A couple months ago I, a music artist, made use of AI to write lyrics to a new song. They were the worst lyrics I had ever seen. That same week mega Australian superstar Nick Cave published his views on why AI is shit for songwriting. We were on the same page. 

Now, it’s the turn of the vlogger. YouTuber Casey Neistat asked GPT-4, which is available via OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus, to write a three to four minute video that includes dialogue and a shot list for downtown Manhattan in the daytime. He also asked the chatbot to include a short cameo with his wife, Candice Pool, that takes place near her office.

Entitled “A Day in Downtown Manhattan”, Neistat reads from a printed out script written by GPT-4 throughout the vlog, which the chatbot has titled “A Day in Downtown Manhattan.”

Unlike his videos that usually start anecdotally or while Neistat is in the middle of a situation, GPT-4 has him start off with a generic, “Welcome back to the vlog, today we’re exploring Downtown Manhattan,” opener. 

Neistat’s script sounds like a typical tour of downtown Manhattan, and takes him to places like One World Trade, the Oculus, and Battery Park, with a view of the Statue of Liberty.

“Let’s take a quick look inside Brookfield Place, one of my favourite spots in downtown Manhattan,” Neistat reads, while shaking his head in disappointed disagreement.

Later in the vlog, Neistat meets up with his wife and they laugh out loud while reading from the AI script pre prepared for them. The outcome, without their laughter, would have produced a stale and generic piece of content. As Neistat himself put it at the end of the vlog, it was “the worst video I’ve ever made” and the video “sucked because it had no humanity, it had no depth to it, no soul to it.” This view echoes that of myself and Nick Cave’s approach to AI songwriting. 

Nevertheless, Neistat did semi defend GPT-4’s saying he “could’ve gone deeper with the prompts” and the chatbot “could’ve faked having a soul a little bit more,” but overall it “felt robotic” and “like a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy of something that maybe was good.”

To conclude, Neistat said he doesn’t think AI, in its form today, poses much of a threat to creatives who make “truly original” content. The people who could be at risk, he said, are newer creators who still haven’t found their own voice, and who make similar content to other creators.

Categorized in: