AI Seinfeld Show ‘Nothing, Forever’ Gets Un-Cancelled
Nothing, Forever, the AI-generated and Seinfeld-inspired Twitch stream that first launched in December 2022, is coming back online. The company behind the surreal vortex of animated 90’s New York nostalgia, Mismatch Media, announced the show’s return Tuesday night on Twitter. The meant-to-be-infinite stream is scheduled to restart on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. Pacific).
Previously, Twitch took Nothing, Forever temporarily offline after its main character, “Larry Feinberg,” started to spew transphobic and homophobic, AI-generated content. Installments of the show are structured vaguely similarly to actual Seinfeld episodes, though much shorter. Each “episode” of Nothing, Forever includes a stand-up interlude where the cartoon Feinberg is speaking at a microphone on a stage.
During one such moment, the animated-faux comedian went on a full-on, anti-LGBTQ rant (not unlike some other, real-world comedians have in recent years). “I’m 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. But no one is laughing, so I’m going to stop,” the animated stand-up comedian said during the interlude of one “episode.”
Twitch has a conduct policy that explicitly bars hateful or discriminatory material regarding sexuality and gender identity. For the violation, the platform shut Nothing, Forever down for a minimum of 14 days in early February.
In the aftermath, one of Mismatch Media’s founders and a developer behind the Seinfeld-esque stream, Skyler Hartle, took to Discord to try to explain what happened. According to Hartle’s initial post, the problems began to emerge when the OpenAI GPT-3 Davinci model powering the stream started to glitch out. In response, the developers switched to a back-up: Curie. It was under this contingency plan that the content allegedly turned sideways.
In a later update, Hartle and co-developer Brian Habersberger added that they “mistakenly” believed OpenAI’s content moderation system was in place, putting guardrails on Nothing, Forever and Larry Feinberg. Obviously though, it wasn’t. In the February post, the developers noted they would be implementing content moderation on the stream before it returned, as well as adding a back-up.
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Content moderation, algorithmic bias, and a tendency towards generating offensive and hateful material are some of the biggest issues facing generative AI technology. Barring extensive (and brutal) filtering, the training data fed to large language models and other artificial intelligences contain all of the standard human impulses and prejudices—whether we want them to or not.
Fingers crossed that in this revamped iteration, Larry Feinberg has learned its/his lesson and knows better. And, even if the stream doesn’t quite hit its intended mark of outlasting eternity, maybe this time, Nothing, Forever will stay online more than a couple of months.