- Social media users and fellow internet stars are completely blown away by YouTuber David Dobrik, who just gave away thousands of dollars worth of cash and gifts to fans during the coronavirus pandemic.
- In a surprise vlog, Dobrik teamed up with EA to personally distribute items like iPads, game consoles, $10,000 checks, and even cars.
- Though Dobrik said he is not returning to his regular posting schedule until the virus settles, the video has brought some much-needed joy to millions of viewers.
Dobrik Returns With New Vlog
One of YouTube’s most popular creators, David Dobrik, is being praised on social media after surprising dozens of fans with some incredibly generous gifts.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the 23-year old vlogger has taken a break from uploading his regular content, which often includes crazy stunts and fun moments with all of his friends. Those videos, of course, are basically impossible to film right now because of social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders.
But Dobrik broke his hiatus on Friday with a video that has warmed millions of hearts. “I’ve gotten a lot of messages from you guys that have been affected by all of this corona stuff, and it sucks,” he said in the video.
“I really wanted to see if I can help, so I partnered up with my friends at EA, and we did just that.”
The video goes on to show Dobrik and his team giving away stacks of iPads, Playstation 4’s, and Xbox One X’s. And as you can imagine, his fans reacted with tears, screams, and smiles.
At one point in the vlog, Dobrik throws frisbees to his fans, which each have some cash taped to the bottom. Then he takes it a step further, using a t-shirt cannon to launch some of his merch with checks for $10,000 hidden inside each.
Just when you think he’s done, Dobrik throws in some more insane gifts. In true David Dobrik fashion, the YouTuber proceeds to give away some brand new cars, and the reactions were just as awesome as you’d expect.
In a comment pinned under the video, Dobrik said, “I found most of the people in this video by them texting me address and what situation they are going through.”
“We are always going to try to do more stuff like this especially when quarantine is over and we start visiting more cities!!” he added before sharing a phone number fans can reach out to.
Dobrik warned that he still won’t be returning to his regular uploading schedule until the virus is under control, but for many fans, this latest upload was a much needed-boost of joy that’s helping hold them over in the meantime.
Friends and Fans Show Praise
Shortly after the vlog was uploaded, Dobrik became a trending topic on Twitter. Viewers praised him for his generosity, with some even admitting that the video brought them to tears.
As many fans already know, Dobrik is an undocumented immigrant and DACA recipient. DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a policy that shields some young undocumented immigrants, who often arrived at a very young age in circumstances beyond their control, from deportation.
After seeing the video, fellow DACA recipients said they were especially inspired by his success and acts of kindness.
Fellow internet stars even chimed in, expressing their love and admiration for Dobrik as well.
this was genuinely so awesome man, inspiring— RyansAverageLife (@RyanAbe) April 24, 2020
Dobrik is just one of several influencers trying to brighten up people’s lives during the pandemic. And though we might not see another vlog from him for a while, it seems Dobrik can’t wait to get back into the swing of things.
“I MISS IT SO MUCH and im ready to go when its time!!!!!” he wrote in his pinned YouTube comment, adding, “thank you for showing me so much support even when im not posting stuff. Seriously means the world.”
See what others are saying: (Elite Daily) (Dexerto) (Metro)
Black Mirror or Reality? Microsoft Granted Patent for Tech That Lets It Create Chatbots of Dead People
- Microsoft has been granted a patent that would allow it to create artificial intelligence chatbots of dead people using “voice data, social media posts, electronic messages, written letters, etc.”
- As Microsoft noted in its patent proposal, chatbots could also be created to imitate living people — opening the door for users to train a digital version of themselves to be used after they die.
- In the patent filing, Microsoft also suggested creating 2D or 3D models of chatbot subjects by studying images and videos of them.
- Online, many noted the similarities between Microsoft’s patent and a 2013 episode of Black Mirror in which a woman creates an AI version of her deceased boyfriend.
Microsoft Granted Controversial Patent
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted Microsoft a patent for technology that would allow it digitally revive dead people.
If implemented, Microsoft would use information like “voice data, social media posts, electronic messages, written letters, etc.,” to create artificial intelligence chatbots meant to replicate the person.
In its filing, Microsoft noted that the person could be “a friend, a relative, an acquaintance, a celebrity, a fictional character, a historical figure, a random entity, etc.”
Microsoft also noted, “the specific person may also correspond to oneself (e.g., the user creating/training the chat bot), or a version of oneself (e.g., oneself at a particular age or stage of life).”
As The Independent pointed out, that opens up the door for living users to be able to “train a digital replacement in the event of their death.”
But it doesn’t stop there. Microsoft has also suggested creating 2D or even 3D models of the person by studying images and videos of them.
Has Life Finally Become an Episode of Black Mirror?
Online, many noted the similarities between Microsoft’s patent and a 2013 episode of Black Mirror in which a character, played by Hayley Atwell, revives her recently-deceased boyfriend through an AI chatbot. As the episode progresses, that AI — played by Domhnall Gleeson — eventually becomes an exact replica android of her boyfriend.
“More people that need to remember Black Mirror is a warning sign, not a product manual,” said Tama Leaver, an internet studies professor at Curtin University in Australia.
Indeed, many critics have interpreted the episode, which focuses on the grief felt by Atwell’s character because of her loss, as an examination of “our own mortality and our desire to play God.”
“It shines a spotlight on our desperate need to reverse a natural and necessary part of life without considering the consequences on our emotional well-being,” Roxanne Sancto said in a review for Paste Magazine.
In fact, series creator Charlie Brooker said part of his direct inspiration for writing the episode was based on Twitter and the question: “What if these people were dead and it was software emulating their thoughts?”
See what others are saying: (The Independent) (IGN) (Indie Wire)
JoJo Siwa Fans Caution Against Labeling the Star’s Sexuality
- JoJo Siwa was featured in two TikTok videos Wednesday that many felt signaled her as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
- One showed her dancing and lip-syncing to Paramore’s “Aint It Fun,” along with members of the TikTok group Pride House LA. Siwa specifically mouthed the lyric “Now you’re one of us,” which is also the caption of the post.
- The second video showed her lip-syncing to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” a song that has long been heralded as an LGBTQ+ anthem.
- The 17-year-old entertainer has not directly addressed speculations about her sexuality, prompting many to caution against labeling her.
JoJo Siwa TikToks Trigger Sexuality Speculations
JoJo Siwa fans are urging the public not to label the 17-year-old entertainer’s sexuality, especially when she has not explicitly done so herself.
The request came after Siwa became a trending topic Wednesday when many speculated that she had come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
The speculations stem from two TikTok videos she was featured in. The first was posted on choreographer Kent Boyd’s account. It features him and other members of the TikTok group Pride House LA, which includes several stars from Disney Channel’s “Teen Beach Movie.”
It showed them all lip-syncing and dancing along to Paramore’s hit song “Ain’t It Fun.” Siaw specifically mouthed the lyric “Now you’re one of us.” That lyric was also the caption of the post.
Later in the day, Siwa posted a video on her personal TikTok account that featured her lip-syncing to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” a song that has long been heralded as an LGBTQ+ anthem.
Part of the lyrics she sang along to were: “No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian transgender life / I’m on the right track baby, I was born to survive.”
These posts really started all the rumors online, and things picked up when influencers like James Charles, Bretman Rock, and others expressed their support.
Many fans also left comments on the videos saying they were proud of her, and journalist Yashar Ali tweeted, “This feels like a big deal if it is what I think it is…JoJo Siwa is hugely popular with kids.”
“And as someone just pointed out, if it is what I think it is, she’s doing it at the height of her fame when she’s selling out arenas,” he continued.
Despite the wave of praise, other fans feel that it’s inappropriate and harmful to make speculations about anyone’s sexuality.
Many have even shared their own experiences coming out, reminding people not to label Siwa as anything until she explicitly chooses to share that information herself.
While Siwa hasn’t directly addressed any of the responses as of yet, she has retweeted a post that features her video, the pride flag emoji, and the caption, “@itsjojosiwa is on the right track, she was born this way.”
Still, others also noted that she has publicly asked Lady Gaga to collaborate with her in the past, so perhaps this is a signal about that happening soon.
Others believe it could also be Siwa’s way of signaling that she is an ally of the LGBTQ+ community.
See what others are saying: (Insider) (Metro) (Teen Vogue)
Google Investigates Top AI Researcher Who Was Looking Into a Previous Firing
- Google is investigating the co-leader of its Ethical AI team, Margaret Mitchell.
- While Mitchell has not been fired, her account has been locked because Google said she “exfiltrated thousands of files” and shared them with people outside of the company.
- In a tweet, Mitchell indicated that she had been “documenting current critical issues” related to the firing of another Google AI Ethicist in December.
- Sources reportedly told Axios that Mitchell had been specifically looking for messages that showed discriminatory treatment of that fired researcher.
Google Investigates Margaret Mitchell
On Tuesday, Google stated that it is now investigating the co-leader of its Ethical Al team, Margaret Mitchell.
Mitchell has reportedly not been fired, but her company email account has been locked.
According to Google, its security systems automatically lock employee accounts “when they detect that the account is at risk of compromise due to credential problems or when an automated rule involving the handling of sensitive data has been triggered.”
In this case, Google said Mitchell “exfiltrated thousands of files” and then shared them with people outside of the company.
Why Did Mitchell Begin Looking Through Files?
Mitchell’s investigation is related to the ousting of another top AI ethicist at Google, Timnit Gebru, who was fired at the beginning of December.
Before Gebru was fired, managers reportedly instructed her to withdraw an unpublished research paper upon her return from vacation. In an email to the internal listserv Google Brain Women and Allies, Gebru then voiced frustration at managers for allegedly making the decision without her input.
“You are not worth having any conversations about this, since you are not someone whose humanity (let alone expertise recognized by journalists, governments, scientists, civic organizations such as the electronic frontiers foundation etc) is acknowledged or valued in this company,” Gebru said in a critique of the decision.
Gebru’s firing led to such a massive outcry from Google employees that Google CEO Sundar Pichai pledged to investigate the situation.
On Friday, Mitchell indicated in a tweet that she was also looking into Gebru’s firing, saying that she was “documenting current critical issues from [Gebru’s] firing, point by point, inside and outside work.”
According to Axios, sources have said that Mitchell used automated scripts to siphon through messages that potentially document discriminatory treatment against Gebru.