People speak of algorithms as if they’re some weird black box, but they’re just a detailed descriptions of the decision-making process that all of us go through every day, just fed into a computer. The really hard “Computer Science” part is breaking down the decision making process into steps so stupid a computer can understand it.

For example, if YouTube actually thought that videos like the ones the author was complaining about was an actual problem[*], they could fix it. They have done so with music and other video content. In fact, they’re famously overzealous for taking down or demonetizing videos that violate copyright, using the very same algorithms the author is decrying The only reason that they haven’t fixed this with kids videos is that they haven’t seen it as a problem yet.

  • So, this is where my huge beef with this article comes in. I have a 5 year old son who loves YT Kids, and would spend all day on it if we let him. Monitoring and restricting the content he watches is just part of raising a child these days, like making sure he has a nutritious lunch. So I’ve watched a LOT of YT Kids, and have never seen any evidence of these problematic videos that he found. Do they exist? Sure, do they come up in normal YT kids usage? Not as far as I’ve seen. Sure, there are copyright violations up the yin-yang, but I’ve never seen any evidence of Peppa Pig snuff videos.

This is just my anec-data, but again, YT Kids being rife with these weird videos is just his, so…


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07 November 2017