Do ‘The Robot’
Last week, indie pop singer-songwriter Grimes made an appearance on astrophysicist Sean Carroll’s Mindscape podcast.
During the segment, the pop singer, who studied neuroscience before pursuing her music career, opined that humanity is at the “end of art, human art” — AI, in Grimes’ mind, will soon master the arts and sciences, surpassing humans in the ability to produce superior works.
Grimes’ comments touched a nerve in the indie music community. In a since-deleted tweet, critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Zola Jesus called Grimes’ comments the “voice of silicon fascist privilege,” likely alluding to Grimes relationship with Elon Musk.
Yesterday, a third voice weighed in on the debate — Holly Herndon, an award-winning composer and electronic musician whose most recent album, PROTO, was made in collaboration with an AI. Herndon, who holds a PhD from Stanford University, posted a nuanced response to the debate on Twitter.
⛲️ 🦾🎶🤝⛲️ pic.twitter.com/FPGxN1ndPO
— Holly Herndon (@hollyherndon) November 26, 2019
AI has been used more and more in recent experimental releases like Herndon’s PROTO, including JLin and Herndon’s 2018 song “Spawn,” and Iranian composer Ash Koosha’s 2018 album Return 0. Last month, Arca announced that her music would soundtrack the lobby of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, composed with the Bronze AI engine.
Last year, Grimes released a single called “We Appreciate Power” which, while not composed using artificial intelligence, alludes to genuflecting to its influence.
Read More: Grimes thinks “live music is going to be obsolete soon” [Brooklyn Vegan]