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Why The YouTube Algorithm Will Always Be A Mystery
Why The YouTube Algorithm Will Always Be A Mystery
Why The YouTube Algorithm Will Always Be A Mystery

Why The YouTube Algorithm Will Always Be A Mystery - Tom Scott

Tom Scott
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Hi, I'm Tom Scott. These are some of the things I've made and done. They'll probably come back to haunt me in a few years' time. (Want to get in touch about anything? Use the "contact me" link below, not YouTube messages!)

Video description
The mysterious YouTube algorithm. It's confused people for years, and will continue to do so. So why isn't YouTube more transparent? It used to be that they wouldn't tell anyone how it works - but now, it's that they can't. Let's talk about deep learning algorithms, neural networks, and search engine optimisation.

CREDITS:

Thanks to animator Matt Ley for the wonderful cartoon of me: https://www.youtube.com/user/Thelaserbearguy

I put this together in three days, plus a day of checking and proofing, in Adobe After Effects. It took about eight hours to render, but that's because every frame has keying, lighting, camera, and motion blur effects, and because the original footage of me was in 4.6k lossless.

Yes, the sound of the black box working is the sound of a microwave (it's the one in my kitchen). Also, those aren't faked desktop screenshots, I had to install a copy of Windows ME to make this.

SOURCES:

"Deep Neural Networks for YouTube Recommendations", https://www.youtube.com/user/Thelaserbearguy [PDF] — some people are saying this link 404s, but it works for me? Search for the title and you'll find it.

There's a good layperson summary of the paper here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Thelaserbearguy

The Defamation Act is published under the Open Government License 3.0: https://www.youtube.com/user/Thelaserbearguy and is available at https://www.youtube.com/user/Thelaserbearguy

The music in the cartoon section is called 'Ukulele Beach', and it's in the YouTube audio library.

REFERENCES:

There are a lot of references and in-jokes in here, and hopefully people will spot most of them in the comments. But if anyone wants confirmation: yes, there are references to Billy Joel, Aqua, a He-Man remix, and Elton John. The last one's pretty obscure, well done to you at home if you got that.

VFX breakdown and references explained: https://www.youtube.com/user/Thelaserbearguy

ABOUT ME:

I'm at https://www.youtube.com/user/Thelaserbearguy
on Twitter at https://www.youtube.com/user/Thelaserbearguy
on Facebook at https://www.youtube.com/user/Thelaserbearguy
and on Snapchat and Instagram as tomscottgo
How The Self-Retweeting Tweet Worked: Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and Twitter

http://tomscott.com - http://twitter.com/tomscott - It should never have happened. Defending against cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks is Web Security 101. And yet, today, there was a self-retweeting tweet that hit a heck of a lot of people - anyone using Tweetdeck, Twitter's "professional" client. How did it work? Time to break down the code. (Remember the old Myspace worms? They worked the same way.) THE SELF-RETWEETING TWEET: https://twitter.com/derGeruhn/status/476764918763749376

How YouTube Video Stabilization Works

http://tomscott.com - @tomscott - From tracking a point, to analysing pixels, to plotting 3D camera moves: here's how you go from shaky handheld shots to that "gliding through the Matrix" effect. Thanks to Matt Gray for his excellent camera work - he's at http://mattg.co.uk - @unnamedculprit

Will YouTube Ever Run Out Of Video IDs?

In the URL of each YouTube video is the 11-character video ID, unique for each video. Can they ever run out? Just how many videos can YouTube handle? To work it out, we need to talk about counting systems, and about something called Base 64. Want to know how the single camera shot was done? "Matt Bought a DJI Osmo and It's Surprisingly Good" is today's video over on the Park Bench: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dyy41yAs8nc I'm at https://tomscott.com/ or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomscott or on Facebook at http://facebook.com/tomscott or on Instagram as tomscottgo. Filmed by Matt Gray, who's at http://mattg.co.uk or @unnamedculprit on basically everything everywhere.

British Plugs Are Better Than All Other Plugs, And Here's Why

http://tomscott.com - http://twitter.com/tomscott - ALL THE ELECTRICS I USED WERE UNPLUGGED. DO NOT DO THIS. Yep, I'm going all patriotic again. And while I'm willing to bet that a good number of British folks know the first half of this video, there's one thing about slack in here that I only just learned myself.

Wheels, Bombs, and Perpetual Motion Machines

This is a collaboration with the Royal Institution! Go check out their video here: https://youtu.be/sScrtGdKmho -- Perpetual motion machines are badly named. And impossible. But that hasn't stopped a lot of people trying to build them. Sure, you could try and argue physics: but there's a more common-sense reason why free energy's not coming any time soon. I'm at http://www.tomscott.com on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at http://facebook.com/tomscott and on Instagram and Snapchat as tomscottgo

Why Snow and Confetti Ruin YouTube Video Quality

Your sports team wins. The confetti drops. And suddenly, the video quality falls apart. Why? Let's talk about interframe compression, bitrate, and unnecessary green screen effects. I'm at https://tomscott.com on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at http://facebook.com/tomscott and on Instagram as @tomscottgo You might also like: How Green Screen Worked Before Computers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msPCQgRPPjI This uses one Creative Commons by-attribution photo, "Sony Trinitron" by Antífama, available here: http://flic.kr/p/6DBMYn

The Link That Can Crash Chrome: http://a/%%30%30

http://tomscott.com - http://twitter.com/tomscott - In the news today: a link which, when moused over or clicked on, crashes Google Chrome. It's a heck of a bug: but how does it work, and what does it have to do with "null-terminated strings"? TECH DETAILS: https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=533361

2030: Privacy's Dead. What happens next?

http://tomscott.com - http://twitter.com/tomscott - At dConstruct 2014, I spin a tale of the future: not to make a prediction, but to put our current world in perspective. Thanks to all the dConstruct folks at the Brighton Dome: crew, volunteers, and audience!

Fantastic Features We Don't Have In The English Language

http://tomscott.com - @tomscott - There are lots of interesting features in other languages, some of which English would really benefit from having. I'm going to talk about four of them: time-independence, clusivity, absolute direction, and evidentiality. Also, I've learned from last week: no irritating piano music this time! UNESCO list of endangered languages: http://www.unesco.org/culture/languages-atlas/

The Moonpig Bug: How 3,000,000 Customers' Details Were Exposed

It's been all over the British news today: developer Paul Price found a bug in photo-crap-maker Moonpig's site, one that might have exposed three million users' personal information. Paul's got a great technical post about it at http://ifc0nfig.com/moonpig-vulnerability/ -- but there's no decent non-techie explanation except for the one-paragraph summaries in newspapers. It was a perfect storm of tech incompetence: here's how to avoid doing it yourself.

How Machines Learn

How do all the algorithms around us learn to do their jobs? Bot Wallpapers on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/posts/15959388 Discuss this video: https://www.reddit.com/r/CGPGrey/comments/7klmd3/how_do_machines_learn/ Footnote: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvWpdrfoEv0 Podcasts: https://www.youtube.com/user/HelloInternetPodcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqoy014xOu7ICwgLWHd9BzQ Thank you to my supporters on Patreon: James Bissonette, James Gill, Cas Eliëns, Jeremy Banks, Thomas J Miller Jr MD, Jaclyn Cauley, David F Watson, Jay Edwards, Tianyu Ge, Michael Cao, Caron Hideg, Andrea Di Biagio, Andrey Chursin, Christopher Anthony, Richard Comish, Stephen W. Carson, JoJo Chehebar, Mark Govea, John Buchan, Donal Botkin, Bob Kunz https://www.patreon.com/cgpgrey How neural networks really work with the real linear algebra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aircAruvnKk Music by: http://www.davidreesmusic.com

A VFX Breakdown, Obscure References, and Ducklings

Tom spent a lot of time in Adobe After Effects to make that video, and for some reason, he chose to do a load of effects in this behind the scenes video too! MATT: http://youtube.com/unnamedculprit | TOM: http://youtube.com/TomScottGo Tom's original video Why The YouTube Algorithm Will Always Be A Mystery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSpAWkQLlgM HEYYEYAAEYAAAEYAEYAA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZ5LpwO-An4 AzureDiamond reference: http://bash.org/?244321 AlphaGo: https://deepmind.com/research/alphago/ The Shamen - Ebenezer Goode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFJdUJg4wOk Pulp - Sorted For Es and Whizz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DikWW4pOehk Elton John - Someday Out of the Blue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Dp22KRD5zM

Why The Government Shouldn't Break WhatsApp

Encryption backdoors - breaking WhatsApp and iMessage's security to let the government stop Bad Things - sounds like a reasonable idea. Here's why it isn't. A transcript of this video's available here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tom-scott/why-the-government-shouldnt-break-whatsapp/1378434365572557/ CREDITS: Filmed at the Cambridge Centre for Computing History: http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/ Camera by Tomek: https://www.youtube.com/tomek Thanks to everyone who helped proofread my script! REFERENCES: WhatsApp's privacy protections questioned after terror attack: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-39405178 WhatsApp must be accessible to authorities, says Amber Rudd: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/26/intelligence-services-access-whatsapp-amber-rudd-westminster-attack-encrypted-messaging UK government renews calls for WhatsApp backdoor after London attack: https://www.theverge.com/2017/3/27/15070744/encryption-whatsapp-backdoor-uk-london-attacks Investigatory Powers Act: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2016/25/contents/enacted India is 'ready to use' Blackberry message intercept system: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23265091 Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/05/nsa-gchq-encryption-codes-security Councils...

The Problem with Time & Timezones - Computerphile

A web app that works out how many seconds ago something happened. How hard can coding that be? Tom Scott explains how time twists and turns like a twisty-turny thing. It's not to be trifled with! A Universe of Triangles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdyvizaygyY LZ Compression in Text: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goOa3DGezUA Characters, Symbols and the Unicode Miracle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MijmeoH9LT4 More from Tom Scott: http://www.youtube.com/user/enyay and https://twitter.com/tomscott http://www.facebook.com/computerphile https://twitter.com/computer_phile This video was filmed and edited by Sean Riley. Computerphile is a sister project to Brady Haran's Numberphile. See the full list of Brady's video projects at: http://bit.ly/bradychannels

How NOT to Store Passwords! - Computerphile

Security of users' passwords should be at the forefront of every web developer's mind. Tom takes us through the insecure ways in which some websites deal with passwords. Note: At circa 8mins, the animation does not show how the 'salt' is also stored in the database alongside the username. Hashing Algorithms and Security: http://youtu.be/b4b8ktEV4Bg Security of Data on Disk: http://youtu.be/4SSSMi4X_mA More from Tom Scott: http://www.youtube.com/user/enyay and https://twitter.com/tomscott http://www.facebook.com/computerphile https://twitter.com/computer_phile This video was filmed and edited by Sean Riley. Computerphile is a sister project to Brady Haran's Numberphile. See the full list of Brady's video projects at: http://bit.ly/bradychannels

How To Debunk Perpetual Motion Machines - with Tom Scott

Warning: Contains flashing images. You know those videos showing working perpetual motion machines? They’re fake. Tom Scott helps us explain how to debunk them. Watch his video here: https://youtu.be/EiZU3BvqvP4 Perpetual motion machines are tantalising. Videos of contraptions claiming to have achieved the impossible goal of endless free motion rack up millions of views on YouTube. But they’re not real. Perpetual motion machines violate the fundamental laws of our universe. In this video, we teamed up with YouTuber Tom Scott to provide three simple ways to debunk persistent claims of perpetual motion: a guide to protect you from the bunk. People have been...

3D Printing Stainless Steel with Giant Robot Arms

At Autodesk's Pier 9 workshop in San Francisco -- and no, this isn't an ad, pull down the description for more! -- there are giant robot arms using welders to 3D print with stainless steel. Which seemed like a good place to talk about programming abstractions, high-level languages, training pendants, and just how safe something like a robot arm needs to be. FULL DISCLOSURE: Autodesk were good enough to cover my travel to San Francisco, but they haven't paid me and they had no control over the script, the content or the final cut! You can see more about Pier 9...

Why Electronic Voting is a BAD Idea - Computerphile

Voting is centuries old, why can't we move with the times and use our phones, tablets and computers? Tom Scott lays out why e-voting is such a bad idea. More from Tom Scott: http://www.youtube.com/user/enyay and https://twitter.com/tomscott http://www.facebook.com/computerphile https://twitter.com/computer_phile This video was filmed and edited by Sean Riley. Computer Science at the University of Nottingham: http://bit.ly/nottscomputer Computerphile is a sister project to Brady Haran's Numberphile. See the full list of Brady's video projects at: http://bit.ly/bradychannels

Tom Scott vs Irving Finkel: The Royal Game of Ur | PLAYTHROUGH | International Tabletop Day 2017

YouTuber Tom Scott has flown drones through lightning, he’s taken on the first human-powered theme park, he’s even visited Penistone. But he’s never taken on a British Museum curator in the world’s oldest playable board game… UNTIL NOW! For International Tabletop Day 2017, Tom Scott was challenged by British Museum Curator Irving Finkel to a round of the oldest playable board game in the world – The Royal Game of Ur – a game whose rules were rediscovered and deciphered by Irving himself. Interested in other mysterious cuneiform tablets deciphered by Irving? Check out his book 'The Ark before Noah' to find...

The Speed of Outrage: Tom Scott at Thinking Digital 2015

http://tomscott.com - http://twitter.com/tomscott - On stage at Thinking Digital 2015, I talk about angry people, livestreaming, and how nothing seems to have changed recently. Thanks to all the crew, volunteers, sponsors and technical team at Thinking Digital -- I'm using several camera angles and the audio from their livestream, plus my Periscope broadcast and a GoPro from the front row (thanks Emilia)! Thinking Digital is at http://thinkingdigital.co.uk - tickets for 2016 are already on sale!

So You've Learned To Teleport

http://tomscott.com - http://twitter.com/tomscott - A guide for the newly empowered, courtesy of the Superhero Help Academic Foundation Trust, Education Division. Sure, you could jump a few places and fight crime: or you could take over the world. Thanks to YouTube Space London, who offered me time on their science lab set -- and thanks to Matt Gray (http://mattg.co.uk - @unnamedculprit) who directed the shots! Oh, and if you want to see teleportation in fiction done well, have a look at Steven Gould's Jumper series -- the later books really start playing around with physics in fun ways, like building a... well, I'll...

The Centuries-Old Debt That's Still Paying Interest

In the archives of Yale University, there's a 367-year-old bond from the water authority of Lekdijk Bovendams, in the Netherlands. And it's still paying interest. Thanks to: Prof. Geert Rouwenhorst for his time and explanation All the team at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Michelle Martin (@mrsmmartin) for editing the interview and Leendert van Egmond for telling me about the bond! I'm at http://tomscott.com on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at http://facebook.com/tomscott and on Snapchat and Instagram as tomscottgo

Why 1/1/1970 Bricks Your iPhone

People keep finding bugs in iPhones, and other people keep asking me to make videos about them. So here you go! Here's a tale of binary, of the Unix epoch, and a date beyond the lifespan of the universe. GET IN TOUCH: http://tomscott.com - TWITTER http://twitter.com/tomscott - FACEBOOK http://facebook.com/tomscott - INSTAGRAM tomscottgo THANK YOU SO MUCH to Michael Monteith, @mike220889 on Twitter, who was able to get me a conference room to film in on a Friday afternoon at very short notice!