The Dystopian Future of TV Is AI-Generated 'FAST' Garbage

TCL's new AI-generated movie "Next Stop Paris" is the next evolution in the algorithmification of TV.
The Dystopian Future of TV Is AI-Generated 'FAST' Garbage
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On Friday, TCL, the second largest TV manufacturer in the world, announced Next Stop Paris, a romantic comedy that looks so bad and is filled with so many jarring visual errors common in AI-generated images, it’s hard to believe it’s real, but TCL insists that it is.

It is not clear whether the trailer is bouncing between different characters, or if TCL has been unable to figure out how to keep them consistent between scenes. The lip-synching is wildly off, the scenes are not detailed, walking animations do not work properly, and people and environments warp constantly. 

“We are not looking to replace people. This is still very much a human practice,” Chris Regina, the chief content officer for TCL, told Broadcast+Cable. “We’re using writers. We’re using actors and animators. We’ve been really fortunate to find a lot of great talent out there who weren’t working that have become part of our team.”

People will likely watch this for laughs, but this is the present and the future of a business model in which TVs have ceased being rectangles designed to let you watch ad-supported programming that costs a lot to make and have started to become rectangles designed to collect information about you so that you can be fed cheap content and targeted ads.

Next Stop Paris is being released by TCLtv+, which is a free digital TV service that comes embedded on TCL TVs. Similar services exist on most smart televisions at this point, and are the primary means through which “FAST” channels, which means “free, ad-supported TV,” are distributed. Not everything on FAST channels is low-quality garbage, but much of it is highly specific, allowing advertisers to more narrowly target viewers. On the version of “Digital TV” that I’m scrolling through right now (on Roku), for example, there is a Fear Factor channel, a Keeping Up With the Kardashians channel, a Duck Dynasty channel, an Ice Road Truckers channel that plays nothing but those shows 24/7/365 until, presumably, the heat death of the universe. All of this has happened alongside streaming services choosing to commission, renew, or cancel shows based on highly specific user watch data, and going down a path of creating increasingly specific shows that then show up to specific subsets of audiences.

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