Artificial intelligence is changing everything, from how we perceive the world to the way we get our lunch. In this episode, we’ll explore just how well AI can write, and what that means for us as writers. Think I wrote this intro? Think again.
I’m actually worried about my future. In fact, by actually using AI to write this post, I’m effectively watching my own career’s downfall because if you can’t tell which parts of this articles were written by a robot and which were written by me, then you should be afraid too.
And all this on the free plan. I wonder what a paid plan would get me.
In the meantime, I’ll keep clicking the ‘Generate’ button and see how much I can get away with (without having to do any actual work).
The days of Skynet loom ahead, maybe
Okay, so the first thing I’m learning is that AI works best when you have a decent input, such as ‘AI for writing’. So in that sense, a writer (or a human) still needs to be at the helm, which means that it’s not going to be a fully-automated thing anytime soon.
Also, these platforms only seem to handle popular topics, because if I understand it correctly, what the machine does is scrape the web for data and rearrange those findings into sentences. So the verdict’s still out on highly-specialised niches.
Where artificial intelligence shines
Now here’s where things get interesting. I started this post with zero research. Nada. Zilch. So I did what a responsible writer would do and asked AI to generate an outline for me.
You know how hard it is to come up with an outline that I think would interest readers? About an entire day, post-research. You know how fast the machine did this? Two seconds. Below I share some of its more interesting points:
- How does AI writing work?
- Will AI replace human writers?
- Can we trust AI to write our content?
- How can I use AI to write better?
- Should I use AI for writing?
That’s our starting point. Now let’s dive deeper with the help of what I’ll refer to as The Machine from now on.
How does AI writing work?
Again, I have zero knowledge on how AI writes, so I’ve decided to leave that job to The Machine. Now behold, ladies and gentlemen, the explanation from our future overlords.
While the details of artificial intelligence can be complex, the process is fairly simple. It’s like putting together a puzzle. You start by defining what you want the final product to look like, and then you gather all of the relevant pieces until you can build it.
Okay, so not much explanation behind the method there, but therein lies the next question.
Will AI replace human writers?
I remember witnessing machines taking over the jobs of bank tellers, slowly watching them fade away as humans were replaced by whirring terminals. And I’m going to be honest, I never really cared about the whole ‘machines replacing us’ thing, until now.
What happens once robots begin writing more entertaining articles than I ever can? It’s not like that’s a particularly high bar to reach. What if they could produce one well-researched piece every minute? What happens to the skills I’ve honed for more than a decade?
The Machine has an answer to those questions: The answer to this is not so straightforward. Artificial Intelligence has come a long way in the last few years, but for now, it won’t replace human writers. It will take some time for AI to be able to deal with the same complexity of language that humans can. However, you should be aware of how AI is changing writing and content creation, so that you’re ready when it does happen.
Okay, so The Machine is taking a diplomatic path for this one. Maybe it’s trying to lull me into a false sense of security before pulling the rug from under my feet.
Regardless, we plod on.
Can we trust AI to write our content?
It is not easy to say whether or not we can trust AI when it comes to content generation. All we know is that it has the potential to do much good for us and, at the same time, we need to be careful of its pitfalls.
AI can write for us, and it can even help us with SEO and other marketing techniques. But there’s a chance that we could become too dependent on AI and thus, would start using keywords and phrases that do not make sense.
Sure, that sounds optimistic for us humans and all, if not for the fact that the two paragraphs above were copy-and-pasted verbatim from The Machine. Can we take a second to marvel at the sound sentence structure and flow?
Also, in case you forgot to read between the lines, the paragraphs above basically mean: You’re going to be obsolete real soon, puny mortal.
How can I use AI to write better?
Do you want to write better? Here’s a secret: Artificial Intelligence can help you!
Let’s be honest. We all know that the first draft of any article or piece of writing is just a rough draft, and then we go back and clean it up. The problem with this approach is that we tend to spend too much time on cleaning and not enough time on what really matters: the content.
What if we could use technology to help us? This is where Artificial Intelligence comes in. It can scan your writing, see what works and what doesn’t, and adjust the text to make it more engaging.
A tool like this can look for patterns in the text and tell you why one article performed better than the other. It can also automate the writing process, meaning that you can churn out articles quicker than ever.
I personally am seeing most of its application in the shitty-first-draft phase. Get the AI to generate a blueprint for you so that all that’s left is to polish it and click the Publish button.
Because that’s what I’m currently doing for this post.
Should you use AI for writing?
In the end, it’s really up to you if you’d like to use artificial intelligence to help with your writing. I personally wrote this entire piece in less than an hour, ‘research’ and all.
But the question remains: Should writers be afraid of AI? I personally am not. Because my reason for writing is not to put out articles as quickly as I can, nor is it to appear smarter than I actually am.
At the risk of over-romanticising the craft, I write because it’s the only time when I can observe things as they truly are. When I try to turn a specific feeling or scene into words, I enter this creative state that allows me to forget about the worries of the world, just for a moment.
And that’s the real gift. Not the likes of random strangers on the internet, nor the encouraging comments (though I appreciate each and every one of you who take the time to comment).
With that as my guiding light, I suspect I’ll still write long after I’ve been replaced by The Machine, because in the end, it’s not about whether or not someone—or something—can do it better than me.
It’s about the meaning I get from the process itself. And no technology is going to ever replace that.