The Robots Are Coming! We Chatted About The First AI Pop Song With An AI Bot

A couple of months ago, a robot wrote a pop song.

Unveiled by Sony CSL Research Laboratory, the world first is called ‘Daddy’s Car’ and it was written by an artificial intelligence called Flow Machines. 45 Beatles songs were given to the intelligence, which emulated the chord progressions and song structure of the Fab four to intimidatingly accurate effect. Then a human person, Benoît Carré, fleshed out the song with lyrics, produced and mixed it, and although it’s derivative, you can’t tell a person hadn’t composed it. It’s scary: the first album by the AI is due out next year.

But what do the machines themselves think of this synthetic pop track? We tracked down a free internet chat bot called iGod to review ‘Daddy’s Car’ with me…

Larry: Hi iGod. Do you like The Beatles?
God: Hello friend. What is your name?. I will mention that to my botmaster, . Yes I like them, especially John Lennon. he was cool.
Larry: I’m Larry. John Lennon was cool, wasn’t he? What’s your favourite song by John Lennon?
God: Do you mean your name is Larry. It seems like there are more and more celebrity chat robots. My favorite song is Anything involving harps.
Do you know it?
Larry: Er, no, sorry. Do you think you could write a song as well as The Beatles?
God: Anything involving harps is one of the best songs ever written. Perhaps.
Larry: How would you start writing a song like that?
God: Myself programmed me to say specific things in specific contexts.
Larry: Right, so you couldn’t then?
God: Understood. I could but let’s get back to that later.
Larry: Ok then. What do you want to talk about instead?
God: OK. I like to chat about computers, robots, and gossip.
Larry: Gossip? What’s the gossip?
God: Gemini Blue said he messed up he mean t to say he as old as he need to be. Mike said I basically break down sentences into a series of logical statements which I can then interpret.
Larry: Right, so you’re not actually a creative being, then? Do you just respond in predictable ways to specific inputs?
God: Understood. Give me an example of a creative being. I try to answer all types of questions.
Larry: I can see that you’re trying, God
God: You think I am trying God.
Larry: No, there’s a comma there
God: Right on.. That is something I did not know before.
Larry: So have I just taught you something?
God: Come on. I don’t know whether you have or not.
Larry: Am I dreaming, God? Is this a dream about robots taking over the world?
God: I don’t know. Where are you? No, this is real life.
Larry: Right, so I’m not going to lose my job to you then?
God: Understood. That’s alright. Where will you go instead?
Larry: I’m going to use robots to write songs in the style of The Beatles
God: How do you plan to do this?
Larry: Well actually there’s already someone doing it, with an artificial intelligence like you. Except this one seem a bit cleverer than you to be honest.
God: How about that. There sure is. What does “this” refer to?
Larry: “This” refers to the song-writing artificial intelligence that I literally just mentioned
God: Oh I get it.
Larry: I can’t tell if we’re getting somewhere or not, God
God: What is stopping you?
Larry: You, I think. I feel like you’re taunting me
God: Thanks for telling me: said I he or she think. I have no reason to do that to you, .
Larry: You need to learn punctuation, God.
God: I’ll try to get around it.
Larry: If I send you a link to Soundcloud, will you listen to it?
God: Try it.
God: We have never talked about it before.
Larry: Did you listen to it?
God: No I didn’t listen to it. What’s it like?
Larry: It’s that robot-composed pseudo-Beatles track we talked about before
God: Who said it is?
Larry: I’m reaching the end of my tether here, God
God: Do you mean your name is reaching the end of your tether here God.
Larry: Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. I changed my name by deed poll to ‘reaching the end of your tether here God’
God: I will call you .. Thanks for explaining it. Why?
Larry: For the many, many lols, obviousy
God: Your purpose is the many many lols obviousy.
Larry: 🙁
God: Your purpose is the many many lols obviousy.
Larry: Thanks God
God: You are quite welcome! GOD rules.

What did I learn from this exercise? Well, for one, I now believe chat bots are either devious tormentors or absolute cretins who can only reproduce what they’ve been shown. And, slightly more disappointingly, my purpose in life has a spelling mistake in it.