By Anna Iovine
Mark Twain once said that the mark of a classic is that everyone wants to have read it but not actually read it. It makes sense: Classics must provide some artistic or cultural value to be considered “classic” — but they’re just so boring.
MSCHF just made the Western canon more exciting with Project Gucciberg. It’s Project Gutenberg (a collection of public domain Western literature) meets the rapper Gucci Mane. Using Artificial Intelligence, MSCHF recreated his voice to read classics from Pride and Prejudice to Don Quixote. “A great voice plus a great book creates a killer audiobook,” the website reads.
Within a few seconds of listening to, say, Jekyll and Hyde or Little Women, you’ll notice that Gucciberg has the same uncanny valley feeling as other deepfakes. The narration sounds so much like the rapper it’s funny, but there’s the small-yet-noticeable hiccups that remind you that it’s, indeed, fake.
“We didn’t write the books, and we deepfaked the voice. Is this copyright infringement? Is it identity theft?” the website asks. MSCHF, who’s pissed off everyone from Boston Dynamics to Disney, made sure to cover themselves: “All of the training data (recordings) used to make Project Gucciberg were publicly available on the web. Gucciberg lives in that lovely grey area where everything’s new and anything goes.”
Everything’s new and anything goes, so grab a cup of tea and let Gucci Mane weave a classic tale on Project Gucciberg.