Home PublicationsData Innovators 5 Q’s for Tim Levy, CEO and Founder of Twyn

5 Q’s for Tim Levy, CEO and Founder of Twyn

by Ayesha Bhatti

The Center for Data Innovation spoke with Tim Levy, CEO and founder of Twyn, a communications platform that enables world-leading talent within sports, music, and entertainment to redefine how they tell great stories and connect to users, intimately, at scale. Levy discussed building trust around generative AI, partnering with the British entertainer Derren Brown, and how the UK might achieve its “AI superpower” status through the British entertainment industry.

Ayesha Bhatti: Can you explain how Twyn works?

Tim Levy: Our generative AI-enabled technology enables users to have one-on-one conversations with their favourite athletes, actors, and artists in a manner that is truly authentic and feels the same as using Facetime to speak with friends or family.

We only use pre-recorded content that we film with talent. This helps alleviate the trust issues associated with generative AI as we don’t machine-generate uncontrolled and unpredictable content like other platforms. The AI selects answers from the most relevant content to seamlessly facilitate “real-time” conversation, meaning everything you see and hear is original.

The technology is unique because we’re providing talent with a brand-new, risk-free, and authentic avenue to digitally scale themselves and connect with users all over the world. We’re offering users access to interactive storytelling experiences never seen before.

Bhatti: I notice you have partnerships with the likes of illusionist Derren Brown and professional surfer Jamie O’Brien. Could you talk more about how these came about and why they’re such great use cases for Twyn?

Levy: We want to give users access to some of the most interesting and recognised figures in the world, and Derren and Jamie are both great partnerships for Twyn. We’re giving users the opportunity to hear first-hand from Derren Brown what it feels like to fool the world and from Jamie O’Brien what it feels like to surf a championship-winning wave.

So far, the representatives we have been in contact with have been enthused by our ability to support their commercial interests while also giving their global fanbase an authentic account of who they are beyond what users see on television or read online and on social media.

Bhatti: What are your thoughts on the attitudes the entertainment industry has towards AI?

Levy: Currently there’s a significant lack of trust in generative AI, which is limiting its uptake and hindering its potential.

We’ve all seen the high-profile cases of deepfakes of some of the world’s most famous people, such as Taylor Swift and Joe Biden. Unfortunately, this has severely damaged the trust that talent and their agents have in AI technology. Concerns about job replacement that resulted in the writers’ and actors’ strikes have also damaged trust throughout the industry.

Scepticism surrounding the technology often stems from people failing to differentiate between generated content and original content. We need to educate stakeholders, including actors, artists, and agents, that generative AI can enhance authentic, original content, not just generate machine-based content.

We’ve made a considerable effort to assure the talent we work with that our use of generative AI simply enhances the content of them that they have already pre-authorised. We want to prove to the industry that generative AI can be rolled out in entertainment responsibly to provide controllable, scalable, and engaging content. But it also needs a more cohesive push from industry stakeholders to build trust.

Bhatti: What benefits does generative AI pose to both workers and consumers in the entertainment industry?

Levy: Generative AI can completely reshape the storytelling experience, opening up new commercial and job opportunities.

Talent can digitally scale themselves and deliver hyper-personalised, interactive content to audiences anywhere across the globe. This enables them to build their brand or promote a project or initiative from just a few hours of pre-recorded content.

Production studios can also leverage these interactive, real-time experiences by allowing fans to chat with actors or artists about an upcoming album or movie. Not only does this save time and money on marketing costs – it could completely transform the traditional build-up to a new release.

Generative AI also offers consumers the most authentic way to ever engage with celebrities without directly speaking with them. It surpasses what platforms like Instagram or TikTok have achieved, and the experience is so seamless that the AI quickly becomes an afterthought.

Bhatti: Where do you think AI-enabled media is going in the next five years?

Levy: I hope that the technology can become more widely adopted in a responsible way, because its potential is huge.

Of course, reputational issues and fears of job replacement are central to the trust, particularly in the States and in Hollywood.

The UK is in a great position to take the lead in generative AI. We proactively took charge in setting AI standards, we have a wealth of leading universities, research centres, and R&D investment, and we have a thriving entertainment sector, which is renowned for producing world-class content. The UK government wants the nation to become an “AI superpower,” and generative AI provides a great opportunity for it to get a jump on the United States in AI-enabled content.

On a global scale, we need to raise awareness of generative AI’s vast benefits for the media and entertainment industry to support de-risk and incentivise investment in AI. Then, moving forward, we need tailored regulations or guidelines to set a framework for continued safety standards to ensure the tech is used responsibly.

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