Mountain Dew(l), Streamer on computer(r)

DisobeyArt/Shutterstock Photog Bill/Flickr (Licensed)

Mountain Dew is turning Twitch into an artificial intelligence panopticon

Online, posters compared it to an old 4chan meme.

 

Marlon Ettinger

Tech

Posted on Dec 5, 2023

An AI-powered marketing program rolling out on Dec. 6 to promote Mountain Dew will identify Mountain Dew products in Twitch streamers’ videos and reward them for putting them front and center.

According to a Q&A sheet released by Mountain Dew, the program, called MTN DEW RAID, will scan Twitch streams with the #Gaming tag, searching for Mountain Dew products and logos, and send a chat to any streamers with the products or logos visible asking them if they want to participate in RAID, and if they say yes, the AI will keep monitoring the stream.

“Once you accept, the RAID AI will keep monitoring your stream for the presence of MTN DEW, if you remove your DEW, you’ll be prompted to bring it back on camera, if you don’t, you’ll be removed from our participating streamers,” the handout reads.

In return for participating, streamers get the dubious prize of maybe being featured on Twitch’s homepage “hero carousel,” on Dew’s Twitch channel for 15 minutes, or on the ”MTN DEW RAID branded shelf” on Twitch’s home page. They can also win an opportunity for a one-on-one coaching session with an unnamed “professional streamer/content creator.

Streamer ZachBussey tested the AI by overlaying a Mountain Dew bottle on his stream to test whether that would be enough to be recognized by the program. He quickly got a message from the company’s channel asking him to opt into the program

In a comment on r/LivestreamFail, Bussey criticized the fact that Mountain Dew was only offering exposure as compensation for streamers participating in the program.

“Self promo is a problem in and of itself, but right now, it’s just basically a free ad running all over Twitch for a multinational corporation,” Bussey wrote. “Creators typically get paid a fraction of a penny per ad impression when running ads. In this case, only Twitch is being financially enriched to promote a product in creator communities.

On X, users mocked the program because of its similarity to a popular 4chan greentext where gamers are obligated to drink Mountain Dew, eat Doritos, and repeat corporate slogans and catchphrases to keep playing their Xbox.

Unrecorded

Posters also made memes comparing the program to a panopticon, a type of prison designed so all the prisoners can be observed by one guard. Because the prisoners can never tell if they’re the one being watched, they regulate their own behavior based on the threat of surveillance.

Unrecorded

Other users joked that like in the 4chan greentext, gamers would be shackled to cans of Mountain Dew to keep playing in the future.

Others saw the promotional stunt as a sign of things to come for how big companies market their products.

“imagine what the rest of fortune 500 may think up once they discover huggingface exists and is free,” wrote @nearcyan, referencing the New York-based company which hosts a wide variety of open-source AI tools anybody can use.

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*First Published: Dec 5, 2023, 2:53 pm CST