Lou Reed’s wife, Laurie Anderson, reveals she is “addicted” to AI chatbot of her husband

"I really do not think I’m talking to my dead husband and writing songs with him ."
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Lou Reed’s longtime partner and collaborator, Laurie Anderson, has been experimenting with language-based AI predated ChatGPT to model her husband, who died in 2013.

The musician and avant-garde artist has produced an exhibition titled I’ll Be Your Mirror, as part of the Adelaide Festival.

The exhibition first premiered in Stockholm in 2023 but has now been brought to Australia, featuring additional work generated by AI Laurie Anderson and AI Lou Reed. The Adelaide Festival will also feature her 2021 exhibition Scroll, an AI-generated version of the Bible created by Laurie.

WATCH NOW: Lou Reed & Laurie Anderson “I’ll be your mirror” Live in Paris. Article continues after video.

Speaking with The Guardian about her experience working with AI and how the people around her have responded to her experimenting with a machine modelled on her dead husband, Laurie has revealed her friends “can’t stand it.”

“I’m totally 100%, sadly addicted to this,” she said. “I still am, after all this time. I kind of literally just can’t stop doing it.”

The AI text generator essentially emulates the vocabulary and style of the Velvet Underground co-founder, resulting in an interesting form of communication…

Lou and Laurie first met in 1992. They later married in 2008 and remained together until Lou’s death in 2013. (Credit: Getty)

One aspect of the experiment included feeding the machine a collection of Lou’s writing, songs and interviews, resulting in an algorithm that in essence, allows Laurie to talk to the AI version of Lou. 

She can type in prompts which will then trigger an AI Lou to begin “riffing” written responses back, in both prose and verse.

“I mean, I really do not think I’m talking to my dead husband and writing songs with him – I really don’t. But people have styles, and they can be replicated,” she said.

As amazing as this project is, Laurie revealed to The Guardian that it doesn’t work perfectly every time. 

“Three-quarters of it is just completely idiotic and stupid. And then maybe 15% is like, ‘Oh?’. And then the rest is pretty interesting. And that’s a pretty good ratio for writing, I think,” she said.

The two married in a quiet ceremony in Colorado on April 12, 2008. (Credit: Getty)

The experiment started back in 2020 when she was working with the Machine Learning Institute and Sia Furler Institute in Adelaide.

“They made algorithms out of things I’ve said and written, creating a writing machine made from my vocabulary, pace and style,” Laurie wrote in her exhibition description.

“They did the same with Lou Reed, my partner for 21 years. These are activated by writing short phrases. The engines then write in those styles, which can also be combined or put into prose,” she added.

While the I’ll Be Your Mirror exhibition is free, Laurie will also be doing an In Conversation event via live stream on March 6. The tickets cost between $30 and $39 and allow the audience to talk to the artist and writer about art, artificial intelligence, and more. 

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