In a twist of technology that only 30 Rock could have predicted, an AI-generated version of Seinfeld now takes control of Twitch. The stream, hosted by a channel called watchmeforever, uses generative artificial intelligence to create an endless stream of Seinfeld-esque online content. The innovative idea took root on the platform and, at the time of publication, the stream had around 15,400 concurrent viewers.
The content comes at a time when generative AI seems to be popping up everywhere. Here’s what you need to know about AI Seinfeld on Twitch.
What is AI Seinfeld?
AI Seinfeld is a Twitch stream called “Nothing, Forever” that plays AI-generated content based on the 90s comedy sitcom by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, Seinfeld. The show has officially aired since December 14, but the group behind it, Mismatch Media, just started sharing last week. It sports a thick 3D pixel style that looks like a video game and computerized voices that deliver an endless stream of Seinfeld-esque antics.
Mismatch Media member Skyler Hartle told Polygon that the stream uses various AI software to bring the show to life. Text generation comes from OpenAI’s GPT-3 models and speech comes from Azure Cognitive Services.
“In addition to the third-party services we’ve used, we have a lot of proprietary generative algorithms that make the show ‘formed’, so to speak. We collectively call this logic the ‘director’, because it’s largely responsible for making sure all of the individual pieces come together as a whole,” Hartle said over email. but we have ideas on how to do it in the future.”
Hartle told Polygon that the look mimics the era of 90s point-and-click games that came out around the same time as Seinfeld. “We thought it worked well with the overall vibe of the show and also lent itself to the weirdness/weirdness, but the big goal was to make it thematically relevant,” Hartle said over email.
This AI-generated version of Seinfeld doesn’t really compare to the original, but you can definitely see the original show’s influence in snippets of this version. In part of the stream I watched, the characters started talking about creating a place where they could make their own pizza crust, which seems to tie in a bit in Seinfeld where Kramer comes up with the idea of opening a pizzeria where customers make their own pizzas.
A popular clip actually has decent dialogue. It’s titled “Elaine is dating a guy who hates fruit”. In it, Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, and George walk around Jerry’s apartment and talk about Elaine’s boyfriend who hates fruit and might be a “fruit-a-phobe”. However, the generation of AI is not able to mimic the color and delivery of actors, and it can be very difficult to tell who is saying what at times. You can see in the clip below.
Who’s doing the AI Seinfeld show?
The group that created it is called Mismatch Media, and the people behind describe themselves as “scientists, entrepreneurs, engineers, tech professionals, and more,” on their website. The team called the Twitch show “Nothing, Forever” and the channel “watchmeforever”.
Hartle and co-creator Brian Habersberger approached the idea four years ago with the idea of making a generative show centered around the idea of ”nothing.”
“We wanted to see if it was possible to build a new form of media – a generative show – with a lot of tools and methods that were starting to take off, like machine learning. We wanted to create a show that was sort of surreal, strange, à la David Lynch (Rabbits was a major inspiration) that could go on forever as more of an artistic experiment than anything else,” Hartle told Polygon.
On the Twitch page, a description of the stream reads: “nothing forever is a show about nothing, which happens forever. Kind of like the popular sitcoms of the past, except it never ends. The channel’s description promises to operate 365 days a year and provide new content “every minute”.
The plan, going forward, is to create multiple shows under the channel and provide different types of content. Hartle also said the team aims to incorporate other interactive elements into the show so viewers can influence things.
Why do people watch the AI Seinfeld show?
Seinfeld is one of the most beloved and recognizable sitcoms of decades, but the appeal goes beyond that. Watching the AI-generated broadcast on Twitch allows people to participate in a unique online community experience that can resemble live television, like people watch the characters act and react to different scenarios around the world. In addition, we can watch and participate in the Twitch chat, which makes it more fun. (Like, yes, please spam the chat with the KomodoHype whenever a character complains about a girlfriend or boyfriend.)
The stream also shows what generative AI is capable of. It is part of a long line of recently popular AI apps. ChatGPT, which can be used for a variety of applications like essay writing, has become an overnight sensation due to its natural language output. Other software like DALL-E, Midjourney and Free AI Art Generator are used to create memes and recreate the look of some directors’ films. AI Seinfeld is just the damned next step in the evolution of consumer AI.