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Arts Vanity: Could Artificial Intelligence Replace Our Beloved Arts Writers?

Chibuike K. Uwakwe '23, Editor at Large
Chibuike K. Uwakwe '23, Editor at Large By Courtesy of Sofia Andrade
By Chibuike K. Uwakwe, Crimson Staff Writer

Since its release on Nov. 30, ChatGPT has had many talking about the future of artificial intelligence and whether it has the potential to make entire job markets — in software development, copywriting, customer service, and more — go extinct. ChatGPT is a language model created by OpenAI, an AI research and deployment company, that answers questions and executes written tasks from users in a conversational way. ChatGPT can write essays, computer programs, research proposals, legal contracts, cover letters, and more, but can it write Arts reviews at the same level of our beloved Arts writers at The Crimson? I asked ChatGPT to write reviews of some of the most popular art (Film, Music, TV, Books, and Theatre) The Crimson Arts has reviewed in the past. Here’s what it responded:

User: “Write a short review of Pixar’s ‘Soul.’”

ChatGPT: “‘Soul’ is a beautifully crafted and emotionally powerful film from Pixar that explores the meaning of life. The animation is stunning, and the film touches on deep themes about finding and pursuing passions, relationships, and self-discovery. The voice acting is superb, and the score is excellent. Overall, it's a must-see for fans of Pixar and anyone looking for a heartwarming and meaningful cinematic experience.”

Read our original review of “Soul” here.

User: “Write a short review of the album ‘Positions’ by Ariana Grande.”

ChatGPT: “Ariana Grande's album ‘Positions’ is a diverse showcase of her vocal range and artistic growth, featuring a range of genres from pop and R&B to hip hop and Latin music. The lyrics are introspective and personal, tackling themes of love, heartbreak, and self-discovery with honesty and vulnerability. The production is top-notch, with a mix of live instruments and electronic beats giving each track a unique sound and vibe. It's a must-listen for fans of pop and R&B music.”

Read our original review of “Positions” here.

User: “Write a short review of the TV Series ‘Tiger King.’”

ChatGPT: “‘Tiger King’ is a wild and bizarre true crime documentary series that follows the life of eccentric big cat enthusiast Joe Exotic and his tumultuous relationship with animal rights activist Carole Baskin. The series is filled with outrageous and unbelievable moments, including polygamous marriages, drug use, and even allegations of murder. It's a must-watch for fans of true crime documentaries and anyone looking for a wild and unpredictable viewing experience, just be prepared for some truly shocking and unsettling moments.”

Read our original review of “Tiger King” here.

User: “Write a short review of ‘A Promised Land’ by Barack Obama.”

ChatGPT: “‘A Promised Land’ is the highly anticipated memoir from former President Barack Obama and is a deeply personal and candid reflection on his life and political career, covering everything from his childhood and early career to his time in the White House. Obama writes with honesty and vulnerability, conveying the immense weight and responsibility that comes with being the leader of the free world, and offers insight into one of the most significant presidencies in recent history. It's a must-read for anyone interested in politics, history, or simply wanting to get to know Barack Obama on a deeper level.”

Read our original review of “A Promised Land” here.

User: “Write a short review of the musical ‘Hamilton.’”

ChatGPT: “‘Hamilton’ is a groundbreaking musical that tells the story of Alexander Hamilton through a mix of hip hop, R&B, and traditional showtunes. The score is infectious and catchy, and the cast is top-notch, with brilliant performances by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daveed Diggs, and Renée Elise Goldsberry. The staging and set design are also impressive, with clever and creative use of projections and multimedia elements. It's a must-see for fans of musical theater and anyone looking for a fresh and innovative take on historical events.”

Read our five year retrospective of “Hamilton” here.

At first glance, the responses from ChatGPT are stunning. The model has an amazing breadth of knowledge about different art forms, and it can convincingly describe them in prose. However, if one were to compare these responses to those of our Crimson Arts writers (linked above), the limitations of using ChatGPT to review art would become glaringly obvious.

If I didn’t know any better, I would think that every piece of art ever is a “must-see, must-listen, must-watch, or must-read.” In fact, ChatGPT’s reviews entirely lack any sort of negative criticism. While I don’t doubt the excellence of the selected works of art, I’m always a bit skeptical of glowing reviews with zero critiques. ChatGPT’s reviews are also surface level, dare I say soulless, in comparison to our Arts writers’. That is, Arts Staff Writers have personal experiences that allow them to contextualize art and analyze it more critically than an artificial intelligence language model, which is simply fed information from external sources — not to mention the fact that ChatGPT is only trained on data through 2021.

At this point, I believe ChatGPT could be a fantastic tool for wireframing a rough draft of articles for The Crimson Arts, but it is far from producing a compelling and polished review by our standards. And our Arts Writers? I think they’ll be just fine for the foreseeable future.

—Outgoing Editor-at-Large and former Culture Executive Chibuike K. Uwakwe ’23 wishes ChatGPT was available to help edit Arts pieces before the end of his tenure at The Crimson

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