Holly Herndon on Spawn and humanising AI

The electronic composer’s latest album Proto sees her team up with her AI ‘child’, Spawn. Speaking at Sónar+D with Mat Dryhurst, Herndon explains the importance of getting your hands dirty on the topic of AI

“Most people have access to a voice. Most people know what it feels like to vocalise,” Holly Herndon points out. It’s true: the voice is arguably the most democratic instrument available to people. Yet despite its accessibility, as a subject matter the voice invites some extremely complicated, nuanced debates – particularly in light of Herndon’s latest album, Proto.

Proto is the outcome of an ambitious experimental music project by Herndon, who, together with partner Mat Dryhurst and a league of collaborators, interrogates the role, possibilities and concerns brewing around AI. This is because Proto was created with the involvement of an AI – an ‘inhuman child’ the pair named Spawn.