Dare to Be Different in a Time of AI with Magnus Lindkvist

Dare to Be Different in a Time of AI

By Guest Contributor Magnus Lindkvist
Author of The Dare to Be Different Book, Magnus Lindkvist, shares why embracing suffering is so important in the age of AI.

In early 2023, fans sent Nick Cave, an Australian singer-songwriter, lyrics composed by AI “in the style of Nick Cave.” Known for elegiac melodies and deep lyrics about love, loss, and the pain of living, Cave would have none of it.

“This song sucks,” he said, responding to what one fan sent in (the chorus: “I am the sinner, I am the saint, I am the darkness, I am the light, I am the hunter, I am the prey, I am the devil, I am the saviour.”) “Songs arise out of suffering,” he continued. “They are predicated upon the complex, internal human struggle of creation … data doesn’t suffer. ChatGPT has no inner being; it has been nowhere, it has endured nothing, it has not had the audacity to reach beyond its limitations, and hence it doesn’t have the capacity for a shared transcendent experience, as it has no limitations from which to transcend … writing a good song is not mimicry or replication or pastiche, it is the opposite. It is an act of self-murder that destroys all one has strived to produce in the past.”

Part of being human is to suffer. To be different is to suffer even more. AI offers to bypass the suffering and produce ideas at speed. We should not heed its call. While technology can simplify and speed things up, we also lose great benefits. In the grinding cogs of the sameness machine, we lose what sets us apart as individuals: the hurt, the pain and the struggle that enable us to make something different. To make a difference.

AI is a replication machine; it copies what is already there.

You and I, on the other hand, are unique. We have a chance to see things in ways that nobody has before. We can create something nobody else has thought or even dreamt about.

You are a source. Your stories, your scars, your triumphs and your tragedies all contribute to making you who you are. They contribute to what you see in the world and how you see it. They influence what you do and make. You can share your source with the rest of us — poetry, music, business, ideas, writing or just being you. You are the custodian of something unique.

As the music producer Rick Rubin puts it: “We perceive, filter and collect data, then curate an experience for ourselves and others based on this information set. Whether we do this consciously or unconsciously, by being alive, we are active participants in the ongoing process of creation.”


Magnus Lindkvist is an internationally renowned futurist and consultant. He is the author of The Future BookWhen the Future Begins and Minifesto (both published by LID). He is based in Sweden.


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