Never one to shy away from hot-button topics, it looks like the creators of South Park have used ChatGPT to write parts of a recent episode that pokes fun at the much-hyped artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot.
Released on March 9, 2023, the fourth episode of season 26, titled Deep Learning, sees students at South Park Elementary discover the new technology that can write their homework (an experience that’s no doubt unfolding at schools and colleges around the world at the moment).
The episode ends with the credits saying “written by Trey Parker and ChatGPT”, although knowing the creators of South Park this could be heavily cloaked sarcasm. The credits also explain that some of the voices in the episode, namely the voice of ChatGPT itself, were created using Play.ht's AI-powered text-to-voice generator.
If you've been living under a rock recently, ChatGPT is a free-to-use chatbot developed by OpenAI that uses AI to generate human-like replies to questions and demands. The technology is based on neural networks, which mimic the underlying architecture of the brain to process information and learn.
The initial aim of the chatbot was to develop an AI that has human-like conversations with users, but the latest iterations of ChatGPT are capable of performing complex tasks, whether it be composing emails and essays or even writing TV episodes and computer code.
It has made countless headlines in recent months and has been pitted to revolutionize the way the world works. Nevertheless, as the South Park episode highlights, the AI tool is already raising plenty of questions about ethics, authenticity, and corporate power.
The ever-controversial creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are not totally divorced from the incoming tidal wave of AI technology, however. The pair set up their own AI entertainment studio, Deep Voodoo, which recently received $20 million of funding to develop “deep fake technology, cost-effective visual effects services, and original synthetic media projects.”