Brian Austin

March 24, 2023

Canceled by ChatGPT

I did a wild Twitter rant.. will I get canceled? Yeah, probably by Niemann Marcus. Seriously though, can we talk about the bad advice on the Internet? Any idiot and a dog could start a blog and now 20 years later and a few slick graphics anyone can be "the News".

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In your comments, dropping knowledge.. wake up sheeple

TikTok deserves a lot of grief, but first YouTube. If your channel hasn't been terminated or at least demonetized are you even reputable? Plenty of creators traffic in fringe conspiracy theories to drive views, but there is something far worse, the rip-off clip channels. Typically the come in two varieties:

The first type takes audio from reputable sources, clips it and runs slick graphics in the background. For example this breathlessly titled The Collapse That Will Change A Generation 13 min video that features audio from Ray Dalio. Maybe Ray is right, maybe not but either way this channel will amplify content they don't own and freak a bunch of people out simply for views.
 
The second is what I would describe as a clip montage. Case in point All-in Shorts which edits short clips from the All-In video podcast on YouTube. In this case a self described group of super fans who do free promotional work for a bunch of podcasters who'd prefer we ban TikTok. The downside is that even clip channels can help amply and outsize some opinions on the Internet

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Now know as the "All-in Caps" podcast

I'm for free speech and fair use, but creators who only clip podcasts and speeches are hacky and cringe at best and downright disingenuous at worst. Cherry-picky sound bites to fit a narrative is a time honored tradition, but can we all agree it's a little creepy to obsesses over someone else's voice for hours to find just the right clip to promote a point?   

Who would do such a thing? Who could do such a thing and slap some superior graphics on a clip to persuade the audience to feel a certain way? Oh right.. these people.

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The 50 Ft News Anchor is the true threat to New Orleans

Dog blogs and clip channels aside, an entire other civilization of short-video content creators exist on TikTok. What began as 30 sec get-to-the-point videos evolved into 3 minute rambling stories, rarely with a point which remind you the meandering tales aunt used to tell. At least she could bake so you'd listen just for the cookies.

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Something about these cookies makes me want to accept them

Lately you can expect long form lectures from the front seat of vehicle, often by someone you've never heard of, having no credentials but a very trustworthy face. Worse still the pick-me energy kids like Instagram and YouTube Shorts get the viral videos long after they trend. It's like bootlegging movies from HBO long after they left in theaters.

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I first watched Star Wars in 1984

Tale as old as time

Bogus info on the web has been a problem since the web was invented. Why does it matter now? For the first time in American history the Internet is winning as the de facto source of truth. Doubling down we are training generations of large language models on publicly available content.

Why does it matter? Because the more we publish, retweet, forward, respond to obviously tabloid stories the more those stories are amplified. The modern algorithm equates buzz with importance and we are feeding the machine. Fed nothing but a junk food information diet eventually the AI models will collapse and start regurgitating BuzzFeed listicle style results.

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Top 10 reasons Elvis is Bat Boy's father, you won't believe number 6

How do we moderate this?

First off, we all bear responsibility not to spread scandalous, untrue rumors. If we do, we should endure the consequences of repeating dumb stuff. Should someone go to jail because they divulge the Neimann Marcus cookie recipe? No but if someone lies about a real life person maybe they should get fact checked.

I'm a big fan of Birdwatch on Twitter and I think it's a model of how we, the people, should manage this world wide web of lies. I think a consensus model is the most democratic way to establish what we want to show up as facts on our platforms. 

I challenge every technologist within earshot to consider how we can create a more equitable space for discourse, discussion and disagreement without compromising our values of truth and good intent. The consequence of failure is that the Internet becomes a wasteland of auto-generated garbage content that is neither useful nor entertaining.

About Brian Austin

A software engineer building products and services for smaller companies. This newsletter syndicates all of my LinkedIn content.

For AI project updates check out Project Maestro on Substack.

All other links at https://bit.ly/m/bwaustin