A Writer’s Predictions on AI-Assisted Writing
Prophet’s verbal experts share their POV on four trends we anticipate for AI and its future role in content development.
AI takeovers have long been our dystopian fantasy. Except we imagined something more apocalyptic, with explosions, volcanic skies and scarce resources, and the whole thing would be directed by Michael Bay. To our imagination’s dismay, the integration of AI into daily life has been pretty drama-free, taking on tedious tasks like filling in payment details, scheduling, and drafting texts.
But when ChatGPT showed up, boasting its domination over the written word, writers had questions:
What will happen to our jobs? What about the sanctity of writing as a labor of love? Is writing really writing if it’s developed by AI?
While it’s fair to believe AI is overstepping, we also know this is just the beginning. With so much technology of the future already in motion, we can’t deny that a new era for writing, communicating, and knowledge sharing has arrived. Sure, it will take some getting used to, but we’re starting to come around to the possibilities AI presents for writers.
Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired magazine and author of The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 technological forces that will shape our future writes: “This is not a race against the machines. If we race against them, we lose. This is a race with machines. You’ll be paid in the future based on how well you work with robots … It is inevitable. Let the robots take our jobs and let them help us dream up new work that matters.”
Let’s not forget, we’ve been in this situation before: just like typewriters made way for laptops, and typing made way for audio recording, ML and AI will surely help professional writers become more prolific, discerning, and original over time. It might even help aspiring writers gain the confidence they need to get started.
We’re eager to see what these tools are capable of, and below are four trends we anticipate in the coming months and years:
From Content Creation to Content Curation
As AI continues to take on the bulk of content creation, more people will be inspired to distill, edit and provide commentary on existing content. Content creators will eventually be succeeded by content curators. Similarly, strategists, editors, and commentators will become the creative forces brands and media outlets seek as they strive to keep up with the demand for niche and personalized content.
Podcasting and video will also continue to reign since they provide authentic, undeniably human content built on connection and collaboration.
Still, employers will need people to operate and monitor AI writing tools, which will naturally position AI prompting, co-writing, and editing as core competencies for employees in communication fields. In the same way that SEO writing matured into a core competency, employers will expect their staff to upskill, and seek employees who can use AI writing tools effectively.
A Reinvigorated Emphasis on the Craft of Writing
It’s no secret that the line between writer, content creator, and a guy with a Twitter account has all but disappeared over the last 15 years. AI will exacerbate that issue by enabling people to publish under-developed work faster.
Fortunately, that will make fresh, high-quality content more valuable and easier to spot. We’ll see more recognition for human-derived work by way of badges next to author profiles—think the esteemed “verified” checkmark used on platforms like Spotify and Instagram. As these new hierarchies of quality become the norm, top-tier writers with the appropriate credentials will be celebrated simply by writing without the help of AI.
Though, as we continue to explore the power and potential of systems like ChatGPT, we should also remind ourselves of their limitations. For example, ChatGPT is branded as AI, but it’s actually a machine learning (ML) tool operating through algorithms that mimic human intelligence. While it’s mostly impressive, it’s not sentient—and it’s not going to replace human writers any time soon. However, writers should still be actively looking for ways to welcome its assistance in their work.
Marketers will Happily Delegate Information Gathering to Focus on Creativity and Strategy
With platforms claiming the ability to produce creative company names instantly, many marketers, brand builders and creatives understandably met the launch of ChatGPT with trepidation.
At first, it felt like a threat to the very nature of the creative process. If it were true that AI could produce original work in a fraction of the time, would naming specialists have any hope for a secure professional future? Fortunately, it only takes a few queries within ChatGPT for that fear to subside. The platform cannot yet replicate the art of persuasive copywriting or effective naming. Sure, it’s fast, but it’s not creative.
We, however, can take advantage of its superior productivity skills. As we well know, the brainstorming process begins with a clearing of the obvious or “bad” ideas. ChatGPT can help us surface and trash those ideas faster, freeing us to dig deeper, explore new avenues of inspiration and test unexpected executions. Essentially, we can build off what AI can deliver as a first step and springboard to something more distinctly human and original.
Apprehensive Publications will (Eventually) Come Around
Despite the current debate on whether to publish or recognize AI-assisted content in any capacity, eventually, we will award work partially written by AI.
Not convinced? Look at the self-publishing industry. Self-published books, articles, and essays were wholly regarded as less than for years. Self-published writers were pariahs because they didn’t jump through the same institutional hoops as the “real” writers before them. Once thousands of self-published writers found their audiences and made a living doing what they loved, criticism subsided. Public figures shared their work on sites like Medium. Global sensations like EL James (50 Shades of Grey) and Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) and even some of Margaret Atwood’s early works were self-published. Self-publishing became a welcome professional trajectory.
It’s of course ironic that with ChatGPT, self-publishing platforms are the ones playing gatekeepers. Medium, Amazon KDB, and Substack are among the publications that have shared formal statements regarding AI regulation, like this one from Data Science:
“We’re committed to publishing work by human authors only, and we don’t—and won’t—accept posts written in whole or in part by AI tools.”– Data Science
Writers who respect the craft and want to see it upheld at their preferred publications will continue to push for better regulatory practices. Others will celebrate the new possibilities of AI-generated content, advocating for its necessity in today’s content-driven world. Medium is one such publication:
“We welcome the responsible use of AI-assistive technology on Medium. To promote transparency, and help set reader expectations, we require that any story created with AI assistance be clearly labeled as such.”– Medium
Over time, the passionate opposition to AI-assisted writing will fade, and we’ll find a place for it in the hierarchy of writing quality. Soon, AI-assisted writing will become as commonplace as publishing your debut novel on Amazon.
As AI writing tools like ChatGPT continue to mature, people will continue to explore its role in art, culture, content and communication. Though these tools currently present as many pitfalls as possibilities, in time we’ll find this technology will help us shift into a new era as writers, thinkers and collaborators.