Nick Cave shares more thoughts on ChatGPT and AI in songwriting

Nick Cave live
© Louise Morris

The musician previously penned an open letter on the topic on The Red Hand Files.

In a new interview, Nick Cave has shared further thoughts on AI and ChatGPT in relation to songwriting. When asked about his recent response to a fan who had sent Cave algorithmically-generated lyrics in the style of his work, the Ghosteen artist replied, “AI may very well save the world, but it can’t save our souls. That’s what true art is for. That’s the difference.”

“In my humble opinion ChatGPT should just fuck off and leave songwriting alone,” Cave concluded. He also clarified that his “objection is not with AI in general” but explained that recreating art via algorithm is reductive. “For better or for worse, we are inextricably immersed in AI,” he said. “It is more a kind of sad, disappointed feeling that there are smart people out there that actually think the artistic act is so mundane that it can be replicated by a machine. I find that insulting”.

“There’s no earthly reason why we need to invent a technology that can mimic this most beautiful and mysterious creative act. Particularly writing a song”, Cave continued in his conversation on the topic with The New Yorker. “Maybe AI can make a song that’s indistinguishable from what I can do. Maybe even a better song. But, to me, that doesn’t matter—that’s not what art is.”

Further defining art and it’s significance, the musician added: “Art has to do with our limitations, our frailties, and our faults as human beings. It’s the distance we can travel away from our own frailties. That’s what is so awesome about art: that we deeply flawed creatures can sometimes do extraordinary things. AI just doesn’t have any of that stuff going on. Ultimately, it has no limitations, so therefore can’t inhabit the true transcendent artistic experience. It has nothing to transcend! It feels like such a mockery of what it is to be human.”

In his open letter on The Red Hand Files, Cave responded to lyrics generated by AI. “With all the love and respect in the world, this song is bullshit, a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human”, he wrote. You can read the full letter here.

Earlier this year, Cave shared that he plans to work on a new album this year with The Bad Seeds and speaking to The New Yorker he said “we’re making a Bad Seeds record soon.” He is also set to head out on a solo tour of North America with Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood joining him. Speaking about this in the interview, Cave hinted that Greenwood may also contribute to the forthcoming new album.

Read: Cinematographer Robbie Ryan on capturing Nick Cave alone at Alexandra Palace.