Two letters are dominating technology news right now: AI. By now, most of us know it stands for artificial intelligence. AI takes the form of computer-generated decision-making, from YouTube’s algorithms to self-driving cars’ collision avoidance. People use AI in a myriad of processes, including video production. But it doesn’t stop there. AI is now making its way into livestreaming. AI’s been demonstrating that producing a livestreamed program entirely without human interaction is now possible.
For example, VTuber Neuro-sama, who has more than 200,000 followers on Twitch and a million views on YouTube, is entirely AI-generated. Neuro-sama does everything a human Twitch streamer does: She responds to chat in real time, plays games like Osu and Minecraft and even sings. On Nuro-sama’s Twitch about page, her developer says she was originally made to play Osu. Not surprisingly, she has beaten some of the top players. While there are hundreds of VTubers and virtual YouTubers out there, she is one of the few that is powered entirely by AI.
You may have also seen that there is an entirely AI-powered comedy show called Nothing Forever. The show was recently in the news for being temporarily banned from Twitch due to a joke that violated its Community Guidelines. However, the show’s back on Twitch now. The show’s format resembles the American television sitcom “Seinfeld.” Each episode begins with the star, Larry Feinberg, doing his stand-up comedy routine in a club. The show then cuts to Larry’s apartment, where he interacts with his three friends. However, instead of having a script, AI generates all of the dialogue and character movements in real time. This cycle goes on forever, as the name implies. At one point, viewers were watching for hours on end. Without question, the programmers and developers behind AI-powered content demonstrate tremendous creativity, but it raises several questions. Should we consider AI-generated productions a work of creativity? As the technology gets more sophisticated, the jokes may get better and the animated images more realistic, but does it replicate human imagination and nuance? In the case of “Nothing Forever,” its algorithm made a joke that it deemed funny but ended up being harmful. AI content generation currently lacks the nuance that human creators possess, but could that change? Where does the human element get pushed aside by technology? Is AI production going to cost the industry jobs?
In all honesty, we may never answer the ethical questions surrounding AI. From a production standpoint, it’s not a question of whether we will use AI to create livestream content or not. It already is. And as the technology progresses, it will become harder for human streamers not to adopt the technology in some capacity. Given the rapid pace at which AI can generate live content, streamers will have no alternative. For now, we just have to keep an eye on how the technology and see how it develops.