Rock Me Baby, ’til My Feet Come Off

Very early in our relationship, Debra and I got silly one night and were making fun of country music. I don’t know what prompted it but at some point I came up with a song title: “Rock Me Baby, ’til My Feet Come Off.” We couldn’t stop laughing. I know, it was one of those, “you had to be there” moments.

That was 30 years ago and I still think that somebody should come up with lyrics. It could be a hit!

I’ve been poking at Microsoft’s Bing Chat (powered by ChatGPT) and Google’s Bard recently, so I thought I’d see what they can do with that title. My prompt to each one was ‘write lyrics for a country song called “Rock Me Baby, ’til My Feet Come Off“.

Bing Chat

Here’s a country song called “Rock Me Baby, ’til My Feet Come Off”:

Verse 1: I’ve been working all day long My feet are tired and my back is sore I need someone to take me home And rock me baby, ’til my feet come off

Chorus: Rock me baby, ’til my feet come off Hold me tight and never let me go Rock me baby, ’til my feet come off And I’ll love you more than you’ll ever know

Verse 2: I’ve been waiting for this moment To hold you close and feel your love I need someone to take me home And rock me baby, ’til my feet come off

Chorus: Rock me baby, ’til my feet come off Hold me tight and never let me go Rock me baby, ’til my feet come off And I’ll love you more than you’ll ever know

Bridge: I don’t need no fancy things Just your love is all I need So come on baby, take my hand And rock me baby, ’til my feet come off

Chorus: Rock me baby, ’til my feet come off Hold me tight and never let me go Rock me baby, ’til my feet come off And I’ll love you more than you’ll ever know

Outro: Rock me baby, ’til my feet come off Rock me baby, ’til my feet come off.

Google Bard


(Verse 1) Rock me baby, ’til my feet come off
I’m so tired, I can’t stand no more
I’ve been working all day, and I’m beat
Just rock me baby, and make me feel complete

(Chorus) Rock me baby, ’til my feet come off
I’m so tired, I can’t sleep at night
I just lay there and toss and turn
And dream of being rocked in your arms

(Verse 2) Rock me baby, ’til my troubles are gone
I’m so worried, I can’t catch my breath
I’ve got a lot on my mind, and I don’t know what to do
Just rock me baby, and make all my troubles new

(Chorus) Rock me baby, ’til my feet come off
I’m so tired, I can’t sleep at night
I just lay there and toss and turn
And dream of being rocked in your arms

(Bridge) Rock me baby, ’til I can’t feel my bones
I’m so worn out, I’m just about gone
But I know that if you rock me long enough
I’ll be all better, and I’ll be able to go on

(Chorus) Rock me baby, ’til my feet come off
I’m so tired, I can’t sleep at night
I just lay there and toss and turn
And dream of being rocked in your arms

(Outro) Rock me baby, ’til the morning light
I’m so tired, I can’t see the night
Just rock me baby, and make me feel all right
I’ll be your baby, and you’ll be my knight

Well of course they’re terrible. But then, it’s country music.

I don’t think music writers have anything to worry about quite yet . . .

No, AI won’t take your job

I can’t tell how serious writers and actors are about their concerns with AI. They’re asking for some unspecified safeguards on the use of AI, or regulations, or something. In general, some language to assure them that their jobs will not be taken over by “AI.”

I think it’s ridiculous, but perhaps I’m attributing to the writers and actors things that have been overblown by the media or by the general public’s hysterical reaction to anything that somebody calls “AI.” Or algorithms in general. As far as all too many people are concerned, any “algorithm” is automatically evil and out to do us harm.

I base my ridicule on three things. First, people have been protesting new technology since the dawn of new technology. Two hundred years ago, the original Luddites destroyed equipment in textile mills in protest of automation, but they weren’t the first to protest automation. Strangely enough, the machines didn’t put them out of work. And yet protests against automation were common throughout the industrial revolution and continue to this day. Computers, for example, were going to put armies of clerical workers out of a job. But now, 70 years into the computer revolution, there are more clerical jobs than ever. There are cases in which automation has made certain jobs irrelevant, but it doesn’t happen overnight. And there continues to be need of the replaced skill for some time.

Second, the idea of artificial intelligence replacing a journalist, screenwriter, actor, programmer, or any other skilled human is laughable. As I’ve mentioned before, ChatGPT (which I think is what has gotten everybody up in arms) and similar tools are just mimics: they rearrange words in a blender and spit them out semi-randomly, following rules that dictate the form, but with no regard to substance. And that’s just regurgitating stuff that’s already known. Attempts at AI creativity–having the computer create something novel–are comically terrible. The idea of a generative AI replacing a human writer just isn’t realistic. Certainly not within my lifetime, and likely not within the lifetime of anybody born today.

Third, if somebody does develop an AI that can produce objectively better news stories, movie scripts, novels, acting performances, computer programs, etc. than a human, then more power to them! As long as I’m informed or entertained, I don’t particularly care who or what created the article or the performance. We all benefit from better expression of ideas, and those whose skills are better performed by artificial intelligence will either find something else to do that is not yet AI-dominated, or will be able to peddle their skills in a smaller and often more lucrative market. For certain, any actor who’s pushed out of the big studios by this future fanciful AI will have plenty of opportunity in smaller studios that can’t afford or don’t want to use AI technologies.

Yes, there is some justifiable concern that studios will use currently available techniques, and new techniques going forward, to unscrupulously manipulate an actor’s voice, image, or performance to say things that the actor never intended or agreed to. We’ve all seen those agreements that allow the companies to use our likeness in any way, shape, or form, in perpetuity. Those types of clauses should have been eliminated from contracts decades ago, and I support those who are trying to address that situation now. But beyond that, the fears about AI replacing skilled workers, especially skilled creatives, are unfounded.

Translation difficulties

I get it: translation is hard. Heck, I’m a reasonably bright native English speaker and often have difficulty translating my own thoughts into understandable English.

This is a message that was posted in a woodcarving group:

“Hello, I am writing a message to help my father. And I see myself. Only on the American or Canadian woodcarving site and no response. It’s just for the books. And politeness. It’s when it’s repetitive that it’s not funny. But you how many millions to be connected. I find that very embarrassing. Administrators must take their jobs seriously. I have already reported them, I pass the imfermire contest as if I was going to sew up a person at any time, have a nice day everyone.”

The author’s native language is, I think, Italian. Or perhaps French. I suspect not an English speaker, although it’s possible that his grasp of English is better than my grasp of his native language. I cannot tell if the message is the result of automatic translation, or if the author did the translation himself with the help of a Italian-to-English dictionary. Either way, I cannot make any sense of it.

Which is weird. I’ve seen bad translations before. But usually I can get the gist of a message that’s been automatically translated: a “hook” that gives me a broad idea, and from there puzzle out a few details. For example, the word “imfermire” in the above text looked promising. It looks like a misspelling of the Italian word “infermiere,” meaning “nurse.” The best I can guess is that the author is having trouble getting some woodcarving books for his father. Not sure where the nurse comes in.

The author’s responses to comments provide no useful information. Which isn’t too much of a surprise. I imagine he has to translate the question, then write and translate a response. The combined errors inherent in that process aren’t conducive to understanding. Automatic translation software is especially bad at round-tripping because errors accumulate very quickly.

Can the technology that powers the new crop of generative AIs be put to good use in the automatic translation space? I imagine feeding an Italian-to-English translation to a tool that can leverage its knowledge of translation errors and spit out a short and meaningful summary. Is such a tool within our grasp?