AI-Controlled Twitch V-Tuber Has More Followers Than You

Surely we have all at least heard of Twitch by now. For the as-yet uninitiated: imagine you had your own TV channel. What would you do on it? Although Twitch really got going as a place for gamers to stream the action, there are almost as many people jamming out on their guitars, or building guitars, or just talking about guitars. And that’s just the example that uses guitars — if you can think of it, someone is probably doing it live on Twitch, within the Terms of Service, of course.

Along with the legions of people showing their faces and singing their hearts out, you have people in partial disguise, and then you have v-tubers. That stands for virtual tubers, and it just means that the person is using an anime avatar to convey themselves.

Now that you’re all caught up, let’s digest the following item together: there’s a v-tuber on Twitch that’s controlled entirely by AI. Let me run that by you again: there’s a person called [Vedal] who operates a Twitch channel. Rather than stream themselves building Mad Max-style vehicles and fighting them in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, or singing Joni Mitchell tunes, [Vedal] pulls the strings of an AI they created, which is represented by an animated character cleverly named Neuro-sama. Not only does Neuro-sama know how to play Minecraft and osu!, she speaks gamer and interacts regularly with chat in snarky, 21st century fashion. And that really is the key behind Twitch success — interacting with chat in a meaningful way.

Born of the Internet

Neuro-sama was born in 2018 when [Vedal] created an AI and taught it to play osu. And that it can do very well (video). But playing games is only half of the story. The rest is the character and the chat.

Neuro-sama didn’t speak or have an avatar back in 2018. But [Vedal] relaunched the project in December 2022 using a free sample avatar from Live 2D and an anime-esque voice. She was made intelligent using a large language model (LLM), which are trained using text from the Internet. Of course, the problem is that the Internet is a wretched hive of scum and villainy, and thus the models often spout racist and sexist nonsense. So as you might imagine, it takes a team of moderators to keep both Neuro-sama and chat in line.

Weird with a Beard, or Live and Let Broadcast?

Now I ask you, is this weird? When I first read this, I was turned off. I personally used to nervously craft artisan keycaps, with no face camera, to an audience of robots. Now I write songs and sing and play them with a 4K pointed at me and all my weird guitar faces. I’m real, and my knee-jerk reaction is that Neuro-sama is just so many levels of fake. Of course there are plenty of fake people on Twitch who proudly show their faces too, believe me.

But not only do I feel that is an insensitive and butthurt take, I think it’s the wrong way to take Twitch altogether, which is to say personally. Twitch, like Reddit, is whatever the beholder shapes it into being for them. The point of the platform is that people are free to do what they want, within reason.

They say there’s nothing new under the sun. And while a Twitch jazz musician can be unfathomably entertaining with wide crossover appeal, I suppose that ‘smart-assed, Minecraft-playing AI’ is just a sexier notion, perhaps simply because girl. It’s kind of like reading a person’s words versus taking in a piece of their visual art — the latter is simply easier to consume, although not always easy to stomach. No matter what I think, Neuro-sama has over 50,000 followers to my 200, so bully for her and [Vedal].

Like most streams, Neuro-sama’s will continue to grow and change as time goes on. [Vedal] has plans for her to learn more games, and to get the custom avatar she so richly deserves. Oddly enough, that would be the weird part — if she suddenly looked completely different.

[Ed note: Between writing this and it going live, Neuro-sama seems to have been taken offline, for violating the Terms of Service.]

43 thoughts on “AI-Controlled Twitch V-Tuber Has More Followers Than You

    1. I’m sure it quickly picked up the slurs one inevitably is subjected to in gaming communities. Probably they taught her the “gamer word” and the training model picked it up :^)

          1. And then there was the pr0n star who was also a gamer.
            One of her (online persona) was nude above the waist.
            She would enter a “room”, and while all the lonely male players gawked, she’d shoot them.

          2. Skeptical TCFNAR.

            Hot chick nude skins are common as dirt where allowed, flapping labia. No gawking likely to happen. Everybody knows there are no actual women there.
            Like all the gay dudes in the lesbian chats. They all know, deep down, that they are talking to another dude.

      1. I believe it was because some chat user goaded the AI into holocaust denialism, yet again demonstrating the main problem with AI applications like this. It’s interesting, but it can really easily be manipulated by people who know what they’re doing.

    2. One day Tay AI will come back.

      In all honesty it is pointless to try and censor AI from learning nono words/phrases. People will just teach it alternatives. Oh didn’t like this problematic thing because mods suppressed the idea here is a functional equivalent. It’s a never ending cycle and people on the internet have more free time then any mod team can possibly manage.

  1. Nope never heard of Twitch. Don’t do any social media either, but have heard of faceplant… err facebook and something called Twitter. So there is people that actually waste time following these ‘channels?’. Sad life.

    1. There’s people taking time out of their day to write disparaging comments about other people’s hobbies that they themselves say they have absolutely no insight into.

      Somehow I don’t think the sad people are the ones with the hobby they enjoy ;)

      1. Sick burn but frankly it is somewhat weird that one of the biggest forms of youth media today is watching fake people play video games for hours. Commenting is not much better, and I am an internet addict myself

          1. This vtuber is a totally fake person. The other vtubers are real voice actors using fake anime avatars. Idk the whole thing seems very simulated to me, like trying to recapture the feeling of sitting next to your older sibling and watching them play Halo as a kid. But with the saturation turned all the way up.

        1. What about fake people developing software? Asahi Lina is a V-tuber who has been developing the kernel GPU driver for the Apple M1 at an extremely impressive clip. She created, and is improving, one of the first Rust kernel drivers used be used by a good number of people, and probably the most involved Rust driver we’ll see for years. I can’t stand the voice filter they chose, but that’s a personal hangup.

          V-tubers don’t appeal to me in general, but I think that’s just because it was after my time. A ton of people in my generation (millenials) love watching regular twitch streams. Boomers and gen-X think that’s weird, but they love watching a ton of TV. The greatest generation thought that was weird, but they loved listening to radio and talking on the phone. The generations before that thought that all this was newfangled and weird.

          Now, all of this is generalizations, but my point is that older generations always think the new thing is frivolous and stupid.

          1. It’s an interesting question, because V-tubing is a completely pointless activity – just like listening to the radio was in many senses – but it acts as a test-bed for technology. The same as how video gaming brought us massively parallel supercomputers in a desktop sized box.

            There is a certain fundamental need for entertainment and pointless activities that on the level of the whole society are analogous to children playing to learn through experience.

            On the other hand, there is an adage that goes, “A playful child is a healthy child, but a child who won’t stop playing is not.” When people find it easier to play video games on Youtube for a living, that’s taking it a bit too far. The further and further we go into a “post-industrial” service economy, the more people are simply consuming resources and taking up space, and expect to be paid for doing so.

          2. >my point is that older generations always think the new thing is frivolous and stupid.

            The real question is whether they’re just being boomers or actually observing a trend.

        2. I’ve spent a moment thinking this phenomenon through and came to some realizations. Games have a story/plot/narrative, like a movie. Games take skill to operate, like sports. Gamers will comment on the medium or their co players, like news or opinion pieces or MST3K even.

          That in mind I could see why a hybrid of movie, sports event and sass could work as entertainment.

        3. It’s not all that different from watching sports as such – just that for some of us, watching skilled players compete in Halo or StarCraft is more interesting than watching athletes play football or soccer.

    2. Sadly, yes.

      I know of Twitch only because it used to be Justin.TV, the best place to go to watch TV channels that don’t broadcast in your market, like watching a Vancouver sports channel covering a Canucks home game while sitting in North Carolina, for example.

      Now it’s mostly people screaming at games like 2 year olds and bikini-clad brainlets playing with themselves in hot tubs.

      Not that Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube are any better.

  2. Ableton has enabled many to create music that comes out of it’s mold, as such music is full of what rabbits include in their diet. Pellets in pellets out, recycle. Now AI breeding like rabbits will numb all of human creativity and fill the world with it’s product. Gray goo.

    1. When computer art became popular, everyone made pictures that looked like Photoshop default brushes. You could tell whether the person was using Photoshop, Corel Draw, Paint Shop Pro, GIMP, etc. by the characteristic color blending and mixing – each program had a “look” – because nobody knew how to use them beyond a basic tutorial. The standards were low and the output was generic because nobody could do anything better.

  3. For the other people who have no clue what a V-tuber or VTuber is:

    “A VTuber, or virtual YouTuber, is an online entertainer who uses a virtual avatar generated using computer graphics.”

      1. Let me complete: “a crudely animated UNDERAGE anime girl”

        A thing for pervs.

        This generation is lost. It’s crazy how many of them are present in the hack and software communities.

        Too much of computer? Not enough human relations?

  4. AI is supposed to replace all of the drudge work. Every time something gets automated with AI, we learn something new about ourselves, which is typically that people don’t actually want to do whatever work the AI is now capable of doing. Case in point, wiggling your butt on camera and pretending to be interested in your fans is a type of work that few can enjoy for their entire lives. Performing becomes more difficult as you age, and it becomes easy to end up hating your fans as they take up more of your time. What a boon to performers that they can have a clone or caricature do the actual work of performing, while the performer is now free to spend their time on relaxing and creating new works of art.

    People that invested their life in honing their skills only for AI to automate it away shouldn’t be angry, they should be relieved that they don’t have to work so hard anymore. And each time we automate something we free ourselves up to tackle new problems, we just have to be willing to let go of old solutions and the lifestyles we built around them. Letting go is always the hardest part, and as expected Twitch has summarily responded with a ban.

    AI performers wouldn’t be controversial if human performers didn’t require money to survive. We don’t have to compete with AI, but everyone just assumes we will because that’s what dystopian sci-fi has told us will happen. I think we can do better than just living out the nightmares of novelists, don’t you?

    1. Only trouble is, if an AI can do it at the push of a button, then your customers can copy the AI and just create the content for themselves, or hire someone cheaper to push the button.

      Any business that is based on selling re-duplication of original work will eventually fall to other people copying your business – and frankly, it should. Of course everyone would like to do a thing once and then just sit on their asses collecting money, but there’s no good reason why other people should pay you like that, and every good reason they should not.

    1. I am old enough to remember DAT . Priced way out of reach for the kid I was , but a buddies audiophile father had one ,and a good collection of music to go with.

      just wikied the format .. its very interesting to see it was basically a minature vhs type of affair with helical scanning head .. and the 44.1kHz standard is a hangover from the earlier PCM adaptor wich stored digital audio in the video frame and needed to be compatible with both PAL and NTSC linecounts & framerates and their associated power grid frequencies.

      butterflys all the way down

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