Holly Herndon has weighed into the row between Grimes and Zola Jesus over artificial intelligence.
Earlier this week, Jesus branded the ‘Art Angels‘ singer, real name Claire Boucher, the “voice of silicon fascist privilege” after she stoked controversy when she claimed that live music will soon be “obsolete” during an appearance on the podcast of theoretical physicist Sean M. Carroll.
It came after Grimes said: “Once there’s actually AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), they’re gonna be so much better at making art than us… once AI can totally master science and art, which could happen in the next 10 years, probably more like 20 or 30 years.”
Herndon, who’s new album ‘PROTO’ was created in part using AI, has now given her thoughts on the debate.
⛲️ 🦾🎶🤝⛲️ pic.twitter.com/FPGxN1ndPO
— Holly Herndon (@hollyherndon) November 26, 2019
“AI most likely won’t replace musicians outright,” Herndon wrote. “Sentient AI is a fantasy that I think sometimes distracts (often intentionally) from the political economic things that are happening around the tech at the moment.”
She went on to discuss the use of automated music systems to make stock music, how drum machines were inspired by the work of great drummers, the role of automated tools in the creation of music, the ethics of using an artificial “disembodied representation of an artist.”
“I’m not worried about robot overlords,” Herndon added. “I’m worried about democratically unaccountable transnational companies training us all to understand culture like a robot or narrow AI.”
She closed by addressing both Grimes and Zola Jesus directly while discussing the concept of interdependent music, writing: “If AI is the next step in human coordination, what can we coordinate together? I don’t think that idea is incompatible with an AI avatar (@Grimes) representation of an artist at all. That can be really interesting! I also don’t think it is incompatible with strong scenes that bring music meaning (@ZolaJesus). I hope that music will continue to define the lives of people who congregate around it and fall in love with it, just as it has defined all of our lives enough to be concerned about this issue.”
— ZJ (@ZOLAJESUS) November 26, 2019
Zola Jesus then reposted Herndon’s post with the caption: “I love you @hollyherndon.”
Grimes is yet to respond to the post. Last week, she released two versions of her new song ‘So Heavy I Fell Through The Earth’.