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New AI technology gives Twitch streamers constant, creepy eye contact

Nvidia comes with new AI-powered technology that swaps your real eyes for digital eyes that will never stop looking at your webcam. It’s very creepy, and another sign of how unnatural you have to act online to become a popular streamer in 2023.

That’s the way it is: to succeed in the world of live streaming, you have to be “on” all the timealways ‘engaged’ and never taking too many breaks for fear of narrowing down your potentially fickle audience. It can quickly lead to burnout. Time and time again we have seen large, medium and small streamers lose their passion for playing games online, leading to long pauses, panic attacksand more. But what if an AI powered tool could you help fake part of that all-important engagement? Enter Nvidia’s latest update to its broadcast software.

This one set of tools aims to help you look and sound better while streaming, with features like background removal and keyboard clutter suppression. Starting with this new version, you can apply fake AI powered eyeballs to your real human face at the touch of a button. And these new eyes will stare straight into the camera at all times, so you can never stop “engaging” your audience, even if you’re reading your chat or looking around at other things in your room. It looks wild and very creepy!

Some have suggested that this technology could help people with autism who struggle to maintain eye contact during meetings and live streams. And while I respect that use case, I wonder if this is the path we want to go down. I don’t think constant eye contact – especially creepy, direct stare eye contact like this – is something we all need or should want. I certainly don’t think it’s a good thing to stick scary AI eyes on everyone. And as indicated by a tweet, this kind of static, dead look is not what people actually look like when they talk in front of large groups. Looking away or looking at other people and cameras is natural and can be helpful and even important.

Online reactions to this new technology include people freaking out about how creepy and weird it looks and pointing out how unnatural it feels. Still, you can also find a lot more positive responses to the above tweet and other online examples of this strange new AI gizmo: people excited about how it will help their YouTube videos or live streams on Twitch, and happy to be able to chat or watch away from the stream, as their audience is tricked into thinking they are still “engaged” to them. To me, that just seems like a really unhealthy (and unsustainable) mindset that will eventually lead to more burnout that AI-powered technology can’t solve, treat, or prevent.

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