Nick Cave Says the Song an AI Wrote for Him Is 'Bullshit'

"The apocalypse is well on its way. This song sucks," the Australian singer-songwriter wrote in his newsletter.

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Nick Cave said the song “sucks” and that “ChatGPT is, in this instance, is replication as travesty.”
Nick Cave said the song “sucks” and that “ChatGPT is, in this instance, is replication as travesty.”
Image: Mark Metcalfe (Getty Images)

There’s a lot of strong opinions to be had about ChatGPT, the AI chatbot that has taken the world by storm, but the most recent of which has come from Australian singer-songwriter Nick Cave. After a fan used the chatbot to write a song for Cave, the singer expressed his dismay.

Cave articulated his discontent in his newsletter after a fan named Mark wrote a Nick Cave-esque song using Open AI’s ChatGPT. The song is pretty dark, with lyrics like “In the depths of the night, I hear a call. A voice that echoes, through the hall,” with a chorus that reads “I am the sinner, I am the saint, I am the darkness, I am the light.” It’s the type of descriptive, existential lyricism that makes a Nick Cave song a Nick Cave song—the problem is that Nick Cave hates it. 

“This song sucks. What ChatGPT is, in this instance, is replication as travesty,” Cave wrote in a newsletter on his website. “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.”

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Cave continues to argue that since AI cannot replicate the suffering a human may endure, which could be the foundation of thoughtful music, all ChatGPT can do it imitate. More specifically, Cave says that ChatGPT will always fall short of creating a thoughtful piece of art since the chatbot cannot have a human experience, no matter how mundane that experience may be.

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“ChatGPT may be able to write a speech or an essay or a sermon or an obituary but it cannot create a genuine song. 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,” Cave wrote.

Despite Cave’s disdain for the chatbot, OpenAI has seen a ton of success with ChatGPT so far. Since rising to fame late last year, ChatGPT has fooled scientific reviewers, planned a holiday party, and written some CNET articles. Cave is not alone though, as artists have raised concern over the way AI is able to easily lift from the styles of artists to make its own poem, song, or art.