- A viral video shows a woman in Idaho repeatedly punching a German Shepard while wearing boxing gloves, with one hard punch even prompting the dog to yelp.
- Someone off-camera can be heard saying, “Boxer and animal. Where’s Sarah McLachlan?,” referencing the singer and animal rights activist whose songs have been featured in ads for the ASPCA.
- The Idaho Human Society launched an animal cruelty investigation into the incident and said prosecutors could choose to charge the woman with a misdemeanor for beating and harassing animals.
- The charge carries a maximum sentence of up to six months behind bars and as much as $5,000 in fines.
Video Spreads on Social Media
The Idaho Humane Society launched an animal cruelty investigation into a woman who was seen punching a dog while wearing boxing gloves in a video that was reportedly posted on Snapchat.
In the clip, which has since been reshared on other social media sites, the woman is seen repeatedly punching a German Shepherd in the face as if she were boxing with another person.
“Boxer and animal. Where’s Sarah McLachlan?,” someone in the background can be heard saying, referring to the singer and well-known animal-rights activist whose songs have been featured in ads for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
After one especially hard punch, the dog can be heard yelping. “I hit him so hard I felt that through…,” the woman says before the clip ends.
Warning: the video may be disturbing to some viewers.
Animal Cruelty Investigation
The Idaho Humane Society said it launched an official investigation into the video after it received an overwhelming number of calls and emails reporting the incident.
In a Facebook post shared Monday, the organization said the individual was identified and a Humane Officer was sent over to discuss the situation. It added that the investigation is pending review at the local prosecutor’s office for a charging decision.
Prosecutors could choose to charge the woman under Idaho statute 25-3518: Beating and Harassing Animals. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum sentence of up to six months in jail and as much as $5,000 in fines, according to The Idaho Statesman.
Internet User Start Digging
While the organization did not name the woman, internet users and media outlets have identified her as London Miner. Some online have begun doxing her, going so far as to share her home address, phone number, and workplace information. Others have created social profiles dedicated to gathering information about her and keeping track of this case.
As people began drawing attention to the video, a screenshot allegedly between Miner and one of her Snapchat followers surfaced showing her defending her behavior by saying, “He is my dog. He plays ruff and loves playing. I’m the same weight as him. U really think I’m strong enough to hurt him? No.”
When the follower replies with, “That doesn’t look good and you know that,” they are met with the response: “Do u think I care.”
However, another individual messaged a Twitter user that shared the video, claiming that they are the dog’s owner. Still, this person expressed a similar defense, saying, “He plays hard. A girl gonna hit him a little bit and you guys wanna press some girl hitting him with gloves. Never got hurt and was playing the entire time. I’d never let my dog get hurt.”
That account has since been deleted, but on top of that, Heavy reported that Miner’s father is an officer who has worked for the Ada County Sherrif’s Office for over a decade.
Screenshots of a Facebook comment he allegedly posted have also surfaced. The comment explains that the dog is okay but adds, “That dog beats the crap out of our dogs and they all play much harder than that. It’s very silly. But now we are all dealing with people threatening to come to my house and ‘cut’ ‘fuck her up.’”
It’s difficult to verify whether or not any of these screenshots are actually from individuals connected to the incident. Regardless, the Idaho Humane Society has stressed that this situation is being addressed.
The organization asked people to please stop reaching out to them about the clip since it is currently being dealt with. It said the flood of calls reporting the same video “delays other urgent cases from receiving immediate attention.”
“We need other calls, emails, and messages to get through as we are the only animal control agency for the county. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in this matter,” it added in its statement.
See what others are saying: (Independent) (Idaho Statesman) (Heavy)
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.