in 2015 after eating mushrooms an identification app indicated were safe, according to news reports. An Ohio man became seriously ill in 2022 after eating poisonous mushrooms, also misidentified by an app. Confidently identifying wild mushrooms requires expertise, Claypool said, and tech tools haven’t measured up."

Tatum Hunter reports for the Washington Post March 18, 2024.

Source: Washington Post, 03/19/2024