Artificial Intelligence

Trend Alert: Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Writers?

Technological advances have irrevocably revolutionized the way we live. The integration of technology into our lives has undeniably improved our quality of life. We are able to live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives as a direct result of technological innovations. These advances have created societal shifts toward a creative, knowledge economy.  This fundamental shift has driven rapid growth in the global economy. For the most part, technology has been scripted by scientists or coders and has required the general direction of a human to operate. The introduction of Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) is exciting because it presents the possibility of intelligent machines that have cognitive abilities or sentient qualities which can self-improve.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

(AI) refers to the simulation of human processes by machines. These machines are capable of intelligent behaviour previously thought to have required human intelligence, such as decision-making, visual perception, and speech recognition. An AI machine intakes data, recognizes patterns, and predicts the next action based on its analysis. An AI machine gathers facts through sensors or human input and seeks patterns in the information. The machine then runs through numerous possible actions and predicts which action is most successful based on the information. iRobot vacuum cleaners, spatially-aware flying drones, chess programs, are rudimentary forms of AI that behave according to how they’re programmed to behave. They don’t have any generalized analytical ability. They do not learn beyond what they’re programmed to learn.

The notion that robots could replace writers is a revelation that could be indicative of the next significant technological shift. This technological shift would be substantiated by intelligent machines that are capable of iterative learning.


What could this mean for the future of creatives?

Machines with creative capabilities would surely displace professionals in the knowledge economy that have been largely sheltered due to the nature of their work.

The creation of a new AI that can convincingly write political speeches suggests that human-machine collaboration may be the way of the future. Researchers from the University of Massachusetts have created Artificial Intelligence software that they’ve trained using over 4,000 political speech segments. The software processed through 50,000 sentences and eventually learned how to effectively string sentences to form a convincing speech. The learning technique uses an approach known as n-grams and seeks out sequences of “n” words to understand how text is constructed. The resulting speech was surprisingly good, see a speech produced by the software.

The most terrifying aspect of the AI-written speech is that it was convincing and could illicit an audience reaction. Fortunately, as it stands now, there are the subtleties of spin that only a talented writer is capable of. Machines that overtake writers are not expected in the near future yet.


Where do we use AI today?

AI machines make great contributions where efficient, data-driven reporting is critical. The Associated Press already uses software to generate stories on corporate earnings reports. Fox auto-generates sports recaps and Yahoo uses AI technology to create fantasy sports reports.  These types of writing are devoid of critical thinking, understanding, or emotion. AI machines are particularly adept at taking in an abundance of raw data and translating it into comprehensible sentences and paragraphs that convey core ideas.

This capability of AI to parse out complex data sets into accessible stories is a great benefit to modern-day writers. This suggests that we could use machines to perform the grunt-work with analyzing quantities of structured data or creating mundane template reports. Computers lack understanding of what they are doing and thus lack they the ability to write with sophisticated nuances and meaning. The machine could put together the foundation of the story and the human writer could then add their style of narrative.


What does this mean for marketers now?

AI machines are incomparable to human storytellers at this current time. They are not at the point where they are adaptive, intuitive, self-learning, sentient, and empathetic. Their stories neglect the components of great writing because they have no concept of emotion, senses, idiosyncrasies, or wit. Machines are not creative and only write what they’ve been programmed to write. The role of trained writers in reporting remains pertinent as machines are unable to make critiques, or produce full-formed narratives. AI cannot make qualitative interpretations and miss this opportunity to connect with audiences. Human writers can be thought leaders as they engage their audiences.

Creatives won’t be written out of their roles even with the increasing use of AI in content generation. There is the risk that they replace interns or assistant writers that are tasked with mundane reporting, but it is very likely that they will improve our processes with writing and overall customer experience. In the present day, Artificial Intelligence can be integrated into current content writing processes for an improved, forward-looking strategy. AI can overtake burdensome tasks and human writers can inject finesse. Marketers do not need to fear machines appropriating their jobs any time soon. Instead, they should embrace the machine-human collaboration that is certain to happen. Industry changes are evident; it’s a matter of how you embrace it.