ManiTube Algorithm Reversal: what will be true of the next video YouTube recommends?
5/17 Phase 2: Dislike it
5/17 Phase 2: Like it
5/16 Phase 2: Dislike it
5/16 Phase 2: Watch it from start to finish
5/15 Phase 2: Watch it from start to finish once
5/15 Phase 1: It will be "Me at the Zoo"
5/16 Phase 1: It will be "The first video on YouTube..."
5/17 Phase 1: Older than 2 years
5/17 Phase 1: >1M views
5/17 Phase 1: Contains 1 cat
5/17 Phase 1: It will be "If Elon Musk owned Discord...":

Let's reverse-engineer the YouTube algorithm! I created the following fresh YouTube account:

Every day I'll watch the last recommended video, wait for the next one to autoplay, and resolve facts about the newly recommended video accordingly. To make this more interesting, I'm also going to include the potential to engage with the video in various ways according to what the market decides.

For each video, there will be two resolution phases:

  • Phase 1: These resolutions represent facts about the video. Every morning, I'll let my current video autoplay into the next one, announce what was recommended, and resolve whatever "Phase 1" facts were true of the newly recommended video. I'll also upload proof whenever I get a chance.

  • Phase 2: These resolutions represent engagement actions. At around 10pm ET every day, I will resolve every "Phase 2" item according to how people bet on them. ≥50% gets YES, <50% gets NO, unless two resolutions contradict each other (e.g. "Like" and "Dislike") or imply one another (e.g. "watch for >5 minutes" and "watch for >10 minutes").

    • In case of contradictions, I will pick the one with the highest percent value, and break ties with a coinflip. I will resolve any contradictions first in this manner, starting with the highest-valued contradictory statement.

    • Then I will perform any 50%+ actions that remain

    • Then, in case of implications, I will resolve anything to YES that is implied by an action I performed, regardless of whether it traded at 50% or not

    • Everything else will resolve to NO (or N/A if necessary)

    • In the absence of valid 50%+ actions, I will default to clicking through to the end of each video and not engaging with it further.

  • I will N/A any items that are suggested too late.

For the first video, I'm going to start with "Me at the Zoo" (similar to when YouTuber Ludwig did a similar experiment) so I preemptively resolved that Phase 1 option. Therefore, the first set of Phase 2 items represents engagement actions for "Me at the Zoo."


  • Please suggest items in the "MM/DD Phase X: ..." format. I will replace any that are not in this format with a correctly formatted one if it's clear what date/phase they're talking about, and NA/remove ones that are ambiguous. Feel free to suggest items for any date in the future, knowing I will only resolve them on that day.

  • Please keep Phase 2 actions reasonable (and focused on engaging with the video in some way that YouTube is likely to be able to detect). I won't spend more than 30 minutes on engaging with a given video. So that precludes watching certain videos from start to finish at 1X speed, or watching them many times in a row.

  • Also please don't try to create paradoxes with Phase 2 actions. I probably haven't anticipated every way engagement actions will contradict themselves, but I will do my best to untangle any paradoxical situations that arise (with N/As if necessary)

Last but not least, in anticipation of dwindling market engagement, I'll only perform the phase 1/phase 2 resolutions on days for which items have been suggested. This market closes 1000 days/potential videos from today, but I'm not sure we'll make it that far.

Get Ṁ600 play money
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5/17 Phase 1 resolved. How should I engage?

@EricBolton "The first video on Youtube...":

This classic beluga video explores a conspiracy about Jawed Karim. Beluga's sense of humor hinges heavily on the idea that comedy emerges from the unexpected. Were I a multi-modal model estimating logprobs for each frame, I would be quite perplexed.

They're not always my cup of tea, but Beluga's videos are an interesting anthropological artifact to say the least; heavily remixed Hollywood soundtrack snippets, early-internet-inspired meme characters, and an abundance of rick rolls. It's unclear to me if alien observers of such artifacts would be simply confused, or raise an eyebrow at how far we've fallen.

would love if you posted lil reviews or summaries

@Alex will do. "Me at the Zoo":

The founder of YouTube is commenting on elephants at the zoo. The video seems like it's intended later on as a test for his new platform. (Cameras weren't as ubiquitous back then, so this is likely him filming something generic to upload later.) It's early days of the Internet, definitely makes me wish I could go back.

His vibe is a little mischievous. After what must have been quite the development effort, he knows he's sitting on something big. Indeed, YouTube eventually sold for $1.65 billion. He's probably worth several hundred million today, and was able to retire before Big Tech got too crazy. I must say I envy Jawed Karim. He's accomplished something great, he's rich, and he flies completely under the radar.

Also, elephants are great. I can't wait for BCI tech to accelerate so we can find out more about what they think about all day with those big brains of theirs. What might the world have looked like if they'd evolved those long trunks to be as prehensile as human hands and beaten homo sapiens to global hegemony? Probably only the Simulator can know.

bought Ṁ10 5/16 Phase 2: Like it NO

no option to dislike this one? I would be v curious what would happen

@Alex You can add options. I added "dislike"

Looks like we our answer for our first actually recommended video! It's a video about the first video on YouTube. How should I engage with it?

EDIT Link:

Come on you traders! It's the algo that shaped the 2016 election!

Let's get some bets in! Letting the next video autoplay in about ~1 hour

Tomorrow morning I’ll watch the video start to finish and see what autoplays. Get your bets in before then!