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A Pacific island girl died in an electric bike crash. Her parents see a greater danger

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Enchanted Way is a small street in the Pacific Palisades with stunning ocean views spread below.

But since their 12-year-old daughter died in an e-bike crash in the building a year and a half ago, Jonathan and Kai Stensaper have avoided the majestic road near their home.

The couple filed a lawsuit this week against Rad Power Bikesthe burgeoning company whose producer Molly Steinsapir was riding on the Enchanted Way hill with a friend on January 31, 2021. Steinsapir’s friend tried to brake while they were speeding down the hill, but the bike didn’t stop, and instead the girls lost control and were thrown onto concrete Molly was lying face down, unresponsive, her helmet still on, according to the lawsuit.

“I was walking there. I haven’t been there since,” Jonathan Stensaper, 44, said. “It’s a really nice street with beautiful ocean views. That’s why the girls rode there that day. I don’t know if I avoided it. At first. Now I kind of have it because it brings more and more meaning because I haven’t been there since.”

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“I can’t imagine going back to Enchanted Way again,” added Kay, 44. “I can’t even get close to that area.”

Rad Power Bikes declined to comment on the lawsuit and questions about how to ensure that children do not use its adult products.

“The entire Rad Power Bikes team extends its deepest condolences to the Stensapear family on the tragic loss of Molly Stensapear,” Brandy Gonzalez, a Rad Power Bikes spokeswoman, said in a statement.

They were at home a few blocks away when a neighbor called and told them Molly had been in an accident.

Molly Stensapear, center, who died in an e-bike crash at age 12, with her parents, Jonathan and Kay Stensaper, and younger brothers Nathaniel and Ellie.

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(Stensapear family)

As they pulled out of their driveway, an ambulance quickly passed, and they followed them to the scene. The couple said they quarreled while driving to Enchanted Way, with Jonathan trying to convince Kay that their daughter might have just broken a bone.

The Steinsapirs couple, who have two sons, Eli and Nathaniel, have lost their daughter. Molly died in the hospital a few weeks later after several brain surgeries. She never regained consciousness. Molly now lives in A mural painted in May decorates the Pearson TheaterShe is a theater in the Pacific Palisades where she has acted in plays such as “Guys and Dolls” and “Peter Pan”.

Time passed and the mist of mourning for the Steinsapirs intensified. They are now targeting the larger issue of children’s e-bike safety specifically at the Seattle-based company where Molly was riding her e-bike.

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The use of e-bike and scooter has increased All over the country and in Los Angeles. Rad Power Bikes alone boasts nearly 500,000 riders on their e-bikes, and is one of several major manufacturers.

With rates of use rising, infections across the country have doubled. The Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission found a steady 70% rise in injuries on e-scooters, e-bikes, and skateboards from 2017 to 2020. The commission reported 71 deaths nationwide during that period.

Bike safety in general became a major issue In cities across the country, activists are calling on governments to do more to protect them from cars. Los Angeles responded With more bike lanes and some protective lanes, but critics say this isn’t enough.

As more kids use e-bikes, some communities have taken notice. Laguna Beach, for example, launch education Program aimed at young people after officials noticed children speeding through town.

E-bike enthusiasts argue that the machines are safe if used correctly.

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But Steinsapirs feel that not enough is being done to protect children.

“Rad Power Bikes have simply turned a blind eye to the fact that children under 16 and under 18 use their products across the country,” said Jonathan. “They admit that this is inappropriate, but they have shown us that they are not willing to do anything about it.”

The lawsuit states that Rad Power Bikes – the biggest e-bike A North American company, offering certain e-bikes that feature an extra passenger seat—buries the fact that its RadRunner bike must not be operated by people under the age of 18 in a buyer’s guide. Warning Listed on page 49 of 57.

Molly Stensapear, center, with her younger brothers Nathaniel and Ellie

Molly Stensapear, center, with her younger brothers Nathaniel and Ellie.

(Jonathan Stensaper)

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“Carry your kids,” Rad Power Bikes suggests to parents with a photo of a child on the back seat of an e-bike with an adult.

While the company mostly posts pictures of kids riding in the back seat, a photo on Instagram is from 2020 A little boy appears sitting in the front seat From the bike alone. When a commenter in the comments suggested that the company do a “baby-size kid,” the company replied, “or a rad-sized child.”

The Rad Power Bikes website also features many reviews from parents touting the fact that their kids, under the age of 10, ride their RadRunner e-bike without adults.

One man wrote: “Can accommodate my 10 and 12 year old daughters as they ride the steep dirt road back to my house.”

This is exactly the problem, Steinsapirs argues.

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“Part of their appeal is that they take you to places you wouldn’t normally go, which includes uphill places,” said Olivier Tailo, the attorney who sued the Steinsapirs.

Molly and her friend had ridden all the way up the steep uphill of the Enchanted Way and lost control of the e-bike as they headed back down.

The use of electric bicycles by minors has been a problem since e-bikes and e-scooters entered the streets. While companies like Lime and Bird require riders to turn 18 and hold a driver’s license in order to rent an e-scooter, kids can circumvent the rules by using a parent’s account.

Experts say riding minors isn’t necessarily a problem.

said Sarah Kaufman, a professor who directs New York University’s Rodin Center for Transportation. “E-bikes can be especially useful for someone who commutes from school to work and then commutes home.”

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However, Kaufman added that fast e-bikes can be very dangerous for young people like Molly and that the label on the bike stating that it is for adults only can help prevent children from riding.

“You have a dangerous product that is being operated on by children,” Taillieu said.

Custom mural of Molly Stensapear

Mural dedicated to Molly Stensapear.

(Wesley Lapointe/Los Angeles Times)

The Steinsapirs suit also alleges potential mechanical issues with the RadRunner bike, saying the “disc brakes” and “quick-release” front wheel mechanism are a “known safety hazard in the industry.”

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Trek Bicycle Corp. Summon a million bikes Due to a disc brake problem in 2015 after three passengers were injured – one of whom was paralyzed.

The lawsuit states that the RadRunner’s brake configuration caused the e-bike to “shake” and shake when Molly’s girlfriend pulled the front hand brake.

“I miss my daughter more than anything… They say losing a child is like the worst thing that can happen to you and all I can say is that it’s true. We carry on but it’s very difficult.”

– Jonathan Stensaper

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Carissa Marsh says her 11-year-old son Rhett was unharmed on July 7 when RadRunner’s front wheel he was riding in Manhattan Beach broke off, causing him to flip over the handlebars. Marsh said he somehow fell to his feet.

“The bike literally crashed,” she added.

She said the company took no responsibility for the accident and blamed the marshes. Rad Power Bikes did not immediately respond to questions regarding the Rhett incident.

“Rad needs to take responsibility,” Marsh said. “Stop blaming everyone.”

In another incident in 2019, Coto de Casa resident Jennifer Fitzpatrick crashed after she couldn’t slow her Rad rented e-bike while speeding up a hill at the resort in Pelican Hill, she alleges in a lawsuit. Fitzpatrick, now 57, tried to turn the bike off, but couldn’t, and was thrown off the bike leaving him with a concussion and brief unconsciousness despite wearing a helmet, a lawsuit filed last year in Orange County.

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“I pressed the button over and over again, but [e-bike’s] The motor repeatedly fails to shut down, and [e-bike] She kept increasing the speed, making it impossible for her to slow down,” says the suit.

“It was a horrible accident and then I thought for a split second, ‘Oh my God, this is Jennifer,’” her husband, Daniel Fitzpatrick, 64, said. When I look at these kids riding e-bikes, I just imagine if now I’m looking at them the bike flips over and crashes.”

Rad Power Bikes argued in its response to the lawsuit that Jennifer Fitzpatrick “apparently did not use the e-bike brakes”.

Daniel Fitzpatrick said he wasn’t sure if his wife had used the brakes.

“Riding a bicycle, electric, motorized, or otherwise is clearly a recreational activity with an inherent risk of harm that cannot be eliminated from the activity without changing the essential nature of the activity.” Rad Power Bikes attorneys wrote in court papers in the Fitzpatrick case that falling off a bicycle It is an inherent danger in riding it.

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Fitzpatrick’s product liability and negligence case is set to go before a jury next year.

“Our experience is not isolated,” Kay Stensaper said.

I miss my daughter more than anything else. “They say losing a child is like the worst thing that can happen to you and all I can say is that it’s true,” said Jonathan Stensaper. “We continue, but it is very difficult.”

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Watch the LA Times today at 7 p.m. on Spectrum News 1 on Channel 1 or live on the Spectrum News app. Palos Verdes and Orange County viewers can watch on Cox Systems on Channel 99.



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A professional artist has been wrongfully accused of using artificial intelligence

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Minh An Nguyen Hoang, 30, is the lead artist at the age of three Studio Kart, based in Vietnam. Huang who makes art by name Ben MoranShe learned to draw properly in 2019, after obtaining a degree in economics.

“Drawing was just my hobby when I was a kid,” Moran said in an email conversation because they were less confident speaking English. “I started getting serious about drawing when I realized I could be really good at it. The artists who mainly inspire me are Ruan JiaAnd Huang GuangjianAnd Piotr JablonskiAll contemporary fantasy painters.

Moran is now at the center of a Reddit controversy, thanks to a piece they were commissioned to produce for $500 to cover a fantasy writer. Selkie Myth’s books. (Legend plans to use it for his upcoming 11th title, which he said will likely be named Heaven’s mandate.) “I ordered a lot of artwork [Moran]”Because they’re so good at what they do,” said Meath, who is 31 and lives in Nebraska. “It is an absolute steal of that quality and commercial use.”

In late July, Myth contacted Moran via email and asked them to produce work that would prove controversial. The final piece, chosen from four options, was produced by September 7 and modified by Moran to Myth’s specifications; The cover was designed by mid-October. “It takes a month to fix and complete,” Moran said.

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In late December, Moran, a rare Reddit user, decided he wanted to do some self-promotion. So they published the final design, called Inspirational in Warzonel p / art, and a subreddit with 22 million members. They were quickly banned by the moderators of the subreddit on suspicion of using AI-generated art, which is against r/Art’s rules.

When Moran reached out to the brokers to explain that they weren’t using AI, and sent them a link to their wallet, they were blown away. “I don’t believe you,” wrote one of the depositors in a message Moran posted on Twitter. They went on to say that even if Moran drew it, “it’s clearly an AI-driven design and it doesn’t matter.” The supervisor signed the letter with, “Sorry, it’s the way of the world.” They then silenced Moran, forbidding them to proceed with their case.



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This student tool detects whether essays are written using artificial intelligence

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High school English students who were hoping to use AI to write their homework have a new enemy: Edward Tian, ​​a 22-year-old at Princeton University, who built a website that can detect if a piece of writing has been created using the AI ​​tool ChatGPT. .

Meanwhile, teachers everywhere rejoice. “A lot of teachers have reached out to me,” said Tian, ​​whose recent tweet about the tool, GPTZero, went viral. From Switzerland, from France, from all over the world.

The latest version of ChatGPT, called GTP3, was released to the public in late November. The tool is capable of producing amazingly coherent writing, which has endless possibilities, starting with the cool stuff (such as allowing the The installer combines with dyslexia to connect effectively with his clients via email) to more nefarious uses.

Teachers are afraid of high school or college students may use this technology Say, for example, writing their homework summarizing the major events of the Battle of Tippecanoe. Their concerns are not misplaced: The Wall Street Journal reporter recently succeeded In using ChatGPT to help her pass the AP English test.

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According to Chalkbeat, New York City public schools blocked access to it to ChatGPT on school machines and the Internet. Anxiety comes even from within the home: A high-profile conference on artificial intelligence has been banned Submission of academic papers written entirely by AI (although it will allow some tools to “polish” the writers’ work).

“AI is here to stay,” said Tian, ​​a computer science and journalism major who coded the tool over a few days over the winter break. “AI-generated writing is only going to get better and better. I’m excited about this future, but we have to do it responsibly.”

He is not opposed to using AI tools in writing, but he sees this as a risky moment. He said “I want people to use ChatGPT”. “It will only be normalized, but it must have guarantees.”

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How TikTok’s anti-aesthetic has molded popular culture

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If Franz Kafka were to reconceive “The Metamorphosis” for our era, he might decide to ditch the novella in favor of a series of surreal TikToks — Gregor Samsa as eyes and mouth green-screened onto a picture of a roach jacked from the web.

Kafka is long gone. But thankfully, we have Kendria Bland, a Mississippi comedian who does a semiregular bit on TikTok about the travails of a pack of domestic roaches who like to party behind the refrigerator and sneak Popeyes when the humans aren’t around. One defiant arthropod, Roachkeishiana, refuses to scuttle when the lights come on and crafts a wig out of hair she finds in the bathtub. “You know how many times I got stepped on?” she says with a haughty hair toss. “I’m still here.”

The skits bring together a complex array of sight gags while winking at the tropes of ’hood films and sensationalist talk shows. But the production values couldn’t be more lo-fi: Bland plays every role with different wigs and uses TikTok’s editing tools to green-screen herself twerking on a kitchen table and fighting a pair of beetles. The crude special effects won’t win her an Oscar, but on TikTok, perfection takes a backseat to wit.

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Bland’s comedy represents TikTok’s promise. The app, which presents short-form videos in a frantic endless scroll, is governed by (famously creepy) algorithms that deliver posts to those deemed likely to enjoy them — which is how a one-minute cockroach skit by a comedian in Vossburg, Miss., can draw 1.3 million likes and be shared almost 90,000 times, including by me. (I am here for all cucaracha content.)

Illustration for TikTok story

Despite — or rather because of — its ubiquity, TikTok finds itself in the crosshairs. The app has long raised concerns for the ways its parent company, the Chinese tech firm ByteDance, may employ the mountains of data it harvests from its users. Just before Christmas, a report unearthed evidence that ByteDance employees — already criticized for suppressing content such as Black Lives Matter posts — had taken an even more Orwellian turn, using location data to track journalists. Some university campuses in the U.S. have banned the app from their networks and numerous states prohibit it on government devices. And a newly signed federal law has extended the ban to all government devices.

The alarm over security hasn’t put a damper on the app. TikTok couldn’t be more popular — especially among teenagers. It has had more than 3 billion downloads globally and its engagement rates outdo Facebook and Instagram. It is relentlessly sticky — addictive, one might say. And whatever its fate, it has already transformed culture: reshaping language, turning dance moves into social currency and making video into something we watch vertically rather than horizontally. When Noodle, a TikTok-famous pug died last month, obituaries proliferated across news media. The last pop concert you went to? Its set may have been inspired by the aesthetics of TikTok.

What are those aesthetics? An app as acutely atomized as TikTok can make those a challenge to articulate. So I have borrowed the format of “Notes on Camp,” in which the ultimate high-low interpreter, Susan Sontag, attempts to pin down the elusive sensibility that is camp. “Many things in the world have not been named,” she writes in the opener, “and many things, even if they have been named, have never been described.”

So with apologies to Sontag, here are my notes on TikTok:

1. The TikTok aesthetic is an anti-aesthetic.

Instagram, with its historically square frame and vaguely cursive font (formally known as Instagram Sans), is the “Live Laugh Love” pillow of the social media apps — evoking high gloss and photogenic meals. Facebook’s dull-blue interface feels so bureaucratic that critic Joanne McNeil once wrote that it looked “as if a government body were running it.”

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TikTok’s design, by contrast, is almost no design. On a phone, practically the entire window is handed over to video, with controls discreetly laid out around the right and bottom edges. There are no brightly colored frames. TikTok’s logo rarely even comes into view — usually only appearing when a video is shared.

This design reduces the presence of any one person or brand. Handles and avatars of content creators are so minimal they almost elude legibility. I am a fan of numerous creators on TikTok. I’d be hard-pressed to name more than a few of them.

If Instagram is the airbrushed influencer, TikTok is the friend you talk trash with at the end of the day. TikTokkers face the camera in bathrobes and hair bonnets while sitting in their cars or standing before their bathroom mirror. A common convention is for people to film themselves while tucked into bed.

I follow Shabaz Ali (@shabazsays) for his biting duets (these allow TikTok users to place their own video side by side with another). In his bits, Ali offers running commentary on videos that feature ostentatious displays of wealth — such as a poolside doghouse or a heated driveway. In each post he is lying down, wrapped in a fuzzy fleece blanket. If you happen to be sprawled on a couch while scrolling TikTok (which I overwhelmingly am), the sensation is of being on a video call together, sharing an eye roll over the worst rich people habits.

Except that you’re not.

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3. On TikTok, you don’t follow people, you follow an algorithm. Or, rather, the algorithm follows you.

Unlike other apps, TikTok doesn’t require you to follow anybody in order to view videos. In fact, the app undermines the practice, shooting videos straight to the For You Page (a.k.a. the FYP), which greets you every time you log on. That feed is driven not by your careful selections but by algorithms.

In 2020, TikTok offered a cursory explainer on this recommendation system, which is drawn from your device’s settings as well as your habits. “A strong indicator of interest, such as whether a user finishes watching a longer video from beginning to end,” the post explains, “would receive greater weight than a weak indicator, such as whether the video’s viewer and creator are both in the same country.”

Alex Zhu, the Chinese tech entrepreneur who devised TikTok’s progenitor, the lip-syncing app Musical.ly, has likened these algorithms to a set of “invisible hands.” But the New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino has a better metaphor: “Some social algorithms are like bossy waiters: they solicit your preferences and then recommend a menu. TikTok orders you dinner by watching you look at food.”

When you first land on TikTok, it is a fire hose of random content. But once the algorithm plugs its feelers into your brain, it starts feeding you videos suited to your sensibilities. I currently sit at a confluence of various socially useless Toks — among them, Latin American Meme-Tok, Awkward Christianity-Tok and Rudy Valencia-Tok (the unfolding story of an everyday cuate who appears to have been busted on the app for cheating on both his wife and his mistress, inspiring telenovela levels of plot deconstruction).

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This hyperspecialization makes TikTok incredibly sticky. Imagine a TV channel geared to your most peculiar tastes. (There is, indeed, a whole corner of TikTok devoted to lampooning TikTok’s habit-forming qualities.)

But it can also suck you into an algorithmic hole. Vox’s Sara Morrison recently wrote about how TikTok’s algorithm had pummeled her with videos related to trauma and death. “What I am getting is a glimpse at just how aggressive TikTok is when it comes to deciding what content it thinks users want to see and pushing it on them.”

4. TikTok’s megastars get the spotlight, but it’s the randos who feed the addiction.

The big TikTok influencers with tens of millions of followers — such as Charli D’Amelio and Khaby Lame — are the ones who land media profiles and sponsorship deals. But ultimately TikTok’s appeal rests on that endless scroll of content being shoveled into your lizard brain. That means lots of little posts from people whose content you’ve never seen before and are liable never to see again.

A good night on TikTok — my TikTok, at least — is a thoughtful armchair analysis of Netflix’s “Harry & Meghan,” a Korean grandma transforming leftover Costco chicken into a sumptuous kalguksu and an old man riding a cow along a major thoroughfare in the Central Valley. On their own, these videos would never rise to the level of must-see anything. But in the aggregate, it becomes entertaining — like chatting with a group of witty (algorithmically selected) friends at a party: “You won’t believe it, but on the way over here, I saw a guy riding a cow.”

Naturally, this raises questions about the ways in which we all labor for free to generate content for social media companies. (That’s a story for another time.) But it’s also indicative of how a virtual nobody can become TikTok famous overnight. Put up a compelling post — say, a toddler dancing on a table at a mountaintop rave — and it will be dueted, parodied, imitated and shared ad infinitum, including by Ukrainian soldiers on the front line.

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5. TikTok prizes performance.

Kylie Jenner’s posing might work as a still image on Instagram, but it feels like dead air on TikTok. The short-form video format favors action, which is why spoofs about the Kardashians are far more engaging to watch than the Kardashians themselves. (I’m a devotee of Yuri Lamasbella (@yurilamasbella), who, armed with a few wigs and a ring light, perfectly skewers their expressionless affect.)

Commentary, comedy, music, movement, dance, clever cuts, found footage, catchy audio and animals doing funny things are all grist. Sometimes it’s a truly bizarre combination of all of the above, such as a surreal nine-second collage of tigers and a motorcycle racing through a cornfield with footage of Turkish TikTok influencer Yasin Cengiz — known for making his belly bounce when he dances — superimposed on top.

The manic nature of these short films — which began as 15-second videos when TikTok launched in 2016 and can now run to 10 minutes in length — feel like a return to the roots of cinema. Thomas Edison’s early Kinetoscope films from the late 19th century, short looped films seen via a viewing cabinet, come to mind. These mini-movies featured boxing, acrobats and a body builder flexing his muscles — films full of frenzied physical activity to convey the radical nature of the new motion pictures.

Naturally, fragments of old Kinetscope films have made their way onto TikTok.

6. TikTok prizes repetition.

Manic performance reads well on an app on which you have about six seconds to grab someone’s attention. So does repetition. If a concept or visual gag gains traction, repeating it can extend the moment.

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A man dancing in a public square in Asia set to Boney M.’s “Ma Rainey” becomes popular, so the account holder posts endless variations. Fijian TikTokker Shaheel Prasad (@shermont22) goes viral for his spoofs of runway models, strutting barefoot while bearing pieces of hardware as if they were haute couture, so he produces dozens of similar posts. “This is a trend that will be bound to end,” he told the New York Times’ Guy Trebay. “But meanwhile I will try to keep doing it as long as I can.”

Repetition moves across accounts too. A popular tune — say, a remix of Busta Rhyme’s “Touch It” or Armani White’s “Billie Eilish” — can become a staple for videos featuring smash-cut wardrobe changes. Songs, settings, movements, dances and concepts are relentlessly rehashed, wringing a measure of soothing predictability from TikTok’s general anarchy. It also creates a low barrier for entry: Users don’t have to be original to achieve prominence; all they need is a clever spin on a trending hashtag.

Ultimately, the endless repetition can feel like a trap. I’ve seen some creators repeat concepts to the point of exhaustion. It brings to mind an early episode of “Black Mirror” in which Daniel Kaluuya plays a man in a technological dystopia: Suffering a break over the exploitative practices of a nameless entertainment state, he threatens to kill himself with a shard of glass during a live broadcast. This reckless act of candid expression proves so popular that he is condemned to repeat the act every night.

7. TikTok is an ouroboros of looking.

On Instagram, if you feel passionately about a post, you can leave a comment. On Twitter, you can retweet and add a comment. But TikTok is unique in its duet function, which has spawned a near-infinite array of reaction videos commenting alongside other posts — like a hall of mirrors, or that Greek snake of antiquity eating its own tail.

A staggering number of duets involve one person commenting on the kitchen prep of another. (TikTokker @chefreactions is a master in this category, a professional chef known for verbally dismembering hack recipes: “That looks as if E.T. ended in a tragic house fire.”) And, of course, there’s the duet train, in which one user pairs her video with another who pairs it with another and another — like a digital exquisite corpse. The format was employed to terrific effect on the sea shanty “Soon May the Wellerman Come,” which went viral last year, allowing performers to add successive layers to the original song.

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The duet is one of the most intriguing aspects of the app: a form of looking that is far more active than clicking “like.” Even more intriguing: Many duets are very simple in nature, featuring one person quietly observing rather than offering a judgmental reaction. These calm expressions of looking rarely go viral. But there is something affirming about them.

It recalls a point once made by critic John Berger. “Soon after we can see, we are aware that we can also be seen,” he wrote. “The eye of the other combines with our own eye to make it fully credible that we are part of the visible world.”

8. TikTok is real life.

If all of this seems irrelevant because you aren’t on TikTok, well, TikTok has found its way to you regardless.

The TikTok effect has sent Big Tech back to the drawing board on long-established apps. In July, a Google exec revealed at a conference that, according to internal studies, 40% of young people turn to TikTok or Instagram when looking for a basic service like lunch — not a search engine like Google. Since then, Google has made user reviews much more prominent on its maps and now delivers many more images, graphic text boxes and social media feeds in its results.

Illustration for TikTok story

And the influence extends beyond the internet. TikTok has inserted new slang into the language and generated new works of theater. (Remember the fans of Pixar’s “Ratatouille” who essentially crowdsourced a musical that wound up on a New York stage?) And the app is a juggernaut in the music industry, where new songs and old ones alike can become hits — like Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” which became a cultural touchstone after being resuscitated by an Idaho skateboarder with a taste for cranberry juice in 2020. Now performers such as Megan Thee Stallion collaborate with TikTok to test the waters on singles releases.

But the TikTok effect goes beyond basic virality; its aesthetics manifest within the literal architecture of art.

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Rosalía‘s Motomami tour featured a stripped-down set with three vertical screens that projected live images of the singer and her dancers. Green-screen effects were employed, showing the singer playing piano, for example, against a backdrop of rolling green hills. (Very TikTok.) The climax was the moment Rosalía launched into the hit “Bizcochito.” The choreography begins with a familiar viral gesture of the singer standing with her hand on one hip, pretending to chew gum while looking annoyed.

When I attended her concert in October, this pantomime had been all over TikTok for weeks. When the sequence began, the crowd roared in response. Cellphones went up. And the young woman seated in front of me recorded the sequence and uploaded it to TikTok. TikTok came to life, then promptly became more content for TikTok.

To TikTok, we submit our gaze. And through the filter of the algorithm we find it projected back at us — broken down and commodified into bite-size morsels that might feel like the intimate dispatches of a thousand individuals but, in the end, are simply the output of an opaque, all-knowing machine.



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