It’s that time again.
I’m not sure what kind of week you’ve had, but mine’s been chaotic to say the least. On the plus side, I should have a new portfolio entry here in the next week or two. On the downside, a glut of incoming projects both in-house and freelance have definitely impeded my schedule. This friday update was trickier than it should have been, but that’s okay. We’re here. Made it. Swish.
In other news:
It’s too bad that I’ve been so busy. There’s been a lot lately I’ve wanted to think and/or write about. As my Uncle is inclined to rant, “Writing is thinking on paper.” so perhaps that last sentence is a bit poorly worded. A bare bones basic breakdown of my thoughts.
South Bend Schools (Again)
Last weekend I found myself thinking about the schools again. It’s probably the one social problem I can speak with some depth about and a post may be forthcoming. The focus is on how we tend to define the goalposts of success and to compare the present relative to a shaky poorly remembered past. A past who’s successes cannot be empirically verified due to the methods we evaluate the present.
Also, there’s a lot I didn’t say two years ago, and some of it’s worth revisiting on account of there not being a enormous flaming dumpster fire of a controversy at the moment.
The internet’s meta has seemingly become self aware, and has had a Harvey Dent epiphany about itself: “You either die a hero or live long enough to become a villain”. Perhaps the internet has lived too long. Perhaps it’s a bit too ubiquitous.
We’re going to talk about why I keep sites I develop ad-free at some point in the future. And no it’s just not because I’m lazy (…kinda).
In a nutshell: being beholden to advertising systems propagated by tech giants like Google or Yahoo is a net loss for anyone running a website and a loss for their users. If you’ve been following the new YouTube copyright AI you should have some idea, but the best breakdown of the problem and the scope of its consequence is posted below.
What’s happening on YouTube had seemed to be contained there, and only affecting content creators. And as wide sweeping and catastrophic this has been to people who’s livelihoods depend on YouTube’s ad monetization, I’ve seen very little said about it outside of YouTube. However, this week an article about Google’s odd AI practices was written, and strangely Youtube didn’t enter the picture. So this isn’t self contained. It’s a new practice from the Goog, and it’s spreading. And while I can hear people already screaming “it’s the cloud, what do you think would happen?” let me stop you, I’m pretty sure no one thought an automated AI bot would be digging through documents that haven’t been shared publicly for potential copyright infringement.
Docs isn’t a mass distribution platform. Nor is it monetized in anyway. YouTube seemed to be reacting to advertisers upset that their brands were becoming associated with increasingly radicalized and often socially unacceptable videos on the channel. This could range from a YouTube content creator vouching for the Klan, or someone doing Retro Video Gaming ‘Let’s Plays’ saying the word ‘shit’ while bricking Mario against a Koopa Troopa.
While I say ‘copyright’ is the issue for docs it’s an inferrence. While that is the case on YouTube, Google Docs has a bit of a different loci driving the tech’s implementation: the Google Terms of Service.
Has anyone had @googledocs lock you out of a doc before? My draft of a story about wildlife crime was just frozen for violating their TOS.
— Rachael Bale (@Rachael_Bale) October 31, 2017
What happened to Rachael is weird. And should give us pause.
I wish we had won the open web. Maybe we’d be able to decipher what exactly this bot was programed to accomplish. If an article about environmental crime raises this bot’s hackles I’d be nervous about whatever is written into its algorithms to search out and squash. And while @GoogleDocs on twitter was overly apologetic and accommodating the implications are frightening. If only because in two cases Google has unleashed an untrained AI on its users that have had serious real world ramifications for them, and very little recourse for the affected.
Whatever nefarious or benign thing is happening behind closed doors one thing certain: this AI changes the gameboard of the internet quite a bit.
The largest most frequently used search-engine… (dare I 1996 this and call it a ‘web portal’) whether by design or through its shakedown testing is directly at odds with users beholden to these services.
That’s just one reason why we shouldn’t risk using Google for monetization anymore. Hell, we should probably begin evacuating businesses specializing in SEO. Your small business’ best bet in the next ten years is hyperlocality and the analog. Splice in a pinch of Facebook since it barely propagates subscribed page updates anymore and a little chunk of legit web real-estate to call your own that sans any third party tracking software or ad revenue. Let people who want to find you know you value them more than the six bucks per month you might have earned assuming your web traffic is moderate for a local business. But more about that later, when I have stats and more time.
I predict that 2019 is going to be the year of the resurrected newsletter.
Anyway, if you’re jonesing for some nostalgia feels and want to feel self-righteous about the changing face of the Internet, scope this excellent piece and Ortega taco shell yourself both.
Anyways they’re kicking me out of my office. Till next week.