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Kwebbelkop AI Controversy refers to the backlash surrounding YouTuber Kwebbelkop's AI-generated virtual persona that he created for his YouTube channel in August 2023 resembling a VTuber's 3D design. A month after revealing the AI avatar, the creator decided to announce a 2.0 version, which generated online criticism and memes on Twitter / X, TikTok and YouTube throughout September 2023.
On August 1st, 2023, YouTuber Jordi Van Den Bussche, better known as Kwebbelkop, uploaded a video on his YouTube channel titled "Minecraft But You Only Get ONE BLOCK." The content creator told Wired the Minecraft gameplay video (shown below) used an AI model to reproduce his physical presence, as he plans to "retire from being an influencer." The post garnered over 295,000 views and 2,600 likes in two months.
The YouTuber's announcement generated a viral debate in the gaming and streaming community in the following days, primarily surrounding the ethics of using an AI avatar to stream. For instance, on August 3rd, 2023, YouTuber Slogo posted a reaction video criticizing kwebbelkop's AI-generated content (shown below, left), which amassed more than 284,000 views and 12,000 likes in two months.
On August 20th, YouTuber Justicul posted a video titled "How Kwebbelkop Became YouTube’s Most Hated Creator," which explained why many in the gaming community reacted so negatively to his project. The video (shown below, right) received roughly 123,000 views and 4,200 likes in a month.
Kwebbelkop's 2.0 AI
After a significant amount of criticism over Kwebbelkop's AI persona, which was 3D animated, he announced on September 22nd, 2023, a 2.0 iteration that employs his actual face and authentic voice enhanced and refined by AI technology.
He uploaded a video (shown below) that same day to explain his decision to retract the 1.0 version, stating, "I made a mistake. I decided to share a Kwebbelkop AI with the world when he wasn't 100% ready. He hadn't fully matured it." The video garnered over 107,000 views and 3,700 likes in two days.
The 2.0 AI version of the creator was also the subject of criticism and discussion on social media following its debut. For example, on September 24th, 2023, YouTuber Cr1TiKaL posted a reaction video (shown below, left) about the controversy, which amassed more than 1 million views and 70,000 likes in a few hours.
On September 23rd, YouTuber idoknownothing8209 also posted a reaction video about the AI persona (shown below, right), which received over 6,000 views and 675 likes in a day.