April 11, 2022 | 4-minute read (741 words)
Did you know that The Washington Post developed AI technology called Heliograf to help report the 2016 Rio Olympics? The robot reporter created brief reports to keep readers up to date on the results of various games.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press publishes hundreds of pieces using natural language synthesis software called Wordsmith by Automated Insights.
From Amazon recommending items based on a user's browsing history to Apple voice assistant Siri answering users questions, AI has permeated nearly every aspect of communication and shows no sign of slowing down. According to Semrush, AI will reach a global market value of $190.61 billion by 2025.
This raises the question of whether artificial intelligence software can produce superior content than humans. Data from The World Economic Forum suggests that by 2025, as many as 85 million positions could be supplanted “by a shift in the division of labor between humans and machines,” and that 97 million new positions better suited to this new division of labor could emerge.
What does this sea change in the applications for AI suggest about the role of AI software in writing content?
What does the future hold for copywriters?
AI has a number of limitations when it comes to content creation. One of the hardest to surmount at present is its overreliance on patterns and the chance that certain words or phrases will occur next to each other when a particular topic is mentioned.
This implies AI can provide a primary draft of information that already exists on a given topic, and then come up with a robotic version of the same.
AI-powered content production is constrained by four factors:
1. Inability to assemble compelling material of length – When writing content, most people start with the first paragraph and then revisit it later to elaborate further.
AI, on the other hand, cannot function in this manner. Its understanding of various topics is discrete and disconnected from one another. Thus, it cannot connect the dots in a manner readers would expect.
2. Inability to deal with emotion – AI cannot deal with emotions as expressed via anecdotes, inside jokes, jargon and the like. But these elements are what give readers pause to pay attention and want to continue reading. Humans are emotional beings, predisposed to use their feelings to persuade themselves to make rational conclusions rather than the other way around.
3. Inability to work with audio or video – The majority of people consume digital media in the form of audio or video, and this trend is only expected to continue. That's something AI can't handle. It can't write scripts for this kind of media.
4. Inability to be subjective – The majority of material available online is subjective. It compares options or makes suggestions or offers advantages and disadvantages on a given topic. Unless AI is plagiarizing content, it is incapable of comparing alternatives or providing further context as to why a certain argument may or may not be valid.
Areas where AI can assist with content production
Here are three situations where AI can help with content creation:
1. Research and preparation – Most long-form material on the internet takes between five and six hours to compose. At least 50% of that time is spent on research and preparation. This is when AI can come in handy.
AI can reduce this prep time from hours to minutes by using its underlying content technology and by providing ideas and suggestions for how an article should be formatted.
2. In some circumstances, initial drafts – It may be feasible to use AI to develop short-form, fact-based text for a first draft in some cases. On the other hand, a writer or editor would be required to examine, edit, polish or, if needed, add to it.An outline that is manually reviewed and validated before it is written by AI would save a significant amount of money and time.
3. Pattern-matching (for SEO) – It's good to use pattern matching when writing content for SEO. This is a technique where you check an expression to see if it has specific characteristics before you write it. A pattern matching-based approach to AI-based research can aid in the construction of SEO-friendly content.
When employing AI to create content, you need to keep its limitations in mind. AI does not eliminate the need for human involvement in content production; for example, you’ll need someone to proofread, fact-check and edit content to ensure it is readable.