Nick Cave gives ChatGPT both barrels: ‘This song is bullshit’


It’s a brave person who gets the ChatGPT AI to write a song in the style of Nick Cave, then sends it to Nick Cave to see what he thinks. In the latest instalment of his Red Hand Files, Cave gives the technology both barrels and then some.

“The apocalypse is well on its way. This song sucks. What ChatGPT is, in this instance, is replication as travesty,” wrote Cave. “Songs arise out of suffering, by which I mean they are predicated upon the complex, internal human struggle of creation and, well, as far as I know, algorithms don’t feel. Data doesn’t suffer. ChatGPT has no inner being, it has been nowhere, it has endured nothing, it has not had the audacity to reach beyond its limitations, and hence it doesn’t have the capacity for a shared transcendent experience, as it has no limitations from which to transcend.”

There’s plenty more and we’d encourage you to read the full piece to see everything in context.

“Thanks for the song,” wrote Cave to the fan who sent it in, “but with all the love and respect in the world, this song is bullshit, a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human, and, well, I don’t much like it.”

Cave is a marvellous writer and he’s right: ‘write a song in the style of X’ is the least interesting use for a creative AI, and the fury felt by songwriters who are the X in that equation is understandable. Our view remains that creative AI is most interesting and positive as a tool in the hands of those human musicians, who (as they did with synths and drum machines in the past) will bend it and shape it into something that serves their art, rather than mimics it.

Written by: Stuart Dredge