How can writers and editors cope in “The Age of Artificial Intelligence”. It is here, whether we like it or not. Will we resist or adapt?
Microsoft Word now has a new Editor feature. According to reviews, the MS Word Editor does more than check spelling and basic grammatical errors. It identifies vague phrases, wordy phrases, and tells you why your word choice and sentences are incorrect based on your content. That’s not all. It also provides concise suggestions. A few months ago, I read a number of articles discussing writing-bots replacing journalists in newsrooms.
It is clear that one objective of these tools is to improve the accuracy and quality of written content. In other words, many businesses and publishing houses are seeking to remove human error (and its consequences) from their content. Some argue that A. I. Robots are not here to take over our jobs. I have my doubts, but I think it is too soon to make clear predictions about the real impact of writing and editing robots.
I do believe that these robots will “force” us to focus on writing and editing skills which involve critical thinking, and I’m all for analytical thinking in the writing industry.
Before I go on, Artificial Intelligence, in simple terms, has been described as
machines or robots imitating the way humans do things. In the case of writers, robots are now imitating how writers conduct research and write articles, essays etcetera.
How is artificial intelligence changing the writing profession?
Some companies have developed robots (tools) which can write articles. The technology combines what is called natural/human language processing and artificial intelligence methods to create content. These robots can imitate the human mind and write meaningful articles and stories at a faster rate than humans. They gather online sources of information related to the topic they are writing about and then summarize and rephrase the article. This means that a time is coming (and it’s here) when writers may no longer be needed to write articles for companies and some publishing houses. Whenever someone needs an article written, all they have to do is type their topic into the relevant writing tool and the robot will generate the article in minutes. And it will not be generic.
It also means that fast paced writing environments like newsrooms, public relations, and business communications departments will begin to prefer using the robots instead of humans, as the robots get better and better with time, and they will.
One direct result of these new developments could be that bloggers and writers whose work is based on writing product reviews and fast content for companies may lose that source of income when more businesses requiring those services choose efficient writing tools (robots) to do it for them. Especially when articles and product reviews written by robots can generate as much sales or more for such businesses. Sounds like a sci-fi movie doesn’t it? Well, this is the world we live in now.
Writing skills which have taken human professional writers years of hard work and practice to develop, can now be done easily and at a faster rate by robots! So the question now is: what can writers do about this new development? If writers will not be needed in the future, why bother with the writing profession, or even learn how to improve your writing?
Here’s One Way Writers Can Adapt
These tools can be used by writers too. A human writer can type their topic into an online writing tool (robot) and the robot will generate the article for the human writer. The human writer can then review the robot generated article and add their own thoughts, ideas, emotions, or expertise to the article. This means the robot writes the first draft of the article, and the human writer revises it by making it more interesting and insightful to human readers. This is where critical thinking comes into the picture. Writers will now be able to focus more on how to make an article more humorous, analytical, surprising, or a poignant work of art.
I find the use of writing robots to be a lazy approach, but for fast paced businesses and students, it can be an efficient tool. Universities and schools will now have to develop a more vigilant approach to marking student essays. Developers can also create effective plagiarism detection tools for robots and improve the ones available for human writers.