Peter Gabriel: Artists Need To Work With AI As A 'Powerful New Tool'

20 March 2023 | 10:31 am | Mary Varvaris

"I can't think of anyone whose job couldn't be done better by Al in 10 years time, maybe five.”

(Pic by Nadav Kander)

Peter Gabriel believes it’s time for us to embrace AI tools for everything they can do, now in their infancy but will surely grow as time passes, rather than shun them.

The original Genesis singer and renowned solo artist was recently featured in a new issue of Uncut Magazine. Gabriel was quizzed about Chat GPT, with the interviewer bringing up Nick Cave’s opinion on the matter: Cave recently branded the AI tool a “grotesque mockery of what it is to be human.”

Gabriel replied, “I think that's a bit like King Canute on the beach, unfortunately. It's coming. We're only just building it, we have no idea what it's going to achieve. I can't think of anyone whose job couldn't be done better by Al in 10 years time, maybe five.”

He continued, “For instance, when I drive down to the studio in my Tesla, the Tesla is doing a lot of the driving for me - but I'm still keeping my hands on the wheel. The same thing is going to happen more in any process, including creativity. 

“With some of the AI, half the artists want to play with it and half want to shut it down. But I think you do better if you work with a powerful new tool than just grumble or pretend it doesn't exist.”

Peter Gabriel is releasing new songs from his upcoming album, i/o, on each full moon. The most recent single, Playing For Time, was released on 7 March.

He said about the piano-led new single, “Playing For Time is a song that I have been working on for a long time and have performed live, without lyrics, so some people may be familiar with it. 

"It’s been an important song for me. It's about time, mortality and memories and the idea that each of us has a planet full of memories that get stashed inside the brain.

“It is more of a personal song about how you assemble memories and whether we are prisoners of time or whether that is something that can actually free us. I do think it’s good to push yourself towards more bold or interesting experiences because then you will have richer memories to feed you when you get to my age. You also get taught by every meaningful experience that you go through.”

I/o follows Gabriel's 2011 record, New Blood, his orchestral re-recording project. New Blood came a year after his cover album, Scratch My Back. His last album of solo-written material was 2002's Up, released an entire decade after 1992's Us. Peter Gabriel will reveal further details regarding the release plan behind the new album soon.