After charming the internet (and us) with its absurdist nature, the AI-generated “Seinfeld” spoof “Nothing, Forever” was suspended from Twitch for 14 days.
As part of the parody of “Seinfeld”, one of the recurring scenes on “Nothing, Forever” shows Larry Feinberg – Jerry Seinfeld’s character – performing stand-up routines. Usually Larry’s jokes went something like, “What’s a bear without teeth?” A gummy bear.” But, as the creators of “Nothing, Forever,” Mismatch Media, told todaybusinessupdates.com, the team made a mistake with the AI’s content filter, which led to Larry delivering a transphobic standup routine.
“Nothing, Forever,” which has been streaming almost constantly since December, initially generated the characters’ dialogue via GPT-3’s Davinci model, plus OpenAI’s content filtering protocol. But when Davinci started having technical problems, the team switched to the less advanced Curie model. After modifying models, the makers did not properly build in the AI moderation tool. Soon Larry was spewing transphobic jokes and “Nothing, Forever” was suspended.
“First let me say that the text we generated was a mistake, we are super embarrassed and that the generative content created in no way reflects the values or opinions of our staff,” co-creator Skyler Hartle wrote in an e-mail. email todaybusinessupdates.com. “We deeply regret this has happened and hope to be back on the air soon, with all appropriate precautions in place.”
Hartle also said the team is looking into a secondary content moderation system to add as redundancy, in case their content moderation filters falter while live on the air.
Twitch did not respond to requests for comment. Hartle said he hasn’t had direct communication with Twitch either. But the makers believe the suspension is a result of Larry’s transphobic remarks, due to the timing of the suspension.
Twitch’s Guidance for the community prohibit hateful rhetoric about specific identity groups, including discrimination or harassment based on gender identity. The platform’s content moderation systems seem to have caught on to the transphobic rhetoric of Larry, an AI, quite quickly. But while Twitch’s systems were quick to respond to deplatforming an AI, it hasn’t been as consistently successful in reducing the deliberate harassment of transgender people.
About a year and a half ago, the platform was plagued by malicious “hate attacks,” which mainly targeted black and transgender creators. Following creator-led class action, Twitch has rolled out new security features to help protect streamers from these violent cyber-attacks. Last year as transgender Twitch streamer Keffals gained notoriety for speaking out on LGBTQ+ issues, she was harassed so much that she was targeted in her own home, leading her to enter hide. (Much of this harassment stemmed from other websites, but as of 2021, Twitch Community Guidelines may hold Twitch users liable for off-platform harassment.)
The creators of “Nothing, Forever” say they had no intention of spreading transphobic commentary and do not subscribe to those views. Still, this predicament shows how quickly generative AI entertainment can go south if left unchecked. After all, GPT-3 is trained on the Internet itself, so it can echo some of the most horrific rhetoric on the entire Internet.
There’s something darkly ironic about this incident: a content-filtering snafu drove the Twitch suspension of what is essentially a robot. Meanwhile, Dave Chappelle just won a Grammy for his comedy album “The Closer,” which has been heavily criticized for being transphobic. But even within the AI-generated universe of “Nothing, Forever,” the AI-generated audience didn’t find Larry’s jokes very funny.
“There are about 50 people here and no one is smiling. Any suggestions?” the AI started his comedy set, before starting his brief transphobic diatribe. Then Larry closed his set, “Nobody’s laughing, so I’m going to quit.” Thanks for coming tonight. Until next time. Where has everyone gone?’