People have been asking me lots of questions lately about AI. Specifically, regarding AI created content. And rightly so. Everything is going to change. Those asking me can be split into two groups.
- Business owners wanting to switch from paying content writers, to using AI.
- Content writers, who are worried that AI created content will wipe their business out.
Here are some thoughts, observations and ideas for those in either of the above groups.
Switching to AI created content?
It was 2016 when I first wrote about AI as a content creation tool, in a post called Don’t let the robots kick your ass. I’ve followed AI content developments very closely ever since. And yes, things really have improved.
However, for a business owner thinking of replacing their content writers with AI, you’ll have some small issues to contend with. That’s because it’s not currently a like-for-like swap.
In my opinion, AI content isn’t good enough to use without some editing. Here’s a piece I created in around 10 seconds using ChatGPT, with no edits, so you can see for yourself. I simply asked the software to write an article for me about the limitations of AI writing. Here’s what it produced, including the article’s title: Limitations of AI in Writing: Context, Tone, and Nuance.
Whilst the spelling and grammar are fine, the content doesn’t flow naturally as you read it. This is a common problem and means the business owner needs to know what to edit and how to edit it, so that it reads correctly and is ready to publish.
Editing takes time, if you’re not used to doing it. And quality is an issue, because the quality of the content you end up with, will be determined by your editing skills… not AI. Yes, the quality of AI content will improve to the point where little, if any editing is required. But in the short-term, it’s not quite there.
AI and content writers
Content writers who operate at the higher end of the market have nothing to fear from AI content. You’re a proven writer. You can connect with readers, engage with them and deliver the results your clients need. You’ll be absolutely fine for a very, very long time.
High quality, human crafted content, which engages the reader, with things like nuance, irony, passion and compassion, will always have a market.
The challenge, I believe, will be for content writers who serve the middle of the market.
I’ve been testing the research version of ChatGPT for some time and right now, it can create a piece of content on any subject, thousands of words long, in seconds. Scan it with a plagiarism checker and it will pass as unique. Note, in the example I gave earlier, I just pasted the text from the software, formatted it and added an image. An experienced writer will be able to edit it and turn it into an average quality piece in under 30 minutes.
That’s exactly what a lot of content-based service providers have been doing for years. They’re able to charge a low fee and earn massively more than those charging 5 times as much, because they’re producing 20 times as much content.
Soon, AI will create content that’s already as good as the average piece that’s human created. Some in my profession say it’s already possible. Either way, it won’t need human editing. It will be ready to go. And the software is already extremely simple to use, so there’s nothing to stop those with average budgets from bypassing content writers, and doing it themselves.
I think that’s the point were the ‘real’ disruption will happen.
Not much is likely to change in the very near future. Though with Microsoft and Google / Alphabet now investing billions in the battle for AI supremacy, and advertising their offerings everywhere, this will change. I think a wider, general awareness of AI content will see a surge in content service providers using it, which will force fees down. It should also result in more people switching from hiring content creators, to doing it themselves with AI. As I said earlier, it’s already very easy to use.
Content providers who charge industry average fees, to clients who’ll pay industry average rates, always find it hardest to thrive. And it’s about to get even harder. Because those who currently hire them will be able to create their own content, and create as much of it as they wish, for pennies or free. Those who sell content services into the middle will need to switch to a new content service model, which is built to thrive in the age of AI. More of the same isn’t a viable option.
As with every disruptive technology, there will be winners.
Maybe a useful way forward, is to ask yourself what a winning model for your business will look like, now AI content creation is going mainline. Consider how you might put the amazing power of AI to work for you, rather than have it work against you. There’s no reason for you not to prosper mightily from the disruption.