A Writer Ponders ChatGPT*
*Alternate titles include: “The machines can have my pen when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers” or “How I learned to stop worrying and learned to love our new robot overlords”
I’ve always been intrigued by Artificial Intelligence (AI), and like so many other things in my life that means that I am both excited by some its prospects and horrified by others.
Machines may well save the planet – but they can also make humans unnecessary (as they already are doing in several industries).
I admit I possess only a cursory knowledge of what AI is and what it may do. I mean I’ve read Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics,” and try to keep up with the latest tech headlines – but I’ve also seen the Terminator series, The Matrix, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, The World’s End…So, as you can see, most of my ideas about AI were fomented by Hollywood. But at least I admit it and realize there is a difference between what’s real and what isn’t.
Or is there? Thanks to the latest developments in AI, it’s getting harder and harder to tell what’s been written and published by people like you and I – versus a semi-sentient machine. I’m writing specifically about ChatGPT. You likely have heard of this new technology, released by Bing and which has sensationalized tech headlines for weeks and likely caught the eye of even the technologically impaired. Essentially, it is the latest in AI writing, and it is so good at aping human thought and how that translates into words, that you and I likely wouldn’t notice something written by ChatGPT versus a human author.
As a professional writer, I appreciate headlines like these about like Sara Conner appreciated SKYNET. But just as I was starting to bunker in and figure out a new line of work, a colleague came storming in Schwarzenegger style and reminded me that humans (at least for now) still have the power. OK, so maybe he didn’t literally say, “Come with me if you want to live,” with flames and explosions spiking around his semi-metallic face, but it was nonetheless reassuring that, no matter what advances are made, the future is still very much unwritten.
Make no mistake there are several human-based SEO companies panicking about the future of writing – especially for work such as blog posts and website content – but that does not mean that homo-sapien authors are on scrap heap – at least yet. In fact, there are several signs that companies such as Bing and Google, which is also developing AI that will answer search queries without sourcing the information, are building in safeguards to encourage human authorship.
In fact, ChatGPT offers a function which helps readers determine if an article was AI or human generated. And Google itself is supposedly developing an algorithm that will determine if copy is AI generated and will reward those companies that take the time to produce articles by actual humans.
Due to its innovative nature, AI’s role in copy production is a hotly debated topic. And since it is currently a bit ambiguous, we will all have to sit and wait while the developers and researchers crunch the data. It is the great unknown for copy writers, and it should be obvious why so many of us are a bit nervous.
That said, you can rest assured that non-AI copy (i.e. real content) will remain a fixture in some shape, form, or fashion. And to ignore it or give full control over to the robots – at least in the near future – could be foolish. For instance, real copy may boost the importance of a company’s presence on social media. For as AI begins to dominate web searches, we may look to the Facebooks/Instagrams, Twitters, SnapChats, and Mastodons, as the place for “real” talk – something which you can be certain those companies will look to bolster.
In the meantime, us real copywriters will continue to bang out quality work – such as this gem of a blog! (Hey, what do you expect for free?!) – while we sharpen our swords for the battles to come with our metallic competitors. Humans writing words (sometimes beautifully) has been a staple of this planet for eons, and we’ll figure out a way to continue that proud tradition – even if we have to…
Sorry, what I meant to say, was I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords! (Whispers: Keep up the good fight fellow writers!)Back