Every day between 6 to 11 pm GMT, Neuro-sama streams herself playing Minecraft and osu, a musical rhythm game. Like many V-tubers, or virtual YouTubers, Neuro-sama appears as a Japanese anime-style character who interacts with her over 50,000 followers by responding to their comments in the chat.
But there’s one thing that separates Neuro-sama from her peers: she is controlled entirely by AI.
V-tubers have been part of a growing phenomenon in recent years, shaping a new genre of virtualized content creators. Some of these animated characters have gained huge followings, such as Kizuna AI, a Japanese virtual YouTuber who sings and sends messages to her fans, and has over 3 million subscribers. But Neuro-sama is transforming the virtual character to have an even greater level of persona and fan interaction.
In her latest livestream on Monday, when a user asked Neuro-sama in the chat if she is more of a Chip or Dale type of chipmunk, she responded, “I think I’m more of a Dale.” She has frequent back-and-forths with the chat, saying things such as “Are you seriously trying to troll me?” and “That was an awful chat,” after numerous users put “F” in the chat instead of questions for her. Neuro-sama can even converse using gamer language. When a user comments that she is “griefing chat,” which means causing annoyance to other members of an online community, she replies, “I’m griefing chat? No, I’m merely describing chat.”
Vedal, the AI’s pseudonymous creator, says that Neuro-sama was created as a fun experiment. “I made her a Twitch streamer so that she can interact with her audience in real time. A lot of the fun comes from her interactions with Twitch chat,” Vedal told Motherboard. “I think the fans play an important role in her success and how fun her streams are. Having the interactions with Twitch chat are what makes her entertaining to watch, without that I don't think she would be as successful.”
Neuro-sama often impresses online users with her ability to successfully play games such as Minecraft and osu while also interacting with them in a conversational way. Vedal told Motherboard that Neuro-sama has already beaten the top-ranking osu player in a 1 v. 1 game. Though she is not allowed to be ranked on the main osu leaderboard, Neuro-sama is currently ranked number one on the private server she plays on.
Neuro-sama’s earliest incarnation was first created in 2018, when Vedal made an AI that learned to play osu. But at the time, the virtual streamer did not have an avatar or speaking capabilities. Relaunched in December 2022, Vedal used a free sample avatar from Live2D, an online avatar maker, and paired it with an anime-style voice to create Neuro-sama. Vedal said that there are plans for her to get her own custom avatar and for her to play more games in the future.
Like many modern AI chatbots, Vedal says Neuro-sama was made using a large language model, or LLM, a type of AI model trained from massive amounts of text taken from the open internet. As Motherboard has previously reported, many open-source AI models have a high propensity for human bias, and often mimic racist and sexist stereotypes. So while Neuro-sama’s streams are 100 percent automated, Vedal has a team that monitors and moderates her and the chat.
“There are of course many filters in place to prevent her being inappropriate or offensive - including some powered by AI, but, there currently needs to be a human there to moderate,” said Vedal. “I usually make improvements to the AI and stream before I go live every day.”
It will be interesting to see how Neuro-sama will fare against more complicated games, and how she might respond to more open-ended questions that don’t have clear answers. Some of the spicier responses she’s already given, as reported by We Got This Covered, include, “I don’t eat horses, but I hear they’re delicious” and “What’s my favorite method of torture? Probably electrocution, but fire is also fun.”