An AI-generated ‘South Park’ episode, Microsoft’s safety woes, and Tesla’s first Cybertruck construct

Hey, people, welcome to Week in Evaluation (WiR), TechCrunch’s common roundup of the previous week in tech. Too busy to test the headlines this week? Don’t sweat it. That’s why WiR exists — we’ll get you caught up to the mark.

This version of WiR options items a couple of pretend AI-generated “South Park” episode; the surging downloads of Threads, an app that shares the identical identify as Meta’s Twitter competitor; and Tesla’s first Cybertruck construct. We additionally recap the CEO of OnlyFans stepping down; Wix’s new instrument that may create web sites on the fly, utilizing generative AI; and Plex’s free Winamp-inspired music participant.

That’s so much to cowl, so let’s get cracking. Oh, and if you happen to haven’t already, join right here to get WiR in your inbox each Saturday.

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Poor timing for AI-generated TV: AI startup Fable Studios demoed its platform this week, utilizing it to create a full, pretend “South Park” episode during which Cartman tries to use deepfake expertise to the media trade. The tech was spectacular, Devin writes, however — juxtaposed towards the continued strike of creatives in TV and movie — the stunt got here throughout as a tad inartful.

Not search for Microsoft safety: Microsoft nonetheless doesn’t know — or wish to share — how China-backed hackers stole a key that allowed them to stealthily break into dozens of e mail inboxes, together with these belonging to a number of authorities companies. The corporate first disclosed the incident final Tuesday, attributing the monthlong exercise to a newly found espionage group it’s calling Storm-0558, which it believes has a powerful nexus to China.

The different Threads surges to new heights: Instagram’s Twitter clone Threads loved a reasonably fruitful first week in existence, crusing previous 30 million customers within the first 24 hours. However it’s had the unintended impact of thrusting Threads, an unrelated app first pitched as a Slack various, into the highlight. Threads (the Slack various) reportedly racked up greater than 880,000 downloads on iOS between July 6 and July 12, after Meta’s Threads launched, having had few downloads prior up to now.

Telsa unveils the primary Cybertruck construct: Tesla over the weekend stated its first, much-anticipated Cybertruck got here off the manufacturing line in Texas. The debut of the long-delayed, futuristic-looking pickup truck comes within the lead-up to Tesla’s second-quarter 2023 earnings name.

OnlyFans CEO steps down: After about two and a half years on the helm, Ami Gan is leaving OnlyFans. Chief technique and operations officer Keily Blair will take over as CEO. As Amanda writes, OnlyFans is maybe the greatest-known creator platform that helps grownup content material; in response to Gan, the corporate paid out $10 billion to creators whereas she was CEO.

New websites, generated by AI: Wix, a longtime fixture of the web-building house, is betting that at the moment’s prospects don’t significantly care to spend time customizing each side of their website’s look. The corporate’s new AI Website Generator instrument, introduced this week, will permit Wix customers to explain their intent and generate a web site full with a homepage, internal pages and textual content and pictures — in addition to business-specific sections for occasions, bookings and extra.

Plex makes its Winamp-inspired participant free: Plexamp, the music participant initially incubated by the Labs division of media firm Plex, is now free. The venture was first launched in 2017 as a subscription-based spin on the basic Winamp media participant app, providing visualizations to accompany your tunes, instruments for programming mixes, and extra just lately, a ChatGPT-powered “Sonic Sage” characteristic that builds distinctive playlists from customers’ music libraries.

VanMoof e-bikes, saved: Since struggling e-bike startup VanMoof confirmed it has requested for a deferment of fee in Holland, there’s been a query hanging over the VanMoof bikes on the market within the wild. Driving to the rescue, considerably improbably, is Cowboy, VanMoof’s e-bike competitor over the border in Belgium. Cowboy’s “Bikey” app permits VanMoof riders to generate their distinctive digital key and maintain using, Mike writes.


TechCrunch’s roster of podcasts is, as the children say, giving. Tune in for nice new content material this week.

On Fairness, PitchBook enterprise guru Kyle Stanford got here to riff with the crew on the enterprise capital in Q2 2023: the nice, the dangerous, and the late stage.

The most recent episode of Discovered, in the meantime, spotlighted Catherine Tabor, the founder and CEO of Sparkfly, an organization that helps manufacturers with advertising and marketing and buyer engagement. Tabor talked about constructing an organization fluid sufficient to adapt to altering expertise traits during the last decade and the way she was dismissed by enterprise capitalists regardless of touchdown notable prospects.


TC+ subscribers get entry to in-depth commentary, evaluation and surveys — which you realize if you happen to’re already a subscriber. When you’re not, contemplate signing up. Listed here are a number of highlights from this week:

Electrical utilities drive prospects to startups: Of all the companies that needs to be desirous to embrace the electrical transition, electrical utilities would appear to be on the high of the checklist. But in addition they look like a few of the most hesitant. Startups are benefiting from the scenario, Tim writes.

Blended-gender founding groups elevate over a billion {dollars}: U.S. startups with mixed-gender founding groups — which means they’ve at the very least one feminine founder — raised $24.1 billion within the first half of 2023, which breaks all the way down to $17.2 billion in Q1 and $6.9 billion in Q2, per the newest PitchBook knowledge. That’s a giant deal — however it’s essential to notice that startups with all-women founding groups are nonetheless struggling to lift cash this 12 months.

Ripple’s XRP case and the dearth of regulatory readability: Final week, the crypto group celebrated a U.S. federal courtroom case that dominated Ripple’s XRP token doesn’t make up unlawful securities gross sales — however solely in some instances. Although many celebrated the ruling, it’s not a real win for crypto — Jacquelyn explains why.

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