Looks like AI really can do anything. As a writer, fan of television, and creative individual (at least I try to be) this is extremely upsetting news.
A company by the name of Fable has just released new artificial intelligence technology that is capable of creating full television episodes. To demonstrate their new technology which is called Showrunner AI (or SHOW-1 for short), Fable released a handful of AI-generated South Park episodes. All of the episodes were created with minimal human interaction.
The system works with a human inputting a small prompt of about one or two sentences into the AI processor. Using that lone prompt, SHOW-1 will write, animate, edit, and record every single detail of a full episode. Moreover, the technology can even create new characters.
One of the coolest things about this new AI system is that it can create lifelike characters that depict real people. Essentially, this means that you could put yourself in your favorite TV show.
Though Fable has released a few South Park episodes on Vimeo to demonstrate their novel technology, they can’t just make episodes of existing shows as it isn’t their own intellectual property. However, Fable announced that they are already in talks to begin releasing their own content made through SHOW-1.
For those still confused about all of this, watch this TikTok. This guy does a way better job explaining than I do.
Despite this dude’s clearer explanation of the project, he does get one main thing incorrect. It is not funny. I watched one of the episodes and let me tell you, it is noticeable within the first 25 seconds that this isn’t truly South Park.
For starters, the voices aren’t even right. Stan and Kenny sound pretty spot on (although Kenny is straight mumbles), but Cartman doesn’t even sound close to his normal self. In terms of humor, you can bet your ass that Trey Parker and Matt Stone didn’t write this.
Look, I’m not gonna pile onto how much I hate this version of South Park. If you want to watch, go ahead. It’s right here.
While I do think that this was a poor example, I still think this technology is pretty crazy and will be beneficial. The animation is pretty well done considering it probably took the computer a fraction of the time it would normally take an animator. Additionally, I do believe that this technology could cut down editing times by a significant amount. And if you want me to be really honest, yeah it’s pretty sick that this was all done with just two lines of plot given to a computer.
However, I don’t see AI fully making shows on its own. Editing, animation, maybe even acting can be replaced by AI, but it will never replace writers. It’s hard to be funny. I try everyday and yet seem to struggle immensely (I get death threats in comments from 45-year-olds quite often). AI can’t be satirical. It doesn’t get emotion and thus can’t properly make fun of things. Comedy is all about teetering on a line of offensiveness, something that is extremely hard to feel out. But that’s the thing, you need to be able to feel it.
AI learns and repeats. Just because I tell it a joke about Hunter Biden’s laptop doesn’t mean it can then make jokes about Jared from Subway’s laptop. That isn’t how it works. Sure, it will be able to tell a story and hit plot points, but humor will never come through.
Some of you will undoubtedly call me a hater for this, and honestly I am. I hate that this exists. I hate that I know people will lie to themselves and say it works. And I hate that 15 years down the road, there probably will be some show that is fully AI just as a network money grab. However, I know for a fact that I’m right about this. Just wait. In 15 years, when we finally get the first human-free television show ever, prepare for it to suck.