Apparently YouTube has been removing videos of battlebots, after their system flagged the videos for containing "animal suffering".
Ars Technica has a good story on several removals that took place last week across several battlebot accounts. They've got a screenshot of a takedown notice sent to a YouTuber who'd posted "Dark Blade vs Gizmo". As the notice explained ...
Content that displays the deliberate infliction of animal suffering or the forcing of animals to fight is not allowed on YouTube. Examples include, but are not limited to, dog fighting and cock fighting. We review educational, documentary, artistic, and scientific content on a case-by-case basis. Limited exceptions are made for content with sufficient and appropriate context and where the purpose of posting is clear.
After being alerted about the errors, YouTube restored most of the videos -- but as Ars notes, it's still not clear exactly how they got flagged. By bleary-eyed, overworked humans? By visual AI that figured the bots looked like animals?
It may not be that surprising that semiautomated review systems occasionally conclude that robots are animals, since we humans have a long track record of treating them as such.
This whole episode reminded me of a terrific 2007 story in the Washington Post describing the emotional attachment that soldiers develop for their combat robots. It opens up with a story of a colonel who's observing a multi-legged robot wander around a minefield, blowing up mines by intentionally stepping on them. When the robot's finally reduced to dragging itself around on its last functioning leg, the colonel orders the experiment halted -- claiming that it was "inhumane" to the robot.
(Picture of the battlebot above -- not one of those taken down by YouTube, just a rando -- courtesy Jason Scott's CC-2.0 licensed Flickr feed)
Update: an earlier version of this article had the relationship between the ads and the videos reversed. We regret the error Some of Youtube's most expensive advertising is being run against climate denial conspiracy videos, with ads from major brands like "Samsung, Uber, Nintendo, Showtime, Harley Davidson, and Warner Bros" as well as Greenpeace and […]
Jukin Media, one of several media companies that acquires rights to viral video clips, has managed unlicensed use of such clips by monetizing them through YouTube’s contentID system. But Jukin has now reportedly threatened to use copyright strikes to shut down a channel while privately demanding money from its operator. It’s extortion, says the target, […]
Robbo sez, "As is my wont, I post on social media at this time of year John Lennon & Yoko Ono's Happy Xmas (War Is Over) official YouTube video. It is an anthem for peace and the end of war. This year it has been labelled as "inappropriate content" and requires viewers to sign in […]
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to travel more, you owe it to yourself to learn the language of the place you’re visiting. If you’re not sure where to start, give these resources a look. From mobile apps to online courses, these products can get you conversant in a new language before you […]
Anyone who loves biking, skiing, or snowboarding in the great outdoors knows just how difficult it can be to safely transport your gear—especially during extended trips. These three accessories make it easier than ever to securely attach your gear to your car. So if you’re planning to embark on a outdoor adventure soon, you’d be […]
It seems like AI is everywhere these days, from the voice recognition software in our personal assistants to the ads that pop up seemingly at just the right time. But believe it or not, the field is still in its infancy. That means there’s no better time to get in on the ground floor. The […]