I love irony. I love how one second she's beautiful, then the next she’s telling, then all of sudden…she’s downright evil. In my last piece, there I was, taking my sweet time writing a very satisfying bit of content all about the concept of us creatives taking our sweet time — and for good reason. Then irony struck. I guess I pissed her off.
I love irony.
I love how one second she's beautiful, then the next she’s telling, then all of sudden…she’s downright evil.
In my last piece, there I was, taking my sweet time writing a very satisfying bit of content all about the concept of us creatives taking our sweet time — and for good reason.
Then irony struck. I guess I pissed her off.
I’m sure you’ve heard all about this new content-writing A.I chatbot by now?
If you haven’t, then you’re clearly living under a rock?
Okay, fair enough, I’ll admit — I hadn’t either. You see, I’m quite happy and content under my rock…it’s warm, it’s cosy, and every creature that lives here likes doing business with me and all the other creatures. It’s just how we roll down here — creatures buy creatures.
Nothing’s broken, so we don’t try to fix it.
In the human world outside our rock, they love replacing each other with the next new shiny thing such as artificially “intelligent” gadgets that can do things like produce an informative and grammatically correct blog super fast — but at what price?
Maybe at the price of creating a sterile marketplace devoid of all humanity, connection, and personal value? That sounds like something they’d be okay with out there. Hashtag just sayin’.
Okay, rant over, biases shelved, mind open. You see, my editor tasked me with looking at this new tech, to see how far along it’s come and if it can legitimately produce copy that is unrecognisable from that of a human.
Let's check it out and see what all the fuss is about, shall we? Bare with me as I try to lift up my rock…it’s heavy!
The AI content writing tool I was introduced to is Rytr.me
I’ve been duly enlightened via a quick Google search that there are other AI writing competitors out there as well, like ChatGPT as an example — which, by all accounts, looks a tad more sophisticated. More to come on this…
To be fair, right out of the gate — I’m impressed. Rytr looks very basic, unintimidating, and user-friendly. You don’t need to download a free trial and/or watch a tutorial to get familiar with the product. You can jump right in. And in the most literal sense…if I can do it, anyone can.
The features are limited and practical — language, tone, usage/format, your topic of choice, keywords, how many variations you want, and to top it off…arguably the hook line and sinker feature…creativity level. This is the makers’ way of showing just how nifty their shit is.
Right, let's keep it simple…and ironic. Let's go for this topic: ‘the future of work and the rise of freelancing’ — asking the tool to write in a convincing tone, but zero creativity…
Sure, I’ll give credit where it’s due — it’s all grammatically correct, informative, and serves a purpose for purpose sake. It’s lightning fast content for free, that can be used to fill online real estate, emails, other bitesize content etc.
It’s a low word count, sure, but you can generate more by doing another pass. I went ahead and opted for maximum creativity, and even changed the tone from convincing to funny — but truth be told I didn't see much difference, except for a popular quote from someone that the A.I found online somewhere.
This being said, what Rytr does offer is bog-standard, ever-green content and a handy factory of ideas. While, in my opinion, the tool isn’t advanced enough to actually produce something in full that would pass as a human writer with a fully-formed personal style, it sure as hell just throws things at me that could help a writer or marketing professional have a lightbulb moment. While my competitors are sweating over a blank page and blinking cursors, doubting themselves…I’m already rolling.
Rtyr did give me a term I did like on one pass, that would make for a great bit of further research and exploration for an article… and that is the “explosion of the gig economy.” That's a fun topic!
ChatGPT is a whole new beast entirely, however
Oh boy, was I wrong?
And not only wrong, but I was left staring at my laptop with a dropped jaw and a mind filled with mixed emotions.
I was eager to see how convincing it could be with a super hot ethical topic — 'write an article on convincing a meat-eater to go vegan.'
I could, debatably, copy and paste this and send it to a client as a solid outline of my article. They would genuinely believe I have been thinking long and hard about the task, and all I need to do now is develop it into my own tone of voice and style.
Like, don’t get me wrong…it still doesn’t possess the human element, in my opinion, and lacks a certain flow, a personality, a je ne sais quoi if you will — where the writing is so mechanical, linear, secretarial even. A sentence begins, then a comma, then it ends. There’s no music to the language. Just information.
In some ways, it isn’t writing…it’s typing. But, it’s done a lot of the donkey work for me with its super fast office work. Now the writer can take over.
As the olde saying goes…this is only the beginning.
My editor told me about a friend that works in marketing who took the time to train a writing A.I to actually mimic his tone of voice and generally write like he does. So, very soon, I may not even need to “think” either…my only job will consist of adding a few client buzzwords to it…then send. We'll see...
This really is just the beginning.
It, of course, breeds the ultimate question of how I see my future now, as a human writer. Don't get me wrong, there is that little nagging threat hovering over me that I may be replaced soon…but I still think we needn’t truly worry.
At the end of the day, the tools I've tested are handy tools for marketing teams, business owners, recruiters and, I think, writers, amongst others, to help them achieve their writing goals. Like I mentioned earlier…these tools are brilliant for simply helping stir imagination, but it’s your imagination that it’s stirring — and that’s what your clients are paying for.
Update: I’ve been using Chat GPT for a few weeks now and I’ve started to spot a pattern. Regardless of the topic, it tends to use the same format — an opening paragraph outlining the topic, a suggested and technical list of bullet points, and a short conclusion to wrap it all up. Although I’m still mightily impressed, it has thrown up the question whether or not it can produce diverse and varied copy to satisfy a client requesting regular articles.
Moreover, if every second article contains articles written by AI, will readers be able to 'spot the bot' in no time and lose interest?
Producing content for clients isn’t like taking a maths exam where you need to “show your work” of how you arrived at the answer. Will a client care if they discover you use an AI to help produce your work? It's similar to the way Photoshop works for photographers and designers. How we all choose to use it and the impact it will have on our habits are the interesting unanswerable questions.
Perhaps the moral of the story here is that it’s got nothing to do with the technology, but instead the person using it?
Whatever the case, the future is bright. The future is still yours to shape.
So shape it.