The New York Times show “The Weekly” did a story on the influence of YouTube in Brazil. While their conclusions are certainly alarming and seemingly valid, they’re not the whole story of how a fascist government took over the country. Missing is an analysis of the way the right wing establishment decided that characters such as Bolsonaro were useful idiots that they could manipulate to implement their own policies for their own good, and especially the plot to jail left-wing leadership as scapegoats for corruption in the country.

The discussion of the shortcomings of recommendation algorithms in YouTube remind me of the experiment with automated chat bots run by Microsoft, which quickly degenerated into hate speech. It’s clear that we have not yet incorporated basic ethics into our algorithms in the same way we have integrated the profit motive. Computer scientists need to be speaking with ethicists.

It’s important to remember that there are people behind these decisions, and those people need to take responsibility.

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