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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 Machines Learn

How do all the algorithms around us learn to do their jobs? **OMG PLUSHIE BOTS!!**: https://standard.tv/collections/cgp-grey/products/cgp-grey-sorterbot-5000-plush Bot Wallpapers on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/posts/15959388 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

Wana Decrypt0r (Wanacry Ransomware) - Computerphile

$300 or your files are toast: Dr Pound takes a look at the latest ransomware to be doing the rounds. How Wana Decrypt0r encrypts files: https://youtu.be/pLluFxHrc30 Microsoft Blog: http://bit.ly/Computerphile-Wana_MS Professor Ross Anderson's blog: http://bit.ly/Computerphile-Wana_Ross MalwareTech's blog: http://bit.ly/Computerphile-Wana_Mal End to End Encryption: https://youtu.be/jkV1KEJGKRA Internet of Things Problems: https://youtu.be/PLiE0Nr8VOE 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. More at http://www.bradyharan.com

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...

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...

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/

14 Minutes, 47 Questions

With 14 mins left in the camera, we asked twitter for questions. MATT: http://youtube.com/unnamedculprit | TOM: http://youtube.com/TomScottGo Why Does Tom Always Wear Red T-Shirts? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4SoSBo_nsI Containing the Worst Nuclear Disaster in History: Chernobyl's New Confinement Structure https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vK8ykPmtRyg Real Life Emoji Keyboard https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AtBE9BOvvk FAQs What kit do you use? Short answer: Røde NTG2, Roland R44, Sony RX100ii, GoPro 4 The Kit List: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNIMMgcifqs What do you use to edit? Short answer: Adobe Creative Suite. Editing: Why Game On & Citation Needed Take So Long: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcUoVZwLUOE

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

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

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 Bizarre Plan to Drain the Mediterranean: Atlantropa

Herman Sörgel wanted to create the largest civil engineering project the world has ever seen: a colossal dam across the Strait of Gibraltar, lowering the Mediterranean sea. There were, of course, a few problems with this. VFX by David 'Hoolopee' Post (http://youtube.com/hoolopee) Camera by Paul Curry (@cr3) I'm at http://tomscott.com on Facebook at http://facebook.com/tomscott on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomscott and on Snapchat and Instagram as tomscottgo

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

I Know What You Did Five Minutes Ago

http://tomscott.com - My talk from Ignite London 4 (http://ignitelondon.net): in which I rattle through the online privacy settings of fashionable web services, and leave a surprising message. FAQ: * Is the data really pulled in live from the web? With the exception of the Wikipedia articles, which I summarised in advance, yes. Everything on screen really was live data. * Did you know who was going to appear? No — but the selection process was algorithmic, not random. It was always going to pick someone interesting. As an extra safety net, a few minutes before I went on stage someone else checked who the system...

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

ᑖᒻ ᔅᑳᑦ and ᖃᓂᐅᔮᖅᐸᐃᑦ

Inuktitut syllabics are brilliant. A writing system that's not an alphabet, but something really clever: an abugida, one designed from scratch for a language very unlike anything European. [Pull down the description!] Context and history: https://www.noslangues-ourlanguages.gc.ca/collaborateurs-contributors/articles/inuk-eng.html https://thediscoverblog.com/2015/06/11/aboriginal-syllabic-scripts/ I'm here because of Chris Hadfield's Generator Arctic - go check out everyone else who was on the trip, and have a look at tickets for their show at Massey Hall, Toronto, on November 12th! http://generatorevent.com Thanks to Kataisee Attagutsiak (ᑲᑕᐃᓯ ᐊᑕᒍᑦᓯᐊᖅ) for proofreading this script! She helped put Inuktitut into Unicode, so she's something of a language hero. The fellow travellers at the end are Norm and Joey...

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.

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.

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

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...

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

What Is Sea Level, Anyway?

In Calipatria, California, the town is below sea level -- but their flag pole isn't. But what does "sea level" mean? Is it just theory, or is there more behind it? 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

FizzBuzz: One Simple Interview Question

There are a lot of opinions on how to hire coders, and most of them are terrible. The opinions, that is, not the coders. But a basic filter test to make sure someone can do what they say they can: that seems reasonable, and FizzBuzz is one of the more common tests. Even now, interviewers use it. Let's talk about why it's tricky, and how to solve it. Imran's blog post: https://imranontech.com/2007/01/24/using-fizzbuzz-to-find-developers-who-grok-coding/ Other approaches for pretty much every language: http://rosettacode.org/wiki/FizzBuzz Thanks to the Cambridge Centre for Computing History: http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/ The thing behind me is their Megaprocessor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMO3dZAizb4 And thanks to my proofreading team! I'm at http://tomscott.com on...

The Economics of YouTube: How Do You Support Yourself?

How can you make enough money off YouTube to live? Well, it's a bit like being in a band. Subscribe to MATT: http://YouTube.com/unnamedculprit - Subscribe to TOM: http://YouTube.com/TomScottGo REFERENCED THINGS: Get Rich or Die Vlogging: http://fusion.net/story/244545/famous-and-broke-on-youtube-instagram-social-media/ Charlie Brooker on TV budgets: https://youtu.be/MszYiKczYls?t=51s Public Service Broadcasting perform "Go" at Brixton Academy: https://youtu.be/nkZICN_8P-A "Loads of Huge UK Rock Bands Still Have Day Jobs": http://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/blog/our-favourite-bands-and-their-day-jobs Tim and Tom's music blog that no-one reads: http://europlop.co.uk

How Computers Compress Text: Huffman Coding and Huffman Trees

Computers store text (or, at least, English text) as eight bits per character. There are plenty of more efficient ways that could work: so why don't we use them? And how can we fit more text into less space? Let's talk about Huffman coding, Huffman trees, and Will Smith. Thanks to the Cambridge Centre for Computing History: http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/ Thanks to Chris Hanel at Support Class for the graphics: http://supportclass.net Filmed by Tomek: https://youtube.com/tomek And thanks to my proofreading team! 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

An Elevator That Actually Goes Sideways

I've filmed a paternoster lift; I've filmed the strange Genoa elevator that sort-of goes sideways. So when I got an email from Thyssenkrupp, an elevator company, saying "come and see our Multi elevator that actually goes sideways", I wasn't going to turn it down. Full disclosure: Thyssenkrupp paid for my travel to Germany, but that's all they did. I'd got in touch with them last year asking to see this when it opened; their PR firm replied, offering to fly me out. They had no editorial control over this, and didn't get to see it before it was uploaded! More information about...