Last Local Yokai (for now, anyway)

The last local yokai I want to introduce is the 怒りのグレムリン (Ikari no guremurin, or rage gremlin). These suckers are the embodiment of the algorithms that are used on the most popular social media platforms. Just like advertisers discovered that fear sells products better than sex, rage drives engagement better than tranquility. And politicians use both.

I got a really good example of that when He Who Shall Not Be Named bought a platform on which I used to spend a LOT of time. I switched full-time to another that does not have those algorithms (🦣) and immediately, IMMEDIATELY my mental health improved. I had been hesitant to leave before, because it was such a good source of news that I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. But it turns out that I don’t need to put up with Nazis on a platform to get that access. And it was a great case study for the difference that rules can make to one’s experience – the algorithms and norms that constitute a social media platform can make or break it.

I tasked Craiyon with showing me a “futuristic space gremlin within a computer’s software” and this in my opinion is the best one it came up with:

A creepy, distorted and blurry face surrounded by rays of distorted and broken light against a dark background.
AI-generated image

Which was pretty good, but not really what I had in mind. It’s too divorced from the programming decisions that are made by humans. I wanted something that was closer to what the people behind the scenes were likely to see. So this is what I drew:

Handwritten "software code" in a faux-Python style that starts off fairly normally but then begins to randomly insert skull-and-crossbones symbols before drawing a skull in ASCII text.
by Annelies Kamran
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