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Your Kid May Already Be Watching AI-Generated Videos on YouTube

Neither Yes! Neo nor Super Crazy Kids responded to WIRED’s request for comment.

Few Limits

Yes! Neo, Super Crazy Kids, and other similar channels share a common look—they feature 3D animation in a style similar to Cocomelon, YouTube’s most popular children’s channel in the US. (Dana Steiner, a spokesperson for Cocomelon’s parent company Moonbug, says that none of its shows currently use AI, “but our talented creative team is always exploring new tools and technologies.”)

This familiar aesthetic means that a busy parent glancing quickly at a screen might confuse the AI content for a program they’ve vetted. And while it is not particularly well-crafted, the content of the videos put out by these channels tends to be shoddy in the same way that so much of today’s human-made children’s entertainment is shoddy—frenetic, loud, unoriginal.

YouTube is in the process of introducing new policies for AI-generated content, although the company doesn’t seek to significantly restrict it. “YouTube will soon be introducing content labels and disclosure requirements for creators who upload content that contains realistic altered or synthetic material, including content geared toward kids and families,” YouTube spokesperson Elena Hernandez says.

When WIRED inquired whether YouTube will be proactively seeking out AI-generated content and labeling it as such, Hernandez said more details will come later but that it plans to rely primarily on voluntary disclosure. “Our main approach will be to require creators themselves to disclose when they’ve created altered or synthetic content that’s realistic.” The company says it uses a combination of automated filters, human review, and user feedback to determine what content is accessible in the more restricted YouTube Kids service.

Something that’s generated to capture eyeballs—you wouldn’t expect it to have any positive impact.

David Bickham, research director at Boston Children’s Hospital’s Digital Wellness Lab

Some fear YouTube and parents around the world aren’t adequately prepared for the coming wave of AI-generated kids content. Neuroscientist Erik Hoel recently watched some of the tutorials on making kids content with AI, as well as some videos he suspected to be made using the technology. Hoel was so unsettled by what he saw that inveighed against the concept on his Substack, including by singling out Super Crazy Kids. “All around the nation there are toddlers plunked down in front of iPads being subjected to synthetic runoff, deprived of human contact even in the media they consume,” he wrote. “There’s no other word but dystopian.”

Hoel’s warning recalls the last great scandal about children’s YouTube, dubbed “Elsagate.” It kicked off in 2017 when people started noticing surreal and disturbing videos aimed at kids on the platform, often featuring popular characters like Elsa from Disney’s Frozen, Spiderman, and the titular porcine hero from Peppa Pig. While AI-generated content hasn’t reached a similar nadir, its creators appear to be chasing a similar goal of drawing the attention of YouTube’s automated recommendations.

Creative Baby Padre

Some more obscure AI video channels are already veering into weird territory. The channel Brain Nursey Egg TV, for example, gives its unsettling videos names like “Cars for Kids. Trailer the Slide With Lyrics.” The video’s description is a gigantic string of keywords, including “disney junior elimi birakma 24 chima sorozat BeamNG-Destruction ali babanın çiftliği şarkısı la brujita creative baby padre finger.”

The plotless video is an amalgamation of glitchy visuals like floating eyeballs and melting blocks of color. The soundtrack features children applauding, a robotic voice counting, individual babies laughing, and different robotic voices intoning the word “YouTube” at seemingly random intervals. “This has generated voices throughout and is either powered by an AI-generated script or may be one of the greatest and most underrated works of surrealist video art in recent memory,” says Colman of Reality Defender. Either way, this kind of content hasn’t picked up much traction yet—some of the channel’s videos only have a handful of views. Brain Nursery Egg TV does not provide an email address or other way to contact those running the channel.

Originally Appeared Here

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