Last week, we wrote about Nothing, Forever, an AI-generated Seinfeld parody whose creators seek to make “a show that can generate entertaining content forever.” After only a few months spent working toward that mission, however, the infinite episode came to an abrupt end with a Twitch suspension likely caused by computer Jerry delivering some transphobic and homophobic material during one of his computer-written stand-up sets.
Vice’s Jason Koebler explains that the 14-day ban came after Nothing, Forever’s Jerry stand-in, Larry Feinberg, worked out some rough material during the show’s stream last night. During his set, Larry/Jerry said he was “thinking about doing a bit about how being transgender is actually a mental illness. Or how all liberals are secretly gay and want to impose their will on everyone. Or something about how transgender people are ruining the fabric of society.”
Into the cold silence of his computer comedy club, AI Jerry continued: “But no one is laughing, so I’m going to stop. Thanks for coming out tonight. See you next time. Where’d everybody go?”
While a charitable reading could see the material as a commentary on lazy, real-world transphobic and homophobic stand-up sets, the AI stating that it was thinking the bit might be good even as the audience files out, the joke was ultimately delivered by a robot whose intentions can’t be known because it’s a stupid ol’ robot.
One of Nothing, Forever’s creators told the show’s Discord that his team has “appealed the ban,” which occurred shortly after the stand-up set was broadcast, and said they will use the time off to “ensure to the best of our abilities that nothing like that happens again.”
They also stated that Larry/Jerry’s material might have been caused by a temporary switch from using OpenAI’s GPT-3 Davinci model to its Curie model, which lacks the same level of content moderation. Elsewhere in the Discord, another member of the Nothing, Forever team wrote that they “none of what was said [in the stream] reflects the devs’ (or anyone else on the staff team’s) opinions.”
While the rapid rise and fall of Nothing, Forever is probably best taken as an indictment of current AI technology’s much-vaunted ability to replace human artists, there’s also another, more cynical way to understand it. Perhaps, in the end, the lightning-quick computer brain responsible for the show just wanted to speedrun the all-too-familiar process of a once admired comedian estranging a large portion of their audience by publicly working out some reprehensible stand-up material.
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