A Seinfeld AI-generated show has been canceled for transphobic and homophobic remarks.
A streaming Twitch show called “Nothing, Forever,” which is the popular sitcom Seinfeld as generated by an AI, was canceled by the live stream service shortly after the AI made some jokes that were deemed homophobic and transphobic. Vice reports that the live stream has been suspended for 14 days for the remarks, which were made during a stand-up segment that preceded the show, following the template of its source material. The AI was trained using the Seinfeld show’s episodes and the live stream had tens of thousands of viewers.
Twitch has not confirmed if the Seinfeld AI live stream was canceled because of this scene, but the shutdown of the show took place shortly after the comments were made. In the bit, Larry Feinberg, the “Jerry” character of the show, observes that the audience is small before suggesting some of the bits he would have done if there had been more viewers. These included jokes about transgender being a mental illness ruining the fabric of society and about liberals being secretly gay and imposing their agenda on the public.
If these comments sound extreme, it’s because they are, and the creators of the Seinfeld AI live stream acknowledged that in a statement, adding of the canceled stream, “none of what was said reflects the devs’ (or anyone else on the staff team’s) opinions.”
The developers went on to explain that the program used to run the Seinfeld AI experienced an outage, causing them to switch to a backup engine, which resulted in the show being canceled. The backup used Curie, a predecessor to Open AI’s GPT-3 DaVinci model, and the comments were generated by this older system, according to a statement by a staff member on the show’s Discord server. The staff said the DaVinci model displayed “erratic behaviors” such as showing empty rooms while the action was taking place elsewhere, causing them to switch to the older model.
While what happened with the Seinfeld live stream was grievous, it is not the first time an AI program has been canceled because of such behavior. These models are intelligent, but not emotional, and often wind up regurgitating horrific remarks and ideas that they learn when consuming our culture. This is not so much the fault of the developers as it is the material the AI programs are fed, which is more of a reflection of the society that produces such material and its attitudes.
The experience with the Seinfeld AI show being canceled won’t be the end of trying to improve upon artificial intelligence. In fact, AI is doing some things right now that are eerily close to Skynet-levels of intelligence, like earning law degrees and mastering complicated games. Chat GPT has been banned in classrooms because it is so good at generating academic essays on a variety of topics.
However, this incident shows we have a long way to go and that even as innocuous as a Seinfeld AI is susceptible to getting itself canceled by picking up some seriously bigoted ideas from its machine learning. The developers said the live stream will return when it has served its suspension, and hopefully, by then they have some insight on how to prevent more incidents like this one.