back to article YouTube thinkfluencer Siraj Raval admits he plagiarized boffins' neural qubit papers – as ESA axes his workshop

Internet celeb Siraj Raval’s reputation continues spiraling downward – after he admitted plagiarizing real scientists' work to produce a paper on neural qubits. Raval – who has 700,000 YouTube subscribers and 70,000 Twitter followers – was last month accused of scamming hundreds of students, who subscribed to his online …

  1. sbt Silver badge
    Trollface

    "I haven't plagiarized research for any other paper"

    I created an ML system in 30 seconds which reported the odds of this being true as approximately 13:1.

    Sad when folks destroy their success in a quest to exploit it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "I haven't plagiarized research for any other paper"

      Unfortunately, if YouTube pulled the videos of every charlatan, they'd go broke. It's all about the money.

  2. jake Silver badge

    Sad thing is ...

    ... he's probably going to cash in on this bit of "fame" to the tune of $180,000/yr with some idiot company somewhere.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Sad thing is ...

      Perhaps it's also likely that he'll find a career in politics. His answer to the question about his referrals having value shows the mindset.

  3. Mayday Silver badge
    Stop

    Thinkfluencer

    He deserves a kick in the nuts for this alone, let alone for all the other shit he's done.

    1. sbt Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      If the shoe fits...

      Self described? Then yes, definitely.

    2. Andrew Moore

      Re: Thinkfluencer

      I think effluencer would be a more appropriate term

  4. Securitymoose

    When does curating become plagiarism?

    Would that be when you don’t fess up to where you got your information?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: When does curating become plagiarism?

      A bit further on than that. It's when you get found out. Then you can admit your mistake. The mistake, of course, is being found out.

  5. Mark192

    The sad thing is

    The sad thing is that using other people's work with proper & generous attribution would have had far more value to him than presenting himself as a guru.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: The sad thing is

      The sad thing is that using other people's work with proper & generous attribution would have had far more value to him than presenting himself as a guru.

      True. He seems to have a knack for pulling complex topics and material from lots of sources into easy to ingest instructional videos (looks like, from the attention he's garnered from even Industry Professionals, as I've not seen any of his vids).

      But an Editing job doesn't carry the same media attention.

    2. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: The sad thing is

      See a LOT of real youtubers (with either other jobs, or Youtube videos as their job). Who use cititation, reference and give credit. But are also still popular for this exact reason.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: The sad thing is

        "But are also still popular for this exact reason."

        Yes.

        Taking other people's work and explaining it in an easier to understand way that more people can engage with... Is called teaching.

        Taking other people's work and passing it off as your own... Is called being a shithead.

    3. slimshady76
      Mushroom

      Re: The sad thing is

      No amount of attribution could compensate stealing 90% of someone's paper to build yours. Citation and reproduction must amount to a tiny fraction of a paper to be considered publishable. This guy just copies eveything and calls himself a self-taught genius.

      On a different -but related- matter, if you look at his twitter most of the comments by asshats defending him are from Indian Youtuber wannabes. They are the ones calling him "senpai" "sensei" and so on. This guys is clearly "inspiring" them not to progress in ML, but in building a bullcrap career.

    4. Random Handle

      Re: The sad thing is

      >The sad thing is that using other people's work with proper & generous attribution would have had far more value to him than presenting himself as a guru.

      Perhaps - but then again there are precedents which suggest he might end up on the back of a 1 bitcoin note in 250 years or so.

  6. whiz

    Its not OK

    Seems Mr Raval is apologetic because his plagiarism was caught.

    Thats sad. Schedule and timelines cant be an excuse

    The speed has reduced now that its time for reckoning.

    He may bounce or may never bounce back.

    For certain he would have reached places if he kept on an ethical straitjacket.

  7. LDS Silver badge
    Devil

    "His wide-eyed enthusiastic nature and welcoming can-do attitude"

    Yes, that's what door-to-door sellers, Ponzi schemes managers and plagiarist have in common....

    Moreover the way he substituted complex/complicated and gate/door show he didn't even understand what he was talking about.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is nonsense...

      Agreed. Almost the perfect description of a bullshitter.

    2. Imhotep

      Re: "His wide-eyed enthusiastic nature and welcoming can-do attitude"

      "Moreover the way he substituted complex/complicated and gate/door show he didn't even understand what he was talking about."

      Exactly. That pretty much says it all.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    reputation continues spiraling downward

    I find nothing strange about that, the more you dig, the more you dig up, and this applies to, methinks, everybody (which is not an excuse for him, but getting it in perspective). Take Trump, he's not a particularly (...) (...), he's just shamelessly open about it, versus all those fine specimen of humankind that preach, shrilly, one thing, and do, quietly, another. Until they slip and their less favourable image comes to the surface, and everybody's goes tsk-tsk, oh dear, I'd never thought!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Congratulations on transforming an article about a YouTube guy into your personal political ranting playground.

        Carry on.

        Oh, and Obama asked a foreign country to look into Trump ? Citation please. I have not particularly appreciated any of the recent American presidents, but I'm pretty sure that Trump is the only president in the world who has ever asked a foreign country to investigate a political opponent.

        1. jason 7 Silver badge

          Yes I do apologise. Amazing how the world has got so wound up really.

          1. jason 7 Silver badge

            Withdrawn! I did go off on one there. One of those days. Sorry.

          2. heyrick Silver badge

            Amazing how the world has got so wound up really.

            Grrrrrrrrrr! AARGH!

            I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.

            .

            .

            .

            Uh, what were we talking about again?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I don't give a flying monkey (...) about either Trump or Obama. Trump is an open (...) and Obama was a hypocritical (...). There, are you happier now?

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: reputation continues spiraling downward

      "I find nothing strange about that, the more you dig, the more you dig up, and this applies to, methinks, everybody."

      It just applies to, methinks, charlatans.

  9. IGotOut

    My relentless workload...

    ...of attention whoring lead me to be found out, I mean, let my standards slip.

    I promise to get better, so don't forget to Like this post and subscribe.

    1. commonsense

      Re: My relentless workload...

      Whilst we're at it, let's stick "mental health" in there, because it's not OK to not understand mental health issues, and I really have had mental health issues from making loads of cash from other peoples' work.

      1. The Indomitable Gall

        Re: My relentless workload...

        On the other hand, it is now getting more and more widely recognised that the YouTube algorithm is a slave-driver, and if you don't work yourself beyond the point of being able to produce decent content, you will be punished by being made irrelevant in the listings.

        Whole multi-person production teams spend months to create a couple of hours of television, and YouTube is pushing solo producers to knock out around an hour of video per week to get a basic income. Of course corners get cut.

        I'm not defending Raval here, though -- he chose how to react to the pressure. If he'd exited YouTube with his reputation at a high point, he could probably have got himself a fairly decent job. Instead he tried to continue in an unsustainable market.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          "knock out around an hour of video per week to get a basic income"

          It's only up to you to decide your basic income should come from YouTube. As long as people believe it's easier and more lucrative than a real job...

        2. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: My relentless workload...

          "he could probably have got himself a fairly decent job"

          Assuming he's smart enough for a real job.

          It's one thing to bullshit a bunch of people on YouTube, especially when you're charismatic.

          It's quite a different thing to try bullshitting the person paying your salary.

        3. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: My relentless workload...

          "YouTube is pushing solo producers to knock out around an hour of video per week to get a basic income."

          Or, you know, you could work for a living rather than try to make money with Youtube videos.

    2. defiler Silver badge

      Re: My relentless workload...

      Hmm. Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  10. Mike 137 Bronze badge

    The future of education maybe?

    This guy seems to me to be yet another smoke and mirrors social media star, for whom I can find only eulogistic and seemingly self-authored bio on the web. He apparently has a degree in computer science and is also a "traveler, musician, postmodernist, and scuba diver" (courtesy of O'Reilly). Which is all very nice, but irrelevant to his evident limited knowledge in the field of quantum computing.

    His 2016 O'Reilly book on blockchain has also been royally slated in Amazon reviews, but it's clear that "online influencers" can rise above such things - at least for a while. This current debacle rather reminds me of the time Stephen Fry tried to explain how the internet worked (with reference to atomic clocks). The big difference though is the Stephen Fry wasn't charging $199 per head for the privilege.

    I'm probably old-fashioned, but I consider the fundamental prerequisite for being a teacher is to actually know the subject. The second is to acknowledge one's sources and not pretend to expertise one doesn't have (particularly for profit or prestige).

    1. STOP_FORTH
      Joke

      Ratbert disagrees.

      https://dilbert.com/strip/1996-12-04

    2. LDS Silver badge

      "His 2016 O'Reilly book on blockchain"

      Which shows he's a knack to surf the hype wave, nonetheless...

  11. NanoMeter

    Does this guy know anything

    for real, or is he just faking it?

    These days you can just find a scientific paper online, make an extraction of the main points and make a youtube lesson out of it.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Pot Black Kettle Calling

      Does this guy know anything for real, or is he just faking it?

      These days you can just find a scientific paper online, make an extraction of the main points and make a youtube lesson out of it. ..... NanoMeter

      Just to cite two well enough known examples to El Regers, is the modus operandi/vivendi any different from that supported and eulogised by media when introduced by a Boris or a Maybot?

      Two puppets also into having their strings pulled highlighting the actions followed by others ...... and masses of morons delight in it. It is a funny old, mad, mad, mad and getting madder world, aint it.

  12. SVV Silver badge

    Advanced quantum AI education

    Well, if this is really a field of scientific research, rather than some rather desperate attempt to tie 2 overhyped technology trends together, then I would suspect that anyone stupid enough to think that they could get in on the act by throwing 200 bucks at an "Internet celeb and YouiTube Thinkfluencer" for a hastily cobbled together bit of plagiarism would not have much of a successful future in those technologies anyway.

  13. Roger Kynaston

    turnitin

    Universities routinely check student work for plagiarism. Shirly this could be applied quickly and easily to other areas.

    1. chuBb.

      Re: turnitin

      its quite expensive a service, and its false positive rate was pretty high, at least when i was in charge of integrating into the course work submission for a pretty big uk university best part of 10 years ago. It was more useful as a tool for spotting shared and recycled course work from previous years courses than finding badly/non attributed sources

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: turnitin

        "and its false positive rate was pretty high"

        When Turnitin was first introduced to the maths department, of course someone would decide to break it. It turns out that by replacing whitespaces by non-breaking spaces, you can take a page of text from another source any obtain any percentage plagiarised you want.

        Of course, our students are not clever enough to actually do that.

  14. ratfox Silver badge
    Meh

    700,000 YouTube subscribers and 70,000 Twitter followers — Is that a lot?

    The sad thing is that we absolutely need educators who are able to present advanced research to the masses in an intelligible way. It's completely fine repeating the work of others as long as you don't claim you did the work yourself. You can even become famous in your own right by doing science vulgarization (Isaac Asimov comes to mind). Just pay respect when it's due, and give proper attribution.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 700,000 YouTube subscribers and 70,000 Twitter followers — Is that a lot?

      clearly, in 2019, it does carry esteem, given it's quoted instead of this guy's numerous academic titles and achievements. Knowledge is so 20th century, you know! :)

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: 700,000 YouTube subscribers and 70,000 Twitter followers — Is that a lot?

        "numerous academic titles and achievements."

        What exactly are those? I could find that he did a CS degree, and that was it.

  15. Steve 39

    Suggest a new topic for him

    What about a new topic for his videos, "Fun with Flags"?

  16. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "He promised students who graduated from his course that they would be referred to recruiters at Nvidia, Intel, Google and Amazon for engineering positions"

    So what? All this means is that he'll send in CVs just like any other pimp agent.. Where the recruiters file the CVs is up to them.

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