Last month, James "New Aesthetic" Bridle published an influential essay exploring the prolific and disturbing video-spam that had come to dominate Youtube Kids, in which seemingly algorithmically generated videos endlessly recombined a handful of Disney characters and assorted others engaged in violent, abusive and even psychosexual conduct, over a soundtrack of a few repeated public-domain kids' songs, with all sorts of trickery designed to uprank them in Youtube's play-next, recommendation and search results -- keyword stuffing, duration-stretching and more.
The videos' origin remains mysterious, though. Who the actual fuck is making these? A rogue AI? A farm of minimum-wage machinima animators? A single demented genius with a legion of copycats who are just as much in the dark?
Enter the Elsagate subreddit, where they are sleuthing out the production methodologies, corporate structure, history and practitioners behind the phenomenon. They're already making some progress: for example, this post credibly identifies Realillusion's Crazytalk Animator as the software used by the Youtube Kids spammers.
Another post connects the videos to a mobile game spam that did the same recombination in the world of free apps for parents looking to entertain their kids.
That said, there's a lot of heat alongside the light -- some users are convinced that there's a Pizzagate-style conspiracy to groom children for sexual abuse, and obsess over alleged hidden codes in the videos, while other redditors tell them to cut it out.
Worth watching, in any event!
(via 4 Short Links)
Since the earliest days of the "semantic web,", millions of dollars and hours of coding effort have been thrown at the problem of really organizing large corpuses of information, with two approaches emerging: rigid ontologies (like the Dewey Decimal system) that require a system's users to be deeply expert in the structures they're working in; […]
In 1971, the Australian indigenous artist Harold Thomas created the iconic Australian Aboriginal Flag which has since been named one of the "official flags of Australia," which resulted in Thomas successfully suing to assert copyright over the design.
[Editor's note: Whenever governments review their copyright, one of two things happens: either they only listen to industry reps and then come to the "conclusion" that more copyright is always better; or they listen to stakeholders and experts and conclude that a little goes a long way. Normally, when the latter happens, the government that […]
Whether you’re an artist, designer or just organizing a photo album, photo editing software is a must. And software designers know it: Platforms like Photoshop and Lightroom have a ton of helpful features, but you’ll pay for them in spades. Luckily, there’s some competition in the photo editing arena. Right now, Skylum’s Luminar software is […]
Who needs a holiday sale? Sometimes there’s no better time than the thick of summer to find deals. We should know – we’ve found ten deep discounts on some must-have items. Whether you’re searching for CBD edibles, exercise gear, chargers or other tech, take a look. But don’t look long – these prices aren’t likely […]
Heading abroad? Even if it’s just a short trip, there’s a lot to prepare for. Travel can be incredibly rewarding, but it can tricky to navigate different cultures and lodging arrangements – and even trickier to do it cheaply. Before you go shopping for suitcases, here’s our pick for a good first investment: The Ultimate […]