Nick Cave reacted furiously to an attempt to imitate his songs with AI, calling it “a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human”.
The Australian musician and songwriter responded at length to the unnamed song, created by ChatGPT and uploaded by a fan.
Cave has used his website, The Red Hand Files, to respond directly to fan letters since its launch in 2018. Issue 218 is in response to correspondence from a man named only Mark from Christchurch, New Zealand.
Under the AI creation posted on his website, Cave, 65, said he had been sent “dozens” of “Nick Cave-style” songs created by ChatGPT since the technology launched l ‘last year.
Decidedly unimpressed, he wrote: “Judging by that ‘Nick Cave style’ song, that doesn’t sound good, Mark. The apocalypse is on its way. This song sucks.”
ChatGPT is able to provide long, thoughtful, and in-depth answers to questions and prompts, ranging from factual inquiries such as “Who was the President of the United States in 1955” to more open-ended questions such as “What is the meaning of life ?”
Mark’s offering was several lines, with the refrain: “I am the sinner, I am the saint. I am darkness, I am light. I am the hunter, I am the prey. I am the devil, I am the saviour.
Cave, best known for his haunting ballads about life, love, betrayal and death, said such attempts at reproduction are a “parody”.
The artist, whose 15-year-old son Arthur died after falling off a cliff in 2015, added: “The songs are born out of suffering, which means they are grounded in the complex human struggle and internal creation and, well, as far as I know, the algorithms do not feel. The data does not suffer. ChatGPT has no inner being, he hasn’t been anywhere, he hasn’t endured anything, he hasn’t had the audacity to go beyond his limits, and therefore he has no not the capacity for shared transcendent experience, for there is no limit from which to transcend. »
Cave continued, “It may seem like I’m taking this a little too personally, but I’m a songwriter who is engaged, right now, in the songwriting process. It’s a matter of blood and guts, here at my office, which requires something from me to initiate the new and fresh idea.
While he described the computer-generated attempt as “a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human”, Cave chose a line: “I have hellfire in my eyes”.
“It’s kind of true,” he admits. “I have hellfire in my eyes – and it’s ChatGPT,” he finishes before signing, “Love, Nick.”