AI Showrunner tool lets you star in custom South Park episodes

Jul 21, 2023, 6:40 AM UTC
3 mins read
AI Showrunner tool lets you star in custom South Park episodes
(Image credit: South Park Digital Studios/Comedy Central)

Fable Simulation, a US-based company, claims to have unlocked the secret to producing customized South Park episodes using artificial intelligence. The company’s innovative AI tool, known as AI Showrunner, has astonished enthusiasts with its ability to generate entire animated episodes, complete with voices, animations, and editing, based on user-provided prompts. This captivating development has captured the public’s imagination since the emergence of ChatGPT in November, representing the broader potential of generative AI in various industries, including Hollywood.

Edward Saatchi, the CEO of Fable Simulation, revealed that the AI Showrunner allows users to simply input a concise one- or two-sentence prompt. From there, the AI takes charge, weaving together a unique episode while also creating a character that resembles the user in both appearance and voice. The tool’s versatility lies in its ability to produce convincing text and images, falling under the domain of generative AI, which has sparked curiosity and controversy in recent times.

One particular episode of South Park, aired in its 26th season and entitled “Deep Learning,” showcased the influence of AI technology on the show’s production. AI-generated voices, created using a text-to-voice generator powered by artificial intelligence, played a part in the narrative, offering viewers a taste of the potential that generative AI holds for the entertainment industry.

It is important to note that the AI-generated South Park episodes produced by Fable Simulation were crafted purely for research purposes and not intended for public use. Saatchi emphasized that the company did not seek to profit from this experiment and did not intend to make the tool available to the general public. The South Park episode served as a demonstration of the capabilities of generative AI in television production, providing an insightful comparison to traditional methods.

Related / Warner Bros. Discovery Sues Paramount Over South Park Streaming Rights

Regarding copyright concerns, Fable Simulation was cautious in its approach, acknowledging that the South Park experiment was conducted without seeking copyright permission from the show’s creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, or its broadcaster, Comedy Central, owned by Paramount. This delicate issue surrounding AI models and intellectual property has been a significant point of contention, as exemplified by a recent Hollywood strike involving writers and actors. The transformative potential of generative AI in the television and film industry has raised concerns about potential job displacement, as machines might replace human talent.

Despite these concerns, Saatchi assured that the company would collaborate with intellectual property holders before releasing any such technology to the public. Discussions with various studios and IP holders are underway, to potentially allow fans to create their episodes using existing IP, with permission. This interactive approach could lead to fascinating new ways for fans to engage with their favorite shows and perhaps even foster competitive creativity.

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