AI successfully predicts show will be a hit before it airs
China’s video-streaming giant iQiyi employs the help of artificial intelligence to find its next breakout success
Of all the ways artificial intelligence is taking over, here’s one you might not have expected: Deciding that a reality show will be a hit before it airs.
The humans running Baidu’s video streaming site iQiyi weren’t sure a reality show focused on hip hop would be successful in China, so they turned to AI. The South China Morning Post reports that their internal AI system, iQiyi Brain, said the show would be a success -- and even proposed a guest judge: Kris Wu, a Chinese Canadian musician formerly with the South Korean boy band EXO.
"The Rap of China", in which contestants battle in freestyle rap, debuted in June 2017. Within the first four hours, it was viewed more than 100 million times online. The 12-episode production has since accumulated almost 2.7 billion views and propelled contest winners PG One and Gai to unprecedented hip hop stardom.
iQiyi Brain is not omniscient (yet): It overlooked the huge success of the hit political thriller "In the Name of People", which came out last year on iQiyi and several other websites and television channels. (It also didn’t foresee an eventual crackdown on hip hop music by Chinese authorities who see it as a threat to Communist Party values.)
iQiyi Brain has come a long way since 2014, when it was first set up to automate customer service. And while it’s developed rapidly, the company admits there are some things computers still can’t do. iQiyi’s chief technology officer told the South China Morning Post that even though it can help guide programming choices, “it can never replace you in creation and imagination.”