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Calling All Grinches: This New Pentatonix Song Is Sure to Get You in the Christmas Spirit
Do aliens... EXIST? Or is it a distraction?
Yesterday, whistleblower David Charles Grusch, a decorated Air Force veteran claimed the Department of Defense has a secret team aimed at "retrieving non-human origin technical vehicles, call it spacecraft if you will, non-human exotic origin vehicles that have either landed or crashed."
Talk about UFOs and aliens has typically been siloed to the realm of sci-fi and "conspiracy theories." However, in recent years, publicized evidence of UFOs and whistleblowers, like David Grusch, have brought the once fantastical subjects into the mainstream. Could it be that alien life forms do, in fact, exist? Have they already arrived and been kept secret underneath the government's nose? Or could this all be a ruse to distract us from more pressing stories in the news cycle?
We want to hear from YOU! Do YOU think aliens and UFOs are a distraction tactic, or do you think there's truth behind these whistleblowers?
Do you believe the government has intel about UFOs?
Do you believe the government has intel about alien life?
Do you believe the government is hiding this intel from the general public?
Do you believe alien life exists?
Do you think the media is using this story to distract us from other issues?
Remembering D-Day: We are called to the same standard
79 years ago today, my grandfather jumped out of a plane. He was 17 years old when he joined the 101st Airborne Division, and at the ripe age of 18, he boarded a C-47 aircraft with the rest of his company destined for Normandy. On June 6, 1944, he jumped out of that plane onto Utah Beach, becoming a part of what would become the largest amphibious invasion in military history, Operation Overlord, or, as it's more commonly known, D-Day.
Though only 18, my grandfather was one of the oldest soldiers in his company. He recounted how many, like himself, lied about their age in order to have their shot at fighting for their country. As Omaha Beach veteran Frank Devita recounted:
We were all kids. We were too young to drink. We were too young to vote. And we were too young to die.
And many of them did.
On June 6, 1944, almost 160,000 troops from the United States, the British Commonwealth, and their allies began what would become the ultimate demise of the Third Reich, concluding one of the darkest chapters in human history. 2,500 of these soldiers were American boys who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Normandy, where most of them remain, their bodies never making it back home to the country for which they paid the ultimate price.
2,500 of these soldiers were American boys who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Normandy.
Underwood Archives / Contributor | Getty Images
In an age seemingly devoid of courage and virtue, it is natural to picture these soldiers as the greatest of men. And they were. However, we must remember these exemplars of manhood were boys, young boys, who exhibited the courage and virtue that we so seldom see in those twice their age today.
We must remember these exemplars of manhood were boys.
Remembering D-Day is not only sobering regarding the loss of life and innocence; it's sobering to consider how far our country has strayed from the ideals exemplified by the "greatest generation."
79 years ago, Americans knew what they were fighting for. As a Jewish man born in Berlin, witnessing the rise of fascism and socialism at the expense of individual liberty and the sanctity of life, my grandfather was eager to go back to his birthplace as an American soldier to fight for the fundamental principles of life and liberty that he and his family had been denied in Nazi Germany.
They were some of the lucky individuals who were able to escape—and there's a reason why he and his family chose America as their new homeland. The life and liberty they had been denied in Germany were regarded as sacred in the United States.
Yet, do we still regard these things as sacred?
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / Contributor | Getty Images
Most of the United States still hold that the sanctity of life is contingent upon convenience and circumstance. Economic policies continue to morph closer to the socialism adopted by the rest of the world in the 20th century, penalizing the success and merit that was once tantalizing to immigrants like my grandfather. Moreover, 2020 extinguished any doubt that the freedoms we hold dear are expendable at the whims of our ruling class.
This isn't the same America that provided refuge to my grandfather's family nor is it the same country that he and his brothers-in-arms fought for.
On this anniversary of D-Day, it is important that we remember the sacrifice given by the young American boys, who became the greatest of men, on the beaches of Normandy. However, perhaps it is just as important to remember that we are called to the very same standard as they so powerfully exemplified: to love our country and the principles of life and freedom that stand in stark contrast to much of the onlooking world and to have the courage to defend it, even if it requires the level courage that these young men were called to.
5 new AI your children may be using and how to counter them
With the rapid emergence of widely available AI, it's no surprise many parents are concerned about how interacting with AI might affect their children. It feels like we are just barely beginning to understand how the internet and social media affect childhood development. Now, we suddenly have a whole new dimension to unpack, with reports of people developing emotional attachments to AI and students using AI to write entire essays. It's no wonder why some parents are starting to feel overwhelmed.
Here are 5 of the most prevalent AI programs discoverable to children and the options parents have to deal with them.
Snapchat “My AI”
Image of chat with MyAI on Snapchat
What is it?
My AI is an AI chatbot built into Snapchat. It's designed to look just like another human user, though it will always stay on top of the "Chat" page and can be identified by a robot emoji on the right side of the screen. The bot can be given a custom name and avatar, answer questions, chat, and provide recommendations, much like ChatGPT—the software that powers My AI, albeit less powerful.
Like ChatGPT, My AI has many biases—typically left-leaning, and is subject to mistakes and inaccuracies. Unlike ChatGTP however, My AI may claim to be a real person and a friend to the user, which might be misleading to a young person. Perhaps most disturbing, it can access your location—provided you allow Snapchat to know your location.
If you want to protect your children from My AI, you have a few different options.
The first is to disable My AI within Snapchat. Naturally, Snapchat has made disabling the bot a premium feature, only available to Snapchat+ subscribers. Assuming your child does not already have a Snapchat+ subscription, you can purchase a one-month subscription for $3.99, disable My AI from the Snapchat+ management screen, then cancel the subscription. Users are reporting that once the subscription ends the bot remains disabled, though note that your child can easily re-enable the feature at any time and it cannot be password protected.
Your other options are to either block or limit the use of the entire app from within the settings of your children's phones or to educate your child on the dangers and nature of AI.
What is it?
ChatGPT is one of the most popular AI programs available on the internet. Its sophistication and power make it as formidable as it is fascinating. Glenn had a conversation with ChatGPT, which demonstrated its power and intelligence. It's an AI-powered chatbot and much like other chatbots, it can answer questions, chat, and provide recommendations. It can also write essays, do math worksheets, translate back and forth between many languages, write computer code, and much more. Like My AI, it can be inaccurate at times and has major left-leaning biases. The company responsible for ChatGPT, OpenAI, has other AI tools, such as DALL·E 2, an image creation program that utilizes the same AI as ChatGPT.
If you want to protect your children from ChatGPT, you have a few different options.
The first and most important thing to do is to make sure that your children know that using ChatGPT or any other AI to do homework, write essays or complete tests or quizzes IS CHEATING. There have been multiple stories recently about students using ChatGPT to write papers or do homework and the consequences they faced once they got caught. Long story short, it never ends well for the student. Make sure your children understand that although AIs are not humans, using them to complete school work IS STILL cheating.
If you want to prevent your children from accessing ChatGPT altogether, you can block it along with other websites using your web browser's child settings. Here are instructions on how to block websites for your child on Google Chrome.
What is it?
Replika is an online companion that custom builds an AI "companion," a chatbot with a customizable name and avatar. Though similar to My AI, Replika creates an avatar whose appearance and function is much more lifelike than My AI, and, consequently, more intimate. Replika advertises itself as "The AI companion who cares" and will remember things that are important to you in order to be the perfect "companion."
The app rewards users for time spent talking with their AI companions with points that can be spent on unlocking more clothes, jewelry, hairstyles, accessories, etc., and gives the user the option to skip the points altogether and purchase the digital items with real money, a common tactic in apps and mobile games.
The major thing that sets Replika apart from other chatbots is its ability to "role play," flirt, and send "hot photos." These features, which play a major role in Replika's advertising, are meant to promote Replika's use as a replacement for a "partner."
If you want to protect your children from Replika, you really only have one option.
You can block the app and website on your children's devices. Replika does not have a child mode or any way to disable explicit content, it is either all or nothing.
What is it?
AI Dungeon is a spin-off of the popular role-playing game, "Dungeons and Dragons." It's a text-based game where the player chooses or creates a scenario and plays out the scenario with the AI. For example, the player might be cast in the role of a knight and can type out what the knight says and does, and the AI will give text responses to the players' actions in an attempt to create an interactive story.
The game can be played for free, but players can also purchase access to more powerful AI, which in theory creates better stories. Moreover, you can purchase additional game modes. The major concern is that the AI can generate explicit material as well as violent scenarios, which it can describe quite graphically.
If you want to protect your children from AI Dungeon you really only have one option:
You can turn on "safe mode" from within the app settings, but it can easily be deactivated. Your best bet is to block the app on your children's devices.
What is it?
It might surprise you to learn that the algorithm that decides what content gets recommended to you on YouTube is AI-powered. It sorts through millions of videos and decides which ones to recommend to you based on many factors, such as the channels you are subscribed to, your watch history, trending videos, etc. The goal of this AI algorithm is to keep you hooked and watching, which generates ad revenue for YouTube.
YouTube is owned by Google, and both companies have a long track record of left-wing biases, which permeates YouTube's algorithm. This can lead to videos about gun safety being labeled as "promoting violence" and videos of drag queens being promoted to children.
If you want to protect your children from the YouTube algorithm, you have a few different options.
You can set up a YouTube Kids account for your children, which gives you a lot of control over what your child can and can not find and watch on YouTube. Be warned, due to YouTube's left lean, videos such as "Drag Queen Storytime" are still available, though the channels that post them can be blocked.
It might take a while to set up properly, and things may get through the cracks, but you could set up a relatively safe YouTube account for your children. The other option, of course, is to block YouTube on your kids' devices, and web browsers, keeping them from accessing it at all.
TAKE THE POLL: Are your CHILDREN using AI?
It feels like lately hardly a week can go by without some new AI advancement—or warning—making headlines, but unless you have been paying VERY close attention you might believe the power of AI is something relegated to technical institutions or Silicon Valley labs and only accessible by the most highly trained computer wizards. But as Glenn has demonstrated, AI can now be accessed by anyone with internet access and can take many different shapes and forms—not just that of the ominous and awkward ChatBot. In fact, you are probably using AI without even realizing it.
If AI can enter into your life without you realizing it, would you even know if your CHILDREN were interacting with it?
We want to hear from YOU. Do you allow your children to use AI? Do you know if they are? Do you use AI? Are you aware of the many shapes and forms AI can take?