After 7 years and over 450 videos uploaded to YouTube, I finally got a viral video!
This video has gotten over 4 million views and 14,000 new subscribers in just 4 weeks.
Basically, in just one month, that video has garnered almost double the amount of views than all my previous 450+ videos combined in 7 years.
Of course, I am happy. Yipee!
Because I have no idea why suddenly that video has become so popular.
And after asking a bunch of YouTube experts… nobody else knows why either.
Well, no one except whoever came up with YouTube’s ranking algorithm.
That someone, mostly the group of engineers responsible for YouTube’s ranking algorithm, tweaked one of the hundreds of variables that decide whether a video gets promoted or not.
My video, after 2 years collecting dust, met the new algorithm’s criteria and suddenly became one of the chosen lucky ones among tens of millions of videos.
A.I. is the new God
Not only I’m confused, I’m also mad, frustrated, and feel hapless.
After years learning SEO (a.k.a black magic designed to decipher the unpredictable and whimsical tastes of today’s ever-changing search algorithms,) I thought I had a bit of an idea of what to do to get more views on YouTube.
Understanding this art has been a crucial part of running a marketing video agency for 7 years. Learning how to rank higher on Google and Youtube (owned by Google) is one of the most coveted skills today.
Corporations spend billions every year trying to understand and outsmart these search algorithms.
Why? because in today’s brave new world, it’s the algorithm the one that dictates who survives or perishes on the web.
The algorithm, the almighty algorithm has become the new God.
A.I. God Is Already Breaking Havoc
Many are deeply concerned about the implications of machines becoming more intelligent than humans. The dawn of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) augurs an unpredictable future where machines could eventually surpass human intelligence and decide to dispose of the entire human race in a mere nanosecond.
However, I’d argue that we don’t have to wait for AGI to be worried. AGI’s little brother ANI (Artificial Narrow Intelligence) is already here breaking havoc.
Algorithms are just one many ANI’s incarnations.
Some of ANI’s incarnations control search results, some which ads we get shown, some which news we see, some which products we get recommended.
Working together, these ANI’s incarnations can tell us the fastest way to get to the store that sells the product that was recommended to us after clicking on the top result on a search result.
Here are 4 reasons why I’m concerned about the new A.I. God:
1. The A.I. God IS Deciding The Fate Of Millions
I’m concerned because unlike most Gods, I have absolute certainty that the A.I. God is real and is already here deciding the fate of millions.
If you make the algorithm happy you’ll live another day, if you don’t, all your hopes, expectations, and years of work can be obliterated literally in milliseconds.
But oh my, that same algorithm may suddenly like you, make you famous, rich, or like in my case, send 4 million humans your way.
2. The A.I. God Works Mostly Unsupervised
I’m concerned because this new A.I. God, although created by humans (not unlike most Gods), it already has a mind of its own, a mind that makes millions of decisions per second, most of them unsupervised and beyond the control of the very humans that created it.
3. The A.I. God is Unpredictable
I’m concerned because the new A.I. God is unpredictable. Today, out of the blue, it will send you 4 million views, tomorrow it will forget you. And in both situations, you may never know why and may spend enormous amounts of resources trying to figure out what happened so you can replicate the unexpected flood of machine-generated attention.
4. The A.I. God Forces Us To Please Machines Over Humans
I’m concerned that millions of humans are creating content designed to serve the A.I. God over their fellow human.
I’m guilty of that sin. For the last 7 years, my livelihood has depended on being able to drive organic traffic to my websites. In order to do so, I had to decide whether to create content that pleased humans or machines.
Here is the conundrum. If I create content that disregards the machines, the A.I. God won’t show it to the people I want to help. And If I create content that pleases the machines, I’m but another slave of the A.I. God.
What is the solution?
A few years ago I was hired by a Turkish company to create an explainer video for a human-powered search engine called SocialSu.
The goal of SocialSu was to have humans crowdsource search result rankings instead of machine-powered algorithms.
SocialSu didn’t work.
There are simply not enough humans on this planet to manually rank billions of websites and videos. That’s why humans had to resort to machines to do this work.
So the only possible solution is to make the A.I. God better at thinking like a human.
And the million dollar question is… like which human?
Like you? like me?… like Larry Page, Bill Gates, or Zuckerberg? … like Donald Trump? or like the average of the top 1% richest Americans?
Unfortunately, The A.I. God preferences will always approximate those of the highest bidder.
Are you the highest bidder?
No? then may the A.I. God have mercy on us.
Peace, Love, and algorithmic cookies.
P.S: The A.I. God is not going away anytime soon so you better learn to suck up its cybernetic rear. Brian Dean of Backlinko will gladly teach you how to do it HERE.
P.2: Last week I gave you a glimpse of what it takes to worship YouTube’s A.I. God HERE.
P.3: I’m not the only one concerned about the power that algorithms already have over us. Listen to Derek Muller from Veritasium express similar concerns HERE.
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