TO Nick Cave they had the lyrics of a written song read “Nick Cave Style” from the ChatGpt artificial intelligence software commissioned by a user. And King ink ruled: “Fuck”, “a grotesque mockery of what it means to be human”. The musician and composer, one of the most prolific and refined authors in the world, gave his opinion on the site The Red Hand Files.
Artificial intelligence was released last November by Open AI, capable of generating texts of all kinds, from screenplays to poems, even by imitating the styles of the authors. And Mark from Christchurch, New Zealandhe wrote to newsletters about Cave: “I asked Chat Gpt to write a song in the style of Nick Cave and this is what he produced. What do you think about it?”. And he sent him the lyrics of the song: “I am the sinner, I am the saint / I am the dark, I am the light / I am the hunter, I am the prey / I am the devil, I am the savior”. In short, a kind of caricature. And in fact Cave defined Chat Gpt as an exercise in “replica as parody”. In short, in no uncertain terms. “The emerging horror of AI” that “propels us towards a utopian future, perhaps towards our total destruction. Who can say which? Judging by this ‘Nick Cave-style’ song, though, it doesn’t look good, Mark. The apocalypse is well underway”.
“ChatGPT may be able to write a speech or an essay or a sermon or an obituary, but it can’t create a real song. It could perhaps over time create a song seemingly indistinguishable from an original, but it will always be a replica, a kind of caricature”. Because “songs are born out of sufferingby which I mean they are based on complex internal human struggle of creation and, well, as far as I know, algorithms don’t prove it. The data does not suffer. ChatGPT has no inner being, has not been anywhere, has endured nothing, has not had the audacity to go beyond its limits, and therefore does not have the capacity for a shared transcendent experience, as it has no limits from which to transcend”.
What “makes a song great is not its close resemblance to a recognizable work. Writing a good song isn’t mimicry, or replication, or pastiche, it’s the other way around. It is an act of suicide that destroys everything one has tried to produce in the past. I’m those dangerous and breathtaking departures that catapult the artist beyond the limits of what he recognizes as his known self. This is part of the authentic creative struggle that precedes the invention of a unique lyric of effective value; it is the breathless confrontation with one’s own vulnerability, one’s dangerousness, one’s smallness, as opposed to a sense of sudden and shocking discovery; it is the redemptive artistic act that shakes the listener’s heart, where the listener recognizes in the inner workings of the song their blood, their struggle, their suffering. This is what we humble humans can offer, which artificial intelligence can only imitate, the transcendent journey of the artist who is always grappling with his own flaws. This is where it resides the human genius”.
Because ‘it’s a blood and guts affair’ that ‘requires my humanity’. Even an ironic passage: “There is a verse that speaks to me – ‘I have hellfire in my eyes’ – says the song ‘in the style of Nick Cave’, and that’s quite true. I have hellfire in my eyes – and it’s ChatGPT”. And again: “I don’t feel the same enthusiasm for this technology. I understand Chat Gpt is in its infancy, but perhaps this is the emerging horror of Artificial Intelligence: that it will forever be in its infancy, as it will always have further and further to go”.
Nick Cave is working on the next album with the band Bad Seeds.
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