Something is wrong on the internet (2017)
James Bridle. An analysis on how youtube algorithms affect storytelling. Bridle investigates an ecosystem of algorithms which inadvertently end up producing disruptive videos for children. It’s evident that the same human-AI alliances are affecting contemporary art too!
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.
[…] even if you’re a human, you have to end up impersonating the machine.
[…] it feels impossible to know where the automation starts and ends, who is coming up with the ideas and who is roleplaying them.
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.
To expose children to this content is abuse. […] It’s not about trolls, but about a kind of violence inherent in the combination of digital systems and capitalist incentives. It’s down to that level of the metal.
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.
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. It is hard to keep faith with the network when it produces horrors such as these.
On An Exit From Contemporary Art (2017) Heather Jones offers an interesting interpretation of a talk by Tirdad Zolghadr.
As long as contemporary art continues to dis-identify with power, to place itself as other to power, it is very difficult to see it as a future-oriented operation. Contemporary art, Zolghadr argues, is already a future-oriented operation. Whether it wants to admit it or not, contemporary art is actively affecting geographies, neighborhoods, job markets, politics, policies, etc.… It is already creating audiences and communities. In short, despite the rhetoric of othering contemporary art to power, contemporary art is ‘sitting in the corridors of power’.