February 21, 2012

VIDEO: The funniest video on the internet …


… or is it? Google has developed an algorithm that judges comments left on YouTube videos, and through it they claim to have found the funniest video on the internet. And here it is. Side-splitting, huh?

The algorithm was based on recurring words/phrases/nonsense left in comments on YouTube comedy videos, like ‘lol’, or variations thereof including ‘LOL!’ ‘loooooool!’ and ‘lololololol!’. The whole project was inspired by the YouTube Music Slam, in which Google  ’used acoustic analysis and machine learning’ to study thousands of YouTube music videos and ‘automatically identify talented musicians’. If the results of the Comedy Slam are anything to go by, this is a neat gimmick but a deeply flawed way of finding talent—which is in line with what we and other publishers have been saying for a long time. Curating a list—be it at a record label, a publishing house, a comedy club—is a tricky business, and algorithms just aren’t up to the job.

Besides which, everyone knows that this is the funniest YouTube video. And it’s about YouTube user comments. Shit just got meta:


Ellie Robins is an editor at Melville House. Previously, she was managing editor of Hesperus Press.