It’s no secret that the online world (and as a result, much of the offline world) is governed by algorithms. However, the progress made in recent years means that it will not be long before we see actual content created exclusively by algorithms. As the technology that governs data analysis becomes more and more sophisticated, ever greater doors are opening in terms of automated production. Now we are witnessing the first examples of:
- Content created exclusively by an automatic programming;
- The proliferation of automatically created content;
- A change in viewing habits of the new generation.
While the science behind these algorithms is undoubtedly complicated, it can be broken down in layman’s terms. So far, the creation of sports videos or videos of movement is the most standard subject for the experiment. A wide variety of different videos were provided to the program as a data set. The program was then instructed to use this data set to ‘Generate the gist’. This meant putting together a fairly generic background and basic form of the movement programmed by the user. From there, the ‘Discriminator’ stage allows the program to compare its own content to that of the data set, and progressively whittle down and tweak until it has something that is unique, while also resembling the data set and fulfilling the requirements of the user.
What Are the Ethical Repercussions of Artificial Technology?
So far, the videos are only 32 framed long and 64×64 pixels. However, as technology improves, it may be possible to create entire videos artificially. This is set to raise a number of questions regarding the ethics of the programming. In an era of Fake News, we cannot place too much value on the availability of quality, genuine content. The eventual ability to create convincing artificial content at the click of a button will further blur the boundaries between what is real and what is not. We already seem to be at an all-time high in terms of conspiracy theories, and these people are developing their bizarre concepts from actual footage. God only knows what lies in store when people can find alleged videos confirming their spurious ideas.
Children’s Videos Are Already Being Automatically Created
While it may not be as sophisticated as the programming mentioned above, there is already one area of the internet where artificial, computer-programmed videos are thriving: the children’s channels on Youtube. These channels have the potential to make their creators a huge amount of money. And in an era when parents are less connected than ever with what their children are viewing, the developers behind these videos are able to take shortcuts to create less than mediocre content that gets under the radar. Simply by creating a handful of templates and throwing in some characters from well-loved children’s film and TV, it is easy for these people to throw together an attention-grabbing series of a hundred videos in a matter of seconds. And with long, long titles full of keywords, it’s only a matter of time before enough four-year-olds stumble upon them and start bringing in the money.