The internet is flooded with headlines about Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered writing tools and how they’re going to eventually replace writers.
But…will they, though?
I have a lot of thoughts on this, so let’s start at the beginning.
The rise of AI-powered writing tools
AI-powered writing is nothing new. In fact, the first AI-written poem dates back to 1967, when artist Alison Knowles used a programming language called FORTRAN to write poems. They…weren’t very good. ????
“A house of steel / Among high mountains / Using candles / Inhabited by people who sleep almost all the time.”
We’ve come a long way since then. Today’s tools use a combination of AI, predictive analytics, and Natural Language Processing to generate original content.
Then we have the rise of Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3), which rolled out a whole new chapter for AI-powered writing tools. Launched in May 2020 by OpenAI, GPT-3 uses deep learning to produce human-like text.
Today, many AI-powered writing tools deploy GPT-3 to help users create ad copy, article titles, social media copy, blog posts, job descriptions, and more.
Popular AI-powered writing assistants
Here are a few of the companies in this space you should know (and try!)
1. Writer is an AI-powered writing platform that helps content teams scale quality content production by generating drafts, editing for consistency with style guides, and a LOT more.
2. Copy.ai is an AI-powered copywriting tool that offers a wide range of templates to help break through writer’s block. This tool also has a long-form document editor, which is nice when you’re writing blog posts or articles.
3. Jasper is writing software powered by Open AI’s GPT3-based AI technology, helping companies create original content that ranks for SEO, write social media copy, and repurpose existing content.
4. Moonbeam is an AI-powered tool aimed at helping speed up the blog-writing process by adding efficiency from the outlining phase all the way to the final draft.
All of these bring interesting (and helpful) automations to the writing process. Playing around with them, you see how they can be deployed in many different contexts…and they’re actually pretty advanced!
In fact, I spoke with a fellow freelancer last week who shared that by using Writer, he was able to cut down a writing process that would normally take six hours to a mere 45 minutes. ????
That’s…worth paying attention to, yes?
However, maybe you’re thinking: “Okay, cool. But how long before these tools put me out of work?”
The question remains whether or not AI writing tools will threaten content marketers' jobs. So let’s talk about that next.
Will AI-powered tools be the death of freelance writing?
Here’s the thing: AI writing tools are great for help generating ideas for social media and website copy, titles, and breaking through writer’s block. They can add a ton of efficiency to writing processes. They do WONDERS for folks who are not native speakers of the language they’re writing in.
But when it comes to long-form content, we still need our specialized writers with deep subject matter expertise. AI-powered tools can only do so much. They’re still incapable of creating thought leadership pieces and understanding the nuance around complex topics. The content they do generate often needs quite a bit of editing to get it publish-ready.
AI-written content also often lacks authenticity and a personal narrative (obviously), and it can’t understand complex human sentiments, which makes it hard to emulate human writing. Will we get to a point where this isn’t true? Honestly, probably sooner than we’d all like to admit. But we’re not there yet.
As a result, the tools we have right now have their places. They’re well-suited for short pieces of copy, headlines, and very rough drafts. They help generate ideas. They give you something to work with on the page. Several of the more advanced offerings are also priced for enterprise-level use cases, which means they may be out of the price range for smaller-scale operations (so...most of us.)
So, no. I don’t think we need to be worried about how they’ll impact our job security right now.
If anything, we, as writers, can use these tools to our benefit. We can use them to write more efficiently (which is great, because often time = money.) Anything that helps free up more time is good news, right?
The future of AI-powered writing tools
As part of this conversation, we of course have to look ahead and think about how these tools will continue to evolve in the future.
For one thing: OpenAI’s next release (GPT-4) is just around the corner, and new iterations will bring significant improvements to these tools.
While writers don’t need to worry about a career change any time soon, I think the emergence and growing popularity of AI tools make a strong case for specialization and niching down . The more specialized you can be in your skills, subject matter expertise, and the industry you serve, the more valuable you'll be with a unique, highly marketable skill set.
If you’re wondering where to start, think about the qualities that make great writers irreplaceable:
Bringing new viewpoints to a topic
Sourcing fresh expert quotes
Think about how you'll cultivate a signature style , voice, tone, and point of view as a writer.
AI-powered writing tools still don't have that edge on real, human writers...so now is the time to think seriously about what you'll do to put a stake in the ground and cultivate what makes you worth investing in as a writer.
Instead of spending too much time worrying about our dystopian future, focus instead on sharpening your writing skills by learning to break the fourth wall in writing , writing in a reader-friendly way , and understanding the secrets to writing great copy .
There’s no doubt AI-powered writing tools will shift the role of content marketers. But maybe not in the way you’d think. This actually may be good for all of us. Wouldn’t that be nice?
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