AI-Powered Chrome Extension Automatically Turns on YouTube Subtitles While You Eat Noisy Snacks

A year into the pandemic most of us have honed our daily routines into a regular pattern of YouTube bingeing and snacking. But munching on crunchy snacks often makes it impossible to hear a video. The solution isn’t to turn off our computers and attempt to re-enter society, but to install a new Chrome extension that automatically turns on YouTube’s subtitles when the sound of crunching is detected.

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The extension was designed by a Vietnam-based design studio called Bliss Interactive and Happiness Saigon, an ad agency representing Lay’s that has undoubtedly seen sales of its products increase while billions of people spend as much time at home as possible in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19. As much as not being able to hear a video while eating potato chips is a first-world problem, it’s something we’ve all experienced, and reaching for a laptop’s volume buttons with greasy fingers just creates more problems.

According to the designers, the extension was created by recording 178 hours of people from all over the world munching on potato chips, and that data was then used to train an AI model using machine learning techniques. When installed and given access to a Chrome tab playing a YouTube video, the extension automatically turns on the optional Subtitles/closed captioning (cc) if available.

As a service to our readers, we tested the new Chrome extension this morning, and while we didn’t have access to Lay’s potato chips specifically, we did open and partake in a fresh can of Pringles for breakfast, as well as other snacks. Does the extension work? Yes, although you’ll need to ensure your laptop’s microphone can easily hear your snacking. It probably won’t pick up and recognize the crunching sounds if you’re eating chips as demurely as the Queen of England presumably does, but you don’t need to go full Cookie Monster either.

Can it be fooled? Most definitely. Emptying a jar of overnight oats didn’t trigger the extension, but other crunchy snacks did, including Corn Nuts, crackers, and tortilla chips. Was it an ideal breakfast? No. Was it the worst breakfast we’ve had since the pandemic started? Also, no. Is the Lay’s extension going to change your life? As someone who’s a little obsessive about keeping their laptop clean, I can see the potential benefits of the tool for keeping greasy fingers off a keyboard, but at the same time letting YouTube listen to all the sounds coming out of your mouth while you’re watching a video doesn’t seem worth it. Just turn subtitles on before you open a bag of chips and prioritize your privacy.

DISCUSSION

To be pedantic, it’s not YouTube that’s listening to everything. It’s the extension.

Regardless, I just leave captions on.