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A.I. bot ChatGPT tried to write a Nick Cave song. The singer says it ‘sucks’ and is a sign the ‘apocalypse is well on its way’

January 17, 2023, 12:08 PM UTC
Nick Cave is seen during the Milan Fashion Week
Nick Cave described ChatGPT's attempt at his lyrics as "a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human.”
Mairo Cinquetti—SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

By now we’re well aware of what ChatGPT is capable of — from writing convincing college essays to challenging the world’s most popular search engines. But according to Nick Cave, it lacks something seriously vital. 

The world-renowned musician recently revealed in his Red Hand Files Newsletter that a fan had sent him a set of lyrics written in his style by the A.I. tool. 

His response was scathing: “The apocalypse is well on its way.” 

Cave’s lyrics typically touch on very human emotions spanning the feelings of love, grief, suffering, and religion — you name it — none of which ChatGPT has ever felt. Nonetheless, it gave a very convincing result. 

“I am the sinner, I am the saint / I am the darkness, I am the light / I am the hunter, I am the prey /I am the devil, I am the savior,” the bot wrote. 

Despite the chatbot’s attempts, the Bad Seeds frontman was not convinced, pointing out that the most important aspect of writing songs was the humanity behind them. 

“Grotesque mockery”

“What ChatGPT is, in this instance, is replication as travesty,” Cave noted. “It could perhaps in time create a song that is, on the surface, indistinguishable from an original, but it will always be a replication, a kind of burlesque…. 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.”

Summarizing his strong opinion, Cave wrote: “With all the love and respect in the world, this song is bullshit, a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human.”

There was one lyric written by the bot, however, that Cave said he could relate to. “‘I’ve got the fire of hell in my eyes’ — says the song ‘in the style of Nick Cave’, and that’s kind of true… I have got the fire of hell in my eyes — and it’s ChatGPT.”

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