Tom Scocca discovered that a blog post he’d written had been turned into a weird video in which the text of the post was superimposed “meme style” on a set of five rotating static graphics, set to music (“wordless vocals and a sort of jazzy guitar and beat”).
The video — which only used about half of the text of Scocca’s post — had zero views. It belonged to an account called smokaj0000, whose videos are “a solid wall of “No Views” videos, sprinkled here and there with videos that have gotten some tiny number of views” — it posts hundreds of them every week.
Smokaj0000 is mysterious. If you try to post its videos to your own account, you’ll get an automated copyright takedown from HEXACORP LTD for the audio track, which is apparently titled “cool-mbia.” Hexacorp’s website is a word-salad of business grifterspeak: “Deliver high end solutions & services, collaborate customer data & people by adapting latest technologies & tools establish customer friendly process and create effective solutions with focus towards ‘Best Services Interest’ and ‘Maximum Value for Money.'”
So what the actual fuck is going on? It’s a mystery. As Scocca says, “Whatever smokaj0000 is doing, it is not producing content for human consumption. It is aggressively, chillingly ahuman, a machine signaling to machines for some algorithmic purpose whose human-centered antecedents are long lost. It is not even fake; it simply exists outside any realm where reality might matter.”
Why Did a YouTube Bot Make an Unwatched Video of Our Blog Post? [Tom Scocca/Hmmdaily]
(via Dan Hon)
[I’ve been in love with Negativland since their legendary copyright battle with U2 and they’ve been a part of Boing Boing since 2001; it’s a pleasure beyond words to be able to debut More Data, their characteristically trenchant video about data privacy and surveillance; see below for notes from Negativland. -Cory]
Screening Surveillance: three short science fiction films about surveillance, with accompanying classroom materials
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada funded Screening Surveillance project: a trio of Creative Commons licensed short science fiction films about “everyday issues around big data and surveillance.” The movies run about 10 minutes each, and come with classroom materials.
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