Nick Cave Thinks ChatGPT Is a “Boundless Machine of Artistic Demoralization”

Famous musician Nick Cave has recently shared his opinion on ChatGPT in his own witty and piercing way. He explained his point of view on the process of creation and how this LLM influences how musicians write their songs.

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Illustration: L. T.

In his widely known newsletter called “The Red Hand Flies”, the ever-popular Australian singer-songwriter Nick Cave addressed the issue of using ChatGPT for creation purposes. More precisely, in the music industry with songwriting. 

What’s wrong with making things faster and easier?   

Namely, one of his readers pointed out how seemingly everyone in the industry is now enthusiastic about ChatGPT, especially when it comes to solving writer’s block. He explained how people use this LLM to write lyrics because they claim to be it’s easier and faster. 

Although he can’t argue with that, he still has a dilemma whether it’s a good or bad thing, and how it changes his attachment to a song if it’s AI-written. 

When asked what’s wrong with making things faster and easier, Nick replied: 

“In the story of the creation, God makes the world, and everything in it, in six days. On the seventh day he rests. The day of rest is significant because it suggests that the creation required a certain effort on God’s part, that some form of artistic struggle had taken place. This struggle is the validating impulse that gives God’s world its intrinsic meaning. The world becomes more than just an object full of other objects, rather it is imbued with the vital spirit, the pneuma, of its creator. ChatGPT rejects any notions of creative struggle, that our endeavors animate and nurture our lives giving them depth and meaning. It rejects that there is a collective, essential and unconscious human spirit underpinning our existence, connecting us all through our mutual striving,” he explained. 

The way he sees it, ChatGPT is merely “fast-tracking the commodification of the human spirit by mechanizing the imagination.” 

“ChatGPT takes away the act of creation”   

Although users worldwide reap the benefits of using ChatGPT in their daily tasks, we are yet to witness how everyday use of this LLM will affect our workflow, creativity and motivation. For sure, there are both pros and cons, and the responsibility is always on the person using it – the way they’re using it – but also, for which purpose. 


One question that you may ask yourself is: Would I feel good telling people that I created this with the help of ChatGPT?

If the answer is yes, you’re good to go. 

If, however, you wish to hide the fact that you used AI to assist you or even do something instead of you, then you may want to reconsider your approach. 

Moreover, for the things you wish to build an expertise in, it is necessary to have the basic knowledge in your head and to know how to do the thing yourself. If you wish to enhance it or upgrade it, using ChatGPT or any other model could really bring your work to another level. 

This is only to say that the process of creation is crucial for us humans because we learn so much about ourselves on the way. 

In the words of Nick Cave, ChatGPT “renders our participation in the act of creation as valueless and unnecessary.” 

“ChatGPT’s intent is to eliminate the process of creation and its attendant challenges, viewing it as nothing more than a time-wasting inconvenience that stands in the way of the commodity itself. Why strive?, it contends. Why bother with the artistic process and its accompanying trials? Why shouldn’t we make it ‘faster and easier?’ When the God of the Bible looked upon what He had created, He did so with a sense of accomplishment and saw that ‘it was good‘. ‘It was good ‘because it required something of His own self, and His struggle imbued creation with a moral imperative, in short love. Even though the creative act requires considerable effort, in the end you will be contributing to the vast network of love that supports human existence,” Cave said and added that “there are all sorts of temptations in this world that will eat away at your creative spirit, but none more fiendish than that boundless machine of artistic demoralisation, ChatGPT.” 

According to this renowned musician, the meaning of life lies in the creation itself, with our striving becoming the very essence of that meaning. 

“This impulse – the creative dance – that is now being so cynically undermined, must be defended at all costs, and just as we would fight any existential evil, we should fight it tooth and nail, for we are fighting for the very soul of the world,” he concluded. 

Needless to say, Cave isn’t a huge fan of ChatGPT. 

And although it should be used responsibly and with a sense of cautiousness, even those who oppose it the most shouldn’t solemnly focus on the negative aspects of it. After all, the rise of artificial intelligence is one of the biggest tech disruptions in the newest history that should enable us to live a better life, not a more superficial one. 

A journalist by day and a podcaster by night. She's not writing to impress but to be understood.