Nothing, Forever Nothing, Forever

UPDATE: Nothing, Forever has been banned by Twitch for 14 days after the show’s main character, Larry Feinberg, made transphobic comments during one of the show’s standup comedy scenes.

Few sitcoms have held up as well over time as Seinfeld, and the show is now being memorialized in a never-ending AI-generated animated adaptation streaming on Twitch.

The stream: Titled Nothing, Forever, the stream went live on December 14 of last year and has been streaming on the Twitch channel Watchmeforever since. It was launched by the group Mismatched Media, which pointedly avoids using any actual names or references from Seinfeld when describing the project on its channel:

Nothing, Forever is a show about nothing, that happens forever. Kinda like popular sitcoms of the past, except that it never stops. Nothing, Forever is always-on, runs 365 days of the year, and delivers new content every minute. Everything you see, hear, or experience (with the exception of the artwork and laugh track) is always brand-new content, generated via machine learning and AI algorithms.

What’s being done by AI and what’s done by humans? According to a Reddit post made by Mismatch’s Skyler Hartle when the channel launched, only the artwork and laugh track were man-made. Dialogue, speech, direction (camera cuts, character focus, shot length, scene length, etc), character movement, and music are all generated algorithmically.

How does the show work? “Episodes,” if they can be called that, start like those from the real show, with Jerry at the mic in a comedy club telling jokes, or at least an AI’s approximation of jokes. After the set, scenes play out featuring crude, blockish versions of Seinfeld’s four main characters engaging in sometimes humorous and sometimes incomprehensible conversations in robotic, stilted voices.

There are also occasional breaks where a very 1990s-looking Watch Forever channel, clearly modeled off the TV Guide channel of the era, scrolls a daily schedule of real and invented film and series titles.

Is it popular? At the time of writing, Nothing, Forever has 97,900 followers and an incredibly active chat log. It also offers a subscription option for $4.99/month, but subscriber numbers aren’t shared publicly by Twitch so we don’t know how many people are paying for the content.

What technology is used to keep the stream going? When the show was launched, Hartle’s Reddit post described the collection of programs used to generate Nothing, Forever:

Nothing, Forever is built using a combination of machine learning, generative algorithms (we use ‘generative’ here in a non-academic sense), and cloud services. Our stack is mostly comprised of Python + TensorFlow for our ML models, TypeScript + Azure Functions and Heroku for our backend, and C# + Unity for the client, with some neural voice APIs thrown into the mix.

Hartle also mentioned that there are plans to implement OpenAI’s Davinci models to spice up dialogue and Stable Diffusion for art generation.

Is Nothing, Forever any good? Viral now, the novelty of Nothing, Forever wears off fairly quickly when jokes are repeated and the visual humor of a low-polygon Seinfeld universe fades. It seems unlikely that this show is putting any human-made animated programs at risk of being replaced anytime soon.

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