James Bridle: The nightmare videos of children's YouTube -- and what's wrong with the internet today
James Bridle - Artist, writer
Working across technologies and disciplines, James Bridle examines technology, knowledge and the end of the future. Full bio
of military drones
and get their heads around
and hard-to-think-about technologies.
that predict the results of elections
of these weird new technologies are.
my own self-driving car.
really trust technology,
I find them completely fascinating,
when we talk about technology,
opening up loads of chocolate eggs
for seven long minutes.
two things about this.
has 30 million views.
that has 6.3 million subscribers,
opening up these eggs.
for "surprise eggs" on YouTube,
10 million of these videos,
of these videos
of brands and materials,
being uploaded every single day.
who are watching these videos.
like crack for little kids.
dopamine hit of the reveal,
over and over and over again,
and hours and hours.
the screen away from them,
in the audience nodding --
with small children and ask them,
the surprise egg videos.
Facebook and Instagram are using
to hack the brains of very small children
that's what they're doing.
of making ad revenue on YouTube.
popular kids' cartoons
of these online as well.
by the original content creators.
of different random accounts,
who's posting them
of our digital services,
where this information is coming from.
that comes along,
a terribly good idea.
that's really big on kids' YouTube.
in the audience.
into your brain
it seared itself into mine,
these finger family videos
in different languages
of animation elements
and millions and millions of these videos
kind of insane combinations.
you start to spend with them,
you start to feel that you might be.
kind of launched into this,
and deep lack of understanding
that seems to be presented around me.
where these things are coming from.
of teams of professional animators.
assembled by software.
young kids' entertainers.
shouldn't be around children at all.
of figuring out who's making this stuff --
that we can't tell the difference
feel kind of familiar right now?
on their videos --
of these videos with these popular terms.
"Paw Patrol," "Easter egg,"
popular videos into your title,
meaningless mash of language
tiny kids who are watching your video,
for this stuff is software.
are like other videos,
to make them recommended.
kind of completely meaningless mash,
this algorithmically optimized system,
of increasingly forced to act out
combinations of words,
responding to the combined screams
trapped within these systems,
about this algorithmically driven culture,
watching this stuff,
by these weird mechanisms.
to even use a website.
on the screen with their little hands.
over and over and over in a loop,
in the system now
to some pretty strange places.
of a counting train
keywords come home to roost.
trollish in-jokes or something,
to a very weird place indeed.
or sexual content, right?
genuinely terrify children.
all of these different influences
kids' worst nightmares.
does affect small children.
it's that if you have small children,
that really gets to me about this,
understand how we got to this point.
all of these things,
that no one really intended.
that we're building the entire world.
full of prejudice,
impulses of history,
into huge data sets
into things like credit reports,
constructing the world today
that seems to be entirely optimized
of human behavior,
to have done it by accident,
that we were doing it,
the systems that we were building,
how to do anything differently with it.
that really seem to be driving this
actually developing this content,
the separation of those things.
about the use of advertising
rolling around in the sand
that they don't really understand
probably isn't the thing
our society and culture upon,
we should be funding it.
the major driver of this is automation,
of all of this technology
without any kind of oversight,
"Hey, it's not us, it's the technology."
just algorithmically governed,
to pay attention to this,
they'd do about it
better machine learning algorithms
as any expert in it will tell you,
understand how it works.
enough of that already.
this stuff up to AI to decide
legitimate public speech.
that's left up to unaccountable systems.
all of us should be having.
very pleasant, either.
a version of their kids' app
moderated by humans.
much the same thing at Congress,
were going to moderate their stuff.
the first person to see this stuff,
precarious contract workers
quite a lot better than that.
two things together, really, for me,
understand -- by agency, I mean:
in our own best interests.
really fully understand.
always leads to violence.
does the same thing.
to start to improve these systems,
to the people who use them,
a common understanding
most about these systems
I've explained, really about YouTube.
that inherently results
of power in a few hands --
and not just of technology in general,
this global system, the internet,
in this extraordinary way,
often hidden desires and biases
so that we can see them,
they don't exist anymore.
as a solution to all of our problems,
to what those problems actually are,
about them properly
for coming and giving us that talk.
the robotic overlords take over,
than what you're describing.
you have the resistance mounting.
towards this stuff?
green shoots of resistance?
about direct resistance,
is super long-term.
in really deep ways.
Eleanor Saitta, always says
of sufficient scale and scope
to address within this
just by building the technology better,
that's producing these technologies.
a hell of a long way to go.
about them super honestly,
to at least begin that process.
legibility and digital literacy,
of digital literacy on users themselves.
is education in this new world?
is kind of up to all of us,
everything we build, everything we make,
in a consensual discussion
intended to trick and surprise people
in every step in educating them,
about even this really grim stuff,
and look at it properly,
a piece of education
how complex systems come together and work
that knowledge elsewhere in the world.
an important discussion,
are really open and prepared to have it,
About the speaker:James Bridle - Artist, writer
Working across technologies and disciplines, James Bridle examines technology, knowledge and the end of the future.
Why you should listen
James Bridle is an artist and writer working across technologies and disciplines. His artworks and installations have been exhibited in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia, and have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of visitors online. He has been commissioned by organizations including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Barbican, Artangel, the Oslo Architecture Triennale and the Istanbul Design Biennial, and he has been honored by Ars Electronica, the Japan Media Arts Festival and the Design Museum, London. His writing on literature, culture and networks has appeared in magazines and newspapers including Frieze, Wired, Domus, Cabinet, The Atlantic, the New Statesman and many others, and he has written a regular column for The Observer.
New Dark Age, Bridle's book about technology, knowledge and the end of the future is forthcoming from Verso (UK & US) in 2018. He lectures regularly on radio, at conferences, universities and other events including SXSW, Lift, the Global Art Forum and Re:Publica. He has been a resident at Lighthouse, Brighton, the White Building, London and Eyebeam, New York, and an adjunct professor on the interactive telecommunications program at New York University.
James Bridle | Speaker | TED.com