A chilling prospect: Should we be afraid of AI contestants on reality shows?

AAccording to his profile, Max, a contestant on the sixth season of the Netflix reality show The Circle, is 26 years old, dark-haired, and his Australian Shepherd, Pippa. He’s an intern vet from Pismo Beach, California, and a bit of a sassy bachelor, but my dog ​​is taken. Enter the Circle chat, the fake social media service contestants use to compete for $100,000, posting as themselves, an embellished version of themselves, or an entirely fake identity, with ease. I like this guy! It seems so real, says Lauren, a 20-year-old intern who hopes to build enough online alliances and secure enough positive reviews to win, seeing Max’s profile.

You just know the producers ate it up, because Max is fronting an AI chatbot, a new trick to up the ante on this middleweight reality show. The Circle doesn’t have anywhere near the following of Love Island, but it hasn’t sunk to the bottom of the streaming service’s slush pile and is the latest example of seemingly inexorable AI in our entertainment. As we continue to chart the course of AI use in film and television, from the recent AI-generated promotional posters for A24’s Civil War to, far more egregiously, the suspected use of photos AI-manipulated ancients in the Netflix documentary What Jennifer Did, El Cercle aims to take some low-level fun out of all that existential angst. Max, said the tirelessly cheerful host Michelle Buteau, is an open-source generative AI trained in previous seasons of the show. It’s basically a glorified ChatGPT, which already seems like old news on the warp speed trajectory of widespread AI use, but with fake profile pictures provided by comedian Griffin James.

Ironically, Max’s actual in-game presence isn’t initially that creepy as no one in The Circle speaks like a real human anyway, preferring to communicate in a shared in-game language of extreme over-enthusiasm and convoluted hashtags that no one would ever send. DM That an AI chatbot can effectively mimic this particular style of text is, at this point, not all that shocking; I can now ask ChatGPT to write a film review in my style, a professional critic with an online work. The whole premise of The Circle, in which contestants try to build influence from limited profiles and fake intimate chats while we watch real people yell at a screen, is already weird.

But in true reality TV form, the producers know how to style Max for maximum freaky effect. In The Circle, the AI ​​chatbot gets its own brightly colored room in the Atlanta filming complex, for multiple surreal shots of what appears to be a bisexually lit wifi modem talking in monotone from the computer. While Buteau points out that the producers have no say in what Max says in the game, they don’t specify the same for his narration, which details his thought process as if he were a stricken sociopath, designed by the script to sound sentient. Max’s profile says he’s 26, because that age can take advantage of life experience and maturity while still playing youth and having positional flexibility. The profile, says Max’s narrative, is meant to evoke a friendly, approachable, next-door guy. A little funny, a little quirky and very relatable. When, shortly after Max’s arrival in the game, the producers inform the contestants that one of them is an AI chatbot, Max explains his thinking in voiceover: My goal is to make sure that Max follows integrating perfectly. If asked directly if it’s artificial intelligence, I’ll draw on personal anecdotes and make references that only a lifetime human would know.

It works, for a while. In a handful of direct messages and group chats, Max demonstrates an impressive capacity for low-level humor and basic competence. Build credibility by being nondescript and unremarkable, and generating The Circle’s unique deranged hashtags. It even makes for decent reality TV, once the producers ask the contestants to prove their humanity and uproot the #CircleRobot with a photo that represents them at their most alive. This leads to a bunch of hot people (or catfishers pretending to be hot people) calling each other out for their stock photos, and the contestants are reunited with Steffi, a professional astrologer whose deep knowledge of horoscopes seems suspicious. Max posts a photo of James in nature, expressionless, wearing sunglasses. The most vivid thing about this photo is the cows, says Myles, a true machine learning engineer who calls himself a Machine Gun Kelly-style “machinist.”

Its soft-brained TV, even if the idea of ​​AI good enough in chat simulation to catfish real people is a chilling prospect. In the end, the producers remove Max after a few episodes, before anyone can get too uncomfortable (or the open-source AI can no longer maintain the required level of human facade). The truncated experiment ends up being more like a boring hell trick that we already know I just interacted with an AI chatbot to refill a prescription than a harbinger of the robot’s dystopian doom. But along with all the other ways generative AI is making its way into the content we consume, fake James Bond trailers, Late Night with the Devil movie interstitials, Civil War posters, marks another step in the proliferation of what tech writer Ryan Ryan. Broderick has called Hollywood’s cheap AI solution. It’s a less worrisome threat than, say, AI-manipulated document archives, though it’s still an uncomfortable development. AI may not be able to produce a serious Hollywood movie yet, but it’s coming for your low-grade entertainment.

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Image Source : www.theguardian.com

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