Holly Herndon joins Grimes’ and Zola Jesus’ debate about AI and the future of music

Holly Herndon © KESH
Holly Herndon © KESH

Holly Herndon’s latest album PROTO was created in part using AI (Artificial Intelligence).

Holly Herndon has weighed in on the ongoing debate between Grimes and Zola Jesus about AI and the future of music.

Grimes has spoken about AI and its relationship with contemporary society in a series of recent interviews, including our Issue 99 cover story, in which she said “I ultimately probably believe in an AI dictatorship. I mean, I don’t think humanity is going to survive anyway. We’re fucked. I think AI is the natural evolution.”

More recently, Grimes spoke about post-human art on science podcast Mindscape, stating “I feel like we’re in the end of art, human art.” She told Sean Carroll, the interviewer, “Once there’s actually AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), they’re gonna be so much better at making art than us.”

This statement sparked a debate with Zola Jesus, who said that “approaching the future of music and art with so much cynicism can only come from someone who really has nothing to lose,” in a recent tweet, and that Grimes was “cynical about art and people’s connection to it.” The pair have been exchanging tweets on the topic since.

Last night Herndon shared a statement with her thoughts on the topic via Twitter, explaining how she finds the future of AI exciting but that it may be a “limited representation of what music is.” PROTO, Holly Herndon’s most recent album, was created in collaboration with her AI ‘baby’ called Spawn, who also featured on her collaborative track with Jlin last year, entitled Godmother (feat. Spawn). In the statement Herndon describes Spawn as “a version of my voice, and the voices of others, that can be perceived to make decisions that augment and confound me.” Herndon goes on to discuss the importance of political context and the changing culture of music production.

Read Herndon’s statement in full below.