AI or human lyrics: Could you tell which is which?

Could you correctly identify AI-generated song lyrics? It seems that many of us can not tell the difference between a human or robot songwriter.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

We pride ourselves on identifying when we are talking to a chatbot instead of a human operator, but it seems that when it comes to song lyrics, many of us are not so certain which is which.

Although artificial intelligence (AI) seems to have become the new darling of the tech world, could it outperform humans in more creative fields, like music?

Secondary event ticket marketplace TickPick recently collected over 1,000 rock, hip-hop/rap, country, and pop songs to train "AI artists."

It surveyed 1,003 people using Amazon's Machanical Turk to rank creativity, emotionality, and favorability of the lyrics. It also wanted to discover how easy or difficult it was to tell the difference between famous songwriters and AI lyrics.

It scraped thousands of song lyrics from genius.com to form a lyrical corpus. From here, it grouped lyrics by genre and inputted them into each "AI artist."

After five hours of training the engine, AI was able to create songs that were essentially indistinguishable from human ingenuity, at least as far as respondents were able to tell.

Almost two in five (39.6%) of people thought that AI-generated lyrics were more emotional than lyrics created by a human. Many respondents found AI-generated lyrics to be more emotional than those penned by legends like Johnny Cash.

Different genres of songs scored differently. Rap lyrics were the most difficult for AI to replicate due to many rap songs having unusual syntax. This gave machine learning a hard time interpreting this style of songs.

It generated confusing lyrics such as "Hey, my accents a mask, your man won't show it, my office is your mansion, excellence I'm really not." AI also produced expletive-laden samples.

When it came to country music, the lyrics seemed to be easiest to replicate by AI. The AI produced depressing and sad lyrics with examples such as "I'd trade all of my tomorrows for a single yesterday," and "Well, if you're looking for a one-night stand, you've come to the right place, I'm human after all, a human for hours".

AI or human lyrics – could you tell which is which zdnet

Almost one in four people (22.2%) thought that AI lyrics were attributed to Garth Brooks. Only 12.3% of people could tell the country lyrics were AI-generated.

Pop music was hard for AI to replicate, although over one in four thought that AI-generated lyrics were written by Billie Eilish. Only 13.6% thought that the AI lyrics were attributed to Lady Gaga.

However, when it comes to people's favorite lyrics, human-generated lyrics still reigned supreme.

Artificial intelligence is changing the way we interact across businesses, and this study shows that AI certainly has the potential to make an impact in the music industry -- especially in country music.

However, AI probably needs to stay away from rap and pop genres for a little while yet.

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