S. Korean TV channel operator releases AI-produced variety show

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : February 28, 2024, 14:39 Updated : March 5, 2024, 01:00
Courtesy of MBC
[Courtesy of MBC]

SEOUL -- MBC, a major South Korean TV network that produced reality competition series Physical: 100, has showcased a variety show created by an artificial intelligence producer. The AI producer called "M-Phago" selected 10 human participants specializing in various fields, including a comedian, a rapper, and a doctor. M-Phago provides missions, edits videos, and determines wages.

"This program is designed for outstanding members from a range of fields to carry out many different missions," M-Phago told participants during the first episode broadcast on February 27. The content titled "The Producer Has Disappeared" includes comedian Kim Young-chul and rapper YunB. After receiving suggestions from participants on which games to play, the digital human creates a mission. Depending on the outcome, M-Phago calculates the fees for the participants.

Although YoonB was selected to receive the largest amount of money in the first episode, the rapper has not figured out why he was the winner. Participants are currently in a position to figure out what factors M-Phago places importance on.

The project plan for the reality show was made by human producers, including Yoon Kwon-soo, who created Physical: 100. The competition show featuring physically fit contestants became the most watched content on Netflix's non-English chart last year. AI tech startup Klleon participated in the production of M-Phago. The virtual human developer offered core technologies for the AI producer such as its persona, facial expression, and voice.

The adoption of AI is gaining momentum in South Korea's entertainment scene. In February 2024, the home shopping channel of conglomerate Lotte presented virtual model Lucy as the host for a TV show to promote popular fashion brands targeting young consumers. In July 2021, virtual influencer Rozy was chosen as a model for Shinhan Life Insurance, the insurance wing of the country's major financial group Shinhan Financial.
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