Generative AI is out of control: Nothing, Forever is a Seinfeld spoof about nothing… forever

When plague winds howl across the surface of cadaver world Earth, humanity long dead by its own hand, imperial archaeologists picking through the remnants will excavate a bunker. Inside they will find a primitive computer. The computer broadcasts AI-generated spoof Seinfeld episodes for eternity.

This is the haunting promise of the Twitch channel watchmeforever officially launched last week by Mismatch Media, which claims to be about “experimental forms of television shows, video games, and more, through generative… and other machine learning technologies.”

Twitch is a good place for “experimental” TV because that’s exactly what it is. Viewers can interact with livestreamed video in real time, though the vast bulk of broadcasters use it to show off their skill (or lack thereof) at video games. There are, however, some “visionary” streamers out there and, while we hate to admit it, watchmeforever may be one of them.

The “show” is called Nothing, Forever and stars the ensemble cast of Larry Feinberg, Yvonne Torres, Fred Kastopolous, and Zoltan Kakler.

Sound familiar? While fans of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm may be among the first to admit that the Larry David sitcoms aren’t really about anything at all, at least they are hilarious by virtue of the characters’ mundane and inept interactions.

Nothing, Forever has no such saving grace. Why? “Much of our generative content is provided through OpenAI’s GPT-3,” says Mismatch Media. In fact, outlines for Seinfeld episodes have become a favorite subject among those tinkering with the more consumer-facing ChatGPT so it’s easy to see where the genesis of this bizarre project came from. Mismatch says of the show:

So what’s it like? Look at it this way – sci-fi of decades past imagined AI either elevating humanity or destroying it. Nothing, Forever proves that it is time to leave those conceptions at the door for another 30 years or so because it’s toe-curlingly bad.

But, and it’s a big but, we need to remember that it is produced by GPT-3 and isn’t trying to be good. Combined with graphics reminiscent of Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” video and Twitch’s permanently deranged chat, Nothing, Forever is rife with forehead-slapping moments of infuriating faux pas. Here’s a summary of a particularly memorable skit, the likes of which we will never see again:

There’s another where Yvonne tells Larry that they should “do something spontaneous” like “swimming at the beach.” Larry enthusiastically agrees, saying his swimsuit is already in the car. The funny thing is that you kind of get excited to see where the scene is headed, but there’s never any resolution – it just cuts to the outside of the apartment with an AI-mangled attempt at Seinfeld’s iconic slap bass jingles.

The next scene returns to the interior with the characters on a completely unrelated tangent, probably about a “new restaurant” with some sort of gimmicky menu – a recurring theme – and the characters debating whether they should go.

These are bookended with the classic “Larry in front of the red curtain” standup sections, which are equally insane. In one, Larry quips: “Why did the chicken cross the playground? To get to the other slide! HA HA HA.” He follows this up with: “What do you call a bear with no teeth?”

But we never get the punchline (we presumes it’s “a gummy bear”). It’s back to the apartment ready for another weird interaction, like Kakler saying his new method of tying shoelaces will leave Yvonne “in stitches” but he goes on to explain to her that she should always do them in a double knot. To add to the madness, Larry often inserts [PAUSE FOR AUDIENCE REACTION] into his standup routine as if he’s waiting for the stuttering laugh track to come in, and characters regularly clip through the furniture and each other. For example, we witnessed Fred abruptly choose to sit inside Yvonne to much mirth in chat.

The Register asked Mismatch Media if it could tell us more about the endeavor, like how the model was trained, and we’ll update the piece if we get a response. We guess they’re out at the minute because Nothing, Forever is pretty much the ultimate “set it and forget it” software project.

Anyway, we had to sit through it. Now you do too. But if you ever want to watch something a little more human on Twitch, you can always chuck your friendly neighborhood vulture a follow. ®



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