Decades after its finale, Seinfeld is still a source of inspiration and parody. But I’m not sure if my mind can handle Nothing, Forever, a never-ending Seinfeld episode generated by AI. Assuming that I’m awake and that this isn’t a nightmare, Nothing, Forever might be the strangest use of an AI to date.
This AI version of Seinfeld is the work of Skyler Hartle and Brian Habersberger. The characters, settings, and laugh track are human-made and mimic the design of a 90s point-and-click video game. As explained in a Reddit thread, all other elements of the show (including the script, direction, dialogue, scene length, theme music, and so on) are generated and controlled by AI.
Naturally, Nothing, Forever focuses on the four main characters of Seinfeld—Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine. These characters use made-up names, such as “Larry” and “Yvonne,” presumably for copyright purposes. (Yeah, “Larry” is probably a reference to Larry David.)
“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.”
The AI characters can interact with some of the items in “Larry’s” apartment. They regularly sit down (sometimes on top of each other) and fiddle with an extremely loud microwave. On occasion, a character will acknowledge that they’re on the “Larry” show, but they mostly just talk about food (including “gloop burgers”), strange animals (such as two-headed dogs), and the endless stream of new businesses opening near Larry’s apartment.
Of course, “Larry” performs a quick set at the comedy club every few scenes. And these stand-up segments might be the highlight of Nothing, Forever. The AI version of Jerry says some pretty wacky stuff on stage, and the audience likes to leave him hanging. (It’s a bit ironic, as the stand-up segments on Seinfeld are usually the most boring parts of an episode.)
Now, I’ve spent the last few hours with this “show” on my TV. It’s not a great show, but it has its moments. Really, it’s like watching a goldfish swim around a tiny tank—you know what’s going to happen next, but you still find yourself surprised or captivated. The fact that Nothing, Forever is on Twitch certainly helps things a bit. When one of the characters says something weird or screws around with the extremely loud microwave, the entire chat goes bonkers.
Note that Nothing, Forever costs money to maintain. The creators have opened a Patreon to collect donations for this AI show. The cheapest tier costs $5 a month, while the highest tier, which guarantees you a spot on the show, comes in at $999.
Source: Nothing, Forever via @dendycrew