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Some content creators are going viral, thanks to ChatGPT

While the AI-driven tool has raised concerns across various industries, some creators say it has helped them get more innovative with their content.
Alexis Bledel, left, and Lauren Graham on "Gilmore Girls".
Alexis Bledel (Rory), left, and Lauren Graham (Lorelai) of "Gilmore Girls." Bryan Hartlett went viral for using ChatGPT to write scripted fan fiction about the show on TikTok. Richard Cartwright / Warner Bros/courtesy Everett Collection

Barry Enderwick, who is known to his 300,000 TikTok followers as SandwichesofHistory, has built a niche online by filming himself making sandwiches from different time periods and countries.   

Now, he’s creating “sandwiches of future history” — with help from AI. 

The content creator launched a series, “AI Friday,” that features him posting sandwich recipes generated by ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence-driven chatbot that has captivated the internet’s attention since its release last year. At first, he wasn’t sure what the software would come up with. But his first sandwich included eggs, avocado and chocolate spread — a combination that he said was surprisingly delicious. 

He’s the latest creator to use the tool — which has been deemed controversial in some circles — as a way to make more distinct content for his followers.

“I wanted something unique,” Enderwick, who has a background in digital marketing, said of how he came up with the idea. “So, I’d say, ‘write me an unusual sandwich recipe’ and that led to the sandwiches that I’ve gotten so far. … For me, the goal is to generate something that’s not totally available already but also not something that’s just beyond the pale.”

ChatGPT has raised concerns over its rapid evolution and human-like responses. About 38% of Americans said they were more concerned than excited about more AI in their daily lives, according to a study from the Pew Research Center in December. Only 15% said they were more excited than concerned, according to the survey.

But for some creators, fear isn’t on their minds just yet because integrating ChatGPT into online content has proven, at times, to be a recipe for viral success.

Bryan Hartlett has gone viral for using ChatGPT to write scripted fan fiction about the television show “Gilmore Girls” on TikTok. 

His most popular video, which garnered over 1 million views, is a fictional phone call between high-society mother Emily Gilmore and daughter Lorelai Gilmore about saving a seat at an event in Stars Hollow, where Lorelai lives. In another TikTok, Stars Hollow resident Kirk complained to the local diner’s owner, Luke, over the price of certain items on the menu. 

Commenters were shocked by the accuracy of the scene, many questioning whether it really happened. Others expressed gratitude for new “Gilmore Girls” content, even if it was fan-made.

Hartlett has a simple strategy when it comes to making the videos: He feeds detailed descriptions of the characters and desired scenes into ChatGPT and uses the dialogue written by the AI with photos and recorded voiceovers to bring the scene to life. 

“If you were to just type into ChatGPT ‘write me an original Friday night dinner scene for an episode of “Gilmore Girls,’ it will definitely spit out a conversation, but it’s only part of the way there,” he said. “It has the characters and the settings, but the humor isn’t quite there.”

It took time to develop each character’s voice and understand how to create the same tone and fast-paced humor fans loved, Hartlett said. Eventually, he figured it out — and has since produced 14 AI-generated episodes. 

“It was a matter of giving it a little bit more instruction and saying things like, ‘this is a character description of Lorelai,’ ‘this is a character description of Emily,’ ‘this is how these two characters typically communicate,’ and things like that,” he said. “Then it just kept getting closer and closer. With some of the scenes that I’ve made so far, that’s all it took.”

Tom McGovern, a singer-songwriter from New Jersey with over 380,000 followers on TikTok, also said curiosity drew him to the software.

“Initially, I was like, ‘Let’s have some fun. Let’s see what it can do if I ask it to write something dumb,’” he said. “I asked ChatGPT to write me a song called ‘Sexy Bus.’ That’s it, no genre, no chord progression, nothing. Sure enough, it spit out some lyrics that I thought were funny.” 

He wrote music to accompany the lyrics and made his first video using artificial intelligence. McGovern chose to make his videos karaoke-style with lyrics on the screen along with a video of him performing the song. His AI-generated pub song, which has 1.6 million views, is one of his most popular videos on his account. 

“I wanted it to feel like the listener was able to read along as if ChatGPT was feeding them the lyrics in real time,” he said. “I edited it in a way that the lyrics flow with the song because I think that’s a fun way and as immersive as you can be in this format for the listener.”

McGovern has since released three other songs, including an homage to chinchillas called “Sweet Chinchilla,” and a song about horses in the style of the rock band Creed. 

McGovern said that he understands the concerns around using ChatGPT but that he sees it as a tool rather than a replacement for people in different industries.

“ChatGPT is a fun tool to write the lyrics,” he said. “But I’m the one that’s writing the chords, producing it, writing the melodies and singing it.”