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 examine the headlines this week? Don’t sweat it. That’s why WiR exists — we’ll get you caught in control.

This version of WiR options items a few pretend AI-generated “South Park” episode; the surging downloads of Threads, an app that shares the identical title 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 quite a bit to cowl, so let’s get cracking. Oh, and should you haven’t already, enroll right here to get WiR in your inbox each Saturday.

Most learn

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 by which Cartman tries to use deepfake expertise to the media trade. The tech was spectacular, Devin writes, however — juxtaposed towards the continuing strike of creatives in TV and movie — the stunt got here throughout as a tad inartful.

Not an excellent 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 electronic mail inboxes, together with these belonging to a number of authorities businesses. 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. But it surely’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 thus far.

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 probably the best-known creator platform that helps grownup content material; in keeping with 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 as we speak’s clients don’t notably care to spend time customizing each facet of their web site’s look. The corporate’s new AI Website Generator instrument, introduced this week, will enable Wix customers to explain their intent and generate a web site full with a homepage, interior 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 challenge 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 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 cost 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 preserve using, Mike writes.


TechCrunch’s roster of podcasts is, as the youngsters 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 great, the dangerous, and the late stage.

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


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

Electrical utilities drive clients to startups: Of all the businesses that must be wanting to embrace the electrical transition, electrical utilities would appear to be on the prime of the checklist. But in addition they look like among the most hesitant. Startups are profiting from the state of affairs, 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 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 information. That’s an enormous deal — but it surely’s vital to notice that startups with all-women founding groups are nonetheless struggling to boost cash this 12 months.

Ripple’s XRP case and the shortage of regulatory readability: Final week, the crypto group celebrated a U.S. federal court docket 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.

Get your TechCrunch repair IRL. Be a part of us at Disrupt 2023 in San Francisco this September to immerse your self in all issues startup. From headline interviews to intimate roundtables to a jam-packed startup expo flooring, there’s one thing for everybody at Disrupt. Save as much as $600 once you purchase your go now by means of August 11, and save 15% on prime of that with promo code WIR. Study extra.

Back to top button