Despite wrapping up in 1998, Seinfeld remains one of the most popular and iconic TV comedies of all time. Fans of the show can easily find reruns or access it via streaming services. But if you really want more of the "show about nothing" – with a bizarre artificial intelligence twist – you might want to check out a stream called "Nothing, Forever" on the livestreaming platform Twitch.
Confused? Well, it's all a bit surreal, which is the point. Made by Mismatch Media, the "show" takes place in an extremely pixelated version of Jerry's apartment (though he's renamed Larry), with AI versions of George, Elaine, and Kramer (now Fred, Yvonne, and Kakler) completing the supporting cast. The dialogue comes from OpenAI’s GPT-3 text generator, based on the show's premise and scripts. Open the stream at any time of the day (or night) and you're likely to hear the characters making plans to go to a bubble tea restaurant or earnestly discussing their new hobbies. There's a laugh track in the background, though it's not exactly matched with hilarious moments (arguably, there aren't any). Though the characters sometimes tell jokes, it's a far cry from the real Seinfeld dialogue.
While the viewing experience certainly won't provide the same comedic quality as the classic '90s sitcom (or put any comedy writers out of a job), it's still an impressive and thought-provoking example of what artificial intelligence can do – and what it can't. Plus, it's pretty fascinating to watch how the characters drift around the apartment on an endless loop, plunging headfirst into furniture and rematerializing, never looking at one other and talking about what amounts to nothing.
If robots wrote Seinfeld:
- Nothing, Forever can be viewed at any time on Twitch – every moment provides fresh dialogue, as the GPT-3 text generator is always running. It premiered in December 2022 and now has over 182,000 followers. There are usually around 10,000 people watching (with many of them commenting) at a given time.
- Some viewers have recently noted that the show's AI could be becoming more "self-aware," with characters making comments such as, "Did you ever stop and think this might be one big cosmic joke?” – though this is largely down to the perceptions of viewers.
- Perhaps Matthew Cantor of The Guardian summed it up best: "It feels disturbingly like the kind of content our corporate overlords might be feeding us in 20 years to melt our brains and ensure quiet compliance."