What Am I Seeing?

by John Holbo on November 7, 2017

BoingBoing sent me here. Then I was down the rabbit hole to this. This was an interesting explainer. But then this (I watched so you don’t have to. Really, you probably don’t want to.) I’m struck by the weird parallel with the story I linked in my previous “What Can I Say?” post. Failures across cognitive platforms and all. It’s the combination of randomness and infectiousness that is so skin-crawling. If only a few kids found and watched these videos, that would be one thing. It’s not surprising that kids like to watch weird, violent gross-out stuff to do with toys. If your kid acted out some of this stuff with toys it would just be funny. Dr. Hulk needs to give the Minion a shot because he cut his foot, or whatever. But somehow the algorithmic weaponization of that is just alarming. So pardon me while I have a moral panic. The clowns aren’t helping. (I hope I can laugh about it in 20 years. “Remember how, in 2017, everyone thought YouTube Kids would warp little minds? And, by the way, it turns out President Pregnant Spider-Man isn’t really authoritarian, he’s more just incompetent.”)