Something is wrong on the internet – James Bridle – Medium


478 bookmarks. First posted by freerange_inc 12 days ago.


Someone or something or some combination of people and things is using YouTube to systematically frighten, traumatise, and abuse children, automatically and at scale, and it forces me to question my own beliefs about the internet, at every level.

This is content production in the age of algorithmic discovery — even if you’re a human, you have to end up impersonating the machine.

- level of horror and violence on display.
- levels of exploitation, not of children because they are children but of children because they are powerless

Familiar characters, nursery tropes, keyword salad, full automation, violence, and the very stuff of kids’ worst dreams. What concerns me is that this is just one aspect of a kind of infrastructural violence being done to all of us, all of the time, and we’re still struggling to find a way to even talk about it, to describe its mechanisms and its actions and its effects.
internet  video  dadmatters 
yesterday by robertocarroll
The rabbit hole is deep.
internet  video  youtube  children 
2 days ago by rcrowley
RT : Super vous pourriez citer vos sources même si vous avez francisé le sujet
from twitter
2 days ago by Vnoel
What concerns me is that this is just one aspect of a kind of infrastructural violence being done to all of us, all of the time, and we’re still struggling to find a way to even talk about it, to describe its mechanisms and its actions and its effects.
technology  society 
2 days ago by lutzray
When was this published? It sounds like they're just reporting on 's article?
from twitter
2 days ago by mildlydiverting
Someone or something or some combination of people and things is using YouTube to systematically frighten, traumatise, and abuse children, automatically and at scale, and it forces me to question my own beliefs about the internet, at every level
3 days ago by olivierthereaux
I’m James Bridle. I’m a writer and artist concerned with technology and culture. I usually write on my own blog, but frankly I don’t want what I’m talking about here anywhere near my own site. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket  parenting 
4 days ago by christos
YouTube Kids being just the tip of an unpleasant iceberg.
youtube  technology  google  video 
4 days ago by pierce
I’m James Bridle . I’m a writer and artist concerned with technology and culture. I usually write on my own blog, but frankly I don’t want what I’m talking…
from instapaper
4 days ago by cspathis
This is a deeply dark time, in which the structures we have built to sustain ourselves are being used against us — all of us — in systematic and automated ways.
writing  from iphone
5 days ago by iagor
via Pocket - Something is wrong on the internet - Added November 09, 2017 at 10:02AM
IFTTT  Pocket 
5 days ago by BastiRe
It’s not about trolls, but about a kind of violence inherent in the combination of digital systems and capitalist incentives.
algorithmic  demonology 
5 days ago by etymancer
RT : "…there's something weird about a group of people endlessly acting out the implications of generated keywords…"
from twitter_favs
5 days ago by rtanglao
I’m James Bridle. I’m a writer and artist concerned with technology and culture. I usually write on my own blog, but frankly I don’t want what I’m talking about here anywhere near my own site.
Archive 
5 days ago by fraz87
A deep dive into the weird world of kids videos on YouTube. Algorithmically generated content is showing a dark side, and raises interesting questions about ethics, and what the hell we can do about it.

This example uses videos targeted to kids, but is also applicable to political extremism.

The second is the levels of exploitation, not of children because they are children but of children because they are powerless. Automated reward systems like YouTube algorithms necessitate exploitation in the same way that capitalism necessitates exploitation, and if you’re someone who bristles at the second half of that equation then maybe this should be what convinces you of its truth. Exploitation is encoded into the systems we are building, making it harder to see, harder to think and explain, harder to counter and defend against. Not in a future of AI overlords and robots in the factories, but right here, now, on your screen, in your living room and in your pocket.

This, I think, is my point: The system is complicit in the abuse.
And right now, right here, YouTube and Google are complicit in that system. The architecture they have built to extract the maximum revenue from online video is being hacked by persons unknown to abuse children, perhaps not even deliberately, but at a massive scale. I believe they have an absolute responsibility to deal with this, just as they have a responsibility to deal with the radicalisation of (mostly) young (mostly) men via extremist videos — of any political persuasion. They have so far showed absolutely no inclination to do this, which is in itself despicable. However, a huge part of my troubled response to this issue is that I have no idea how they can respond without shutting down the service itself, and most systems which resemble it. We have built a world which operates at scale, where human oversight is simply impossible, and no manner of inhuman oversight will counter most of the examples I’ve used in this essay. The asides I’ve kept in parentheses throughout, if expanded upon, would allow one with minimal effort to rewrite everything I’ve said, with very little effort, to be not about child abuse, but about white nationalism, about violent religious ideologies, about fake news, about climate denialism, about 9/11 conspiracies.
youtube  internet  algorithms  MachineLearning  ai  video  culture  ethics  business 
6 days ago by jefframnani
I’m James Bridle . I’m a writer and artist concerned with technology and culture. I usually write on my own blog, but frankly I don’t want what I’m talking…
from instapaper
6 days ago by dylanc
I’m James Bridle. I’m a writer and artist concerned with technology and culture. I usually write on my own blog, but frankly I don’t want what I’m talking about here anywhere near my own site. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket 
6 days ago by joostw
I’m James Bridle . I’m a writer and artist concerned with technology and culture. I usually write on my own blog, but frankly I don’t want what I’m talking…
from instapaper
6 days ago by larstomas
“Something is wrong on the internet” by

Super bizarre article about algorithmically produced kids vids
from twitter
7 days ago by kitoconnell
I can't imagine having children (with access to the internet).
internet  video 
7 days ago by djtrischler
I’m James Bridle. I’m a writer and artist concerned with technology and culture. I usually write on my own blog, but frankly I don’t want what I’m talking about here anywhere near my own site.
share 
7 days ago by gregdavisdotca
Long read.
internet  video 
7 days ago by splitbrain
As someone who grew up on the internet, I credit it as one of the most important influences on who I am today. I had a computer with internet access in my bedroom from the age of 13. It gave me access to a lot of things which were totally inappropriate for a young teenager, but it was OK. The culture, politics, and interpersonal relationships which I consider to be central to my identity were shaped by the internet, in ways that I have always considered to be beneficial to me personally. I have always been a critical proponent of the internet and everything it has brought, and broadly considered it to be emancipatory and beneficial. I state this at the outset because thinking through the implications of the problem I am going to describe troubles my own assumptions and prejudices in significant ways.
One of the thus-far hypothetical questions I ask myself frequently is how I would feel about my own children having the same kind of access to the internet today. And I find the question increasingly difficult to answer. I understand that this is a natural evolution of attitudes which happens with age, and at some point this question might be a lot less hypothetical. I don’t want to be a hypocrite about it. I would want my kids to have the same opportunities to explore and grow and express themselves as I did. I would like them to have that choice. And this belief broadens into attitudes about the role of the internet in public life as whole.
I’ve also been aware for some time of the increasingly symbiotic relationship between younger children and YouTube. I see kids engrossed in screens all the time, in pushchairs and in restaurants, and there’s always a bit of a Luddite twinge there, but I am not a parent, and I’m not making parental judgments for or on anyone else. I’ve seen family members and friend’s children plugged into Peppa Pig and nursery rhyme videos, and it makes them happy and gives everyone a break, so OK.
But I don’t even have kids and right now I just want to burn the whole thing down.
Someone or something or some combination of people and things is using YouTube to systematically frighten, traumatise, and abuse children, automatically and at scale, and it forces me to question my own beliefs about the internet, at every level. Much of what I am going to describe next has been covered elsewhere, although none of the mainstream coverage I’ve seen has really grasped the implications of what seems to be occurring.
video  youtube  internet  children 
7 days ago by wn
As someone who grew up on the internet, I credit it as one of the most important influences on who I am today. I had a computer with internet access in my bedroom from the age of 13. It gave me access to a lot of things which were totally inappropriate for a young teenager, but it was OK. The culture, politics, and interpersonal relationships which I consider to be central to my identity were shaped by the internet, in ways that I have always considered to be beneficial to me personally. I have always been a critical proponent of the internet and everything it has brought, and broadly considered it to be emancipatory and beneficial. I state this at the outset because thinking through the implications of the problem I am going to describe troubles my own assumptions and prejudices in significant ways.
youtube  children  internet  video  articles  netcritique 
8 days ago by mikael
As another blogger notes, one of the traditional roles of branded content is that it is a trusted source. Whether it’s Peppa Pig on children’s TV or a Disney movie, whatever one’s feelings about the industrial model of entertainment production, they are carefully produced and monitored so that kids are essentially safe watching them, and can be trusted as such. This no longer applies when brand and content are disassociated by the platform, and so known and trusted content provides a seamless gateway to unverified and potentially harmful content.

(Yes, this is the exact same process as the delamination of trusted news media on Facebook feeds and in Google results that is currently wreaking such havoc on our cognitive and political systems and I am not going to explicitly explore that relationship further here, but it is obviously deeply significant.)
This is content production in the age of algorithmic discovery — even if you’re a human, you have to end up impersonating the machine.
The second is the levels of exploitation, not of children because they are children but of children because they are powerless. Automated reward systems like YouTube algorithms necessitate exploitation in the same way that capitalism necessitates exploitation, and if you’re someone who bristles at the second half of that equation then maybe this should be what convinces you of its truth. Exploitation is encoded into the systems we are building, making it harder to see, harder to think and explain, harder to counter and defend against. Not in a future of AI overlords and robots in the factories, but right here, now, on your screen, in your living room and in your pocket.

The video at the end (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXjJdv5fj5k) is chilling, like an AI's nightmare after watching a million videos off of YouTube Kids.
youtube  contentfilter  forkids  contentmills 
8 days ago by kme
(Yes, this is the exact same process as the delamination of trusted news media on Facebook feeds and in Google results that is currently wreaking such havoc on our cognitive and political systems and I am not going to explicitly explore that relationship further here, but it is obviously deeply significant.) But it shouldn’t obscure that there are also many actual children, plugged into iphones and tablets, watching these over and over again — in part accounting for the inflated view numbers — learning to type basic search terms into the browser, or simply mashing the sidebar to bring up another video. As well as nursery rhymes and learning colours, Toy Freaks specialises in gross-out situations, as well as activities which many, many viewers feel border on abuse and exploitation, if not cross the line entirely, including videos of the children vomiting and in pain. The New York Times, headlining their article on a subset of this issue “ On YouTube Kids, Startling Videos Slip Past Filters ”, highlights the use of knock-off characters and nursery rhymes in disturbing content, and frames it as a problem of moderation and legislation. An article in the British tabloid The Sun, “ Kids left traumatised after sick YouTube clips showing Peppa Pig characters with knives and guns appear on app for children ” takes the same line, with an added dose of right-wing technophobia and self-righteousness.
8 days ago by sechilds
I’m James Bridle. I’m a writer and artist concerned with technology and culture. I usually write on my own blog, but frankly I don’t want what I’m talking about here anywhere near my own site. Please…
9 days ago by oclupaca