YouTube is behaving badly again. A prominent presenter I occasionally watch, who has millions of subscribers, has been demonetised, for some possible actions 20 years ago. This is not a commentary on potential innocence or guilt, but on YouTube's processes. There are people whose lives are supported by revenue from their presentations on YouTube. This ranges from small fries all the way up to the big fish like the one here. When an individual is demonetised they can lose the ability to support themselves. In this case allegations were made by the media, not the police or authorities, and at the time of writing there have been zero charges made. YouTube is essentially saying, bring us all your viewers so we can hit them with ads and we can make lots of money, but you will be getting nothing for your work.
- YouTube has no reason other than hearsay to demonetise this individual as there are no content strikes involved in this case. So, YouTube is a guilty until proven innocent organisation, very selectively applied. Curiously they allow convicted felons and known terrorists to post things without challenge, but in this case, demonetised. The question becomes why? YouTube would appear to be pandering to a narrow group of activist causes and is heavily influenced by political forces. If you fall afoul of such forces, your monetisation can be limited on the platform. I watch other presenters who are allowed to say all kinds of things on say Rumble who would instantly get a strike if they said the same thing on YouTube. I know of one presenter that has a dump button for his staff to use to pop up "content not allowed on YouTube" appearing there, versus uninterrupted content on Rumble.
- The other issue here is when later, if the allegations are found to be false, something that has occurred many times before, there's no apology from YouTube for the ban and viewers have gone elsewhere either to other presenters or other platforms like Rumble. There's rarely an apology from the accusers and even less commonly from the media. The individual and possibly their staff have been ruined and it's a long road back. The potential for this to be misused is evident and YouTube should be taken to task by all for such behaviour every time this occurs.
- Artificial intelligence continues to feature in the news on a daily basis. I'm sure readers are often bombarded by this, but as a musician, a recent video caught my eye. It's now possible to use a trained model from a growing number and range of singers to apply to another voice track, so converting it to that singer's voice. The demonstration shown took a model of Taylor Swift and applied it to an Ed Sheeran song. The result was impressive and quite realistic. It is just as easy to use your singing and apply another artist's vocal style. All of the software was free, but limited to about 60 seconds in a demo form. If you are curious about the complete process and even turning the result into a music video, look up Make a HIT Song and Music Video with AI from Matt Wolf on, yes, YouTube.
- A federal judge in California has blocked the state's new online kids' safety law from going into effect because of a lawsuit brought by Meta, Google, Amazon and other tech giants. The bill essentially requires that businesses act in the "best interests of children", ie anyone under 18. It also requires websites to verify users' ages in the name of protecting kids' privacy. These parts of the bill would appear to be reasonable, but not apparently to our tech giants.
- There is disagreement about running AI models on your PC. According to AMD's director Justin Galton, AI-on-the-desktop is not yet a thing, and its uses may not be apparent for some time. At the same time Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger repeatedly referred to running large language AI models on the user's PC. This included apps like Stable Diffusion and Llama2. One may be marketing and the other a more realistic view, but we won't know until we see what happens and can be done over the next year or so. We are in interesting AI times.
- When it comes to hacking you rarely think about Las Vegas casinos, but one of the Vegas groups was hacked recently and this affected more than just casinos there. It was ransomware and the casinos paid, which was a mistake from my perspective. The casinos went back to a cash only operation for a while which is a good lesson for relying too much on technology.
- The location-based phone game Ingress Prime has been out for some years now but it is still a flaky piece of software. I wonder about companies that are happy to have their software with bugs that last for years without addressing them. I also wonder about people who are happy to pay thousands of dollars for a game like RAID Shadow Legends to keep themselves on top of the winner list.
James Hein is an IT professional with over 30 years' standing. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.