Youtube Radicalization

Reading reflections on:

  1. The Making of a YouTube Radical on the New York Times. Note: this article mentions rape, violence, and contains offensive racial and other slurs. If you are uncomfortable, you may skip this article.
  2. Optional, but recommended: Recommending What Video to Watch Next: A Multitask Ranking System by many authors at Google. [Google owns Youtube]

Suggestion: In your reflection, you could discuss if Youtube’s new system would have made a difference to the protagonist in the New York Times article.

Reading reflections for “Recommender Systems”

Resnick and Varian talk about how “it is often necessary to make choices without personal experience of the alternatives.” In their framing, recommender systems are primarily a decision-making tool. On the other hand, DellaPosta, Shi and Macy suggest that the critical insight behind item-based recommenders (“people who like one thing in common also tend to like other things”) results in lifestyle politics and culture wars, even when the commonalities have no underlying logic (horoscopes and liberalism?)

In your reflections, consider writing about the implications of these ideas: if correlations are not reflective of deeper shared desires and values, what does this mean for using recommenders to help make choices when we don’t know the alternatives well? What other implications does reading the two papers together suggest?