In the November of 2022, a big news struck the market.
Open A.I. released their chatbot called ChatGPT—a tool that most people couldn’t believe would exist in their lifetime.
It could answer your questions instantly with impeccable grammar, comprehensive information, and even extra advice.
You could ask it to write a poem, and it did it with astounding results. You could ask it to write essays; it did that too. A screenplay, yes, Sir! And a detailed 2,000 words article on a topic you had no idea about – not a problem, too.
The fear had lingered for a while that A.I would eat up a lot of jobs. When ChatGPT was released, this fear quickly turned into a reality.
And who was on the frontlines facing this reality when the first A.I wave struck? – Content Writers.
Who would’ve thought that the most creative, calm, and joyful race of professionals would be the first ones to be decimated by this ‘new technology.’
Using ChatGPT to create content slowly transitioned from a fad into a widespread practice as of now.
That little bunny-in-the-hat trick that generated essays, descriptions, and even case studies is now seen as a prospective replacement for writers. Or at least the mediocre ones.
The fear is neither irrational nor fake.
People have been misguided into believing that a Generative Pre-Trained Transformer can outsmart and outperform real writers.
And how do I know that?
I know that because I have been in the writing industry for a decade. I started as a blurb writer in 2013, became a content writer, learned SEO, became a subject-matter-expert (SME), transitioned into copywriting, and later became a content strategist.
I have worn all the hats a writer could wear over their career, and I feel there was never a more humiliating experience for writers than this current scenario.
Here’s what happened to me last week, and I’m sure it would’ve happened to many fellow content writers and copywriters over the past few months.
The SEO agency I worked with as a freelance copywriter received an email from one of their retainer clients.
He insisted on slashing the monthly budget of the project because he believed that most of the writing would now be done by A.I.
Since developing content (essentially, writing) is the most time-consuming and expensive part of any growth project, he insisted on cutting the budget by almost half.
I wouldn’t reveal the entire mail, but here’s what he wrote in the last line: “….and I also need a breakdown of costs considering content is pennies on the dollar now.”
“Content is pennies on the dollar now.”
That’s why clients have started thinking that an A.I chatbot can do all the writing, and an editor is all that’s needed to check for accuracy, relevance, and grammar.
This is undoubtedly the most hurtful comment I have ever encountered during the ten years of my career as a writer.
And this is not just one instance. Most people who hire SEO or digital marketing agencies, or services of the like have started to believe that all the writing can be done by A.I know.
The Biggest Reasons for this Paradigm Shift
Influencers Riding the Wave
The most significant factor that popularized A.I, as a content-churning machine was the massive wave of YouTubers who used the hype to sell their ‘make money online’ schemes.
If you go on youtube and search for ‘how to make money with A. There are literally more than 8,000 videos about it. And the crux of each of those videos comes down to one thing – creating content using ChatGPT.
Spearheading this wave of videos are the videos that tell you to create faceless youtube channels. You use ChatGPT to create content and a text-to-video tool like Pictory. That’s it!
No need to research the topic; spend some time thinking about how you can add value to the video or how it will help your audience.
Just churn out some gibberish using A.I spew it before your audience, calling it ‘quality content.’
The Urge to Get Quick Results
Businesses spend a sizeable chunk of money on their marketing and promotional efforts, and it is right of them to expect quick results. However, A.I is now being seen as a tool that can allow you to generate a lot of content within a short span of time.
I’m talking about generating 40-50 articles within three to four hours.
This might seem like a quick fix for the content creation process, but quality content is always challenging to create.
A human writer can take hours, sometimes even a few days, to write a piece of content, depending upon the complexity and length. Whereas an A.I can write content of any length or complexity within seconds. And that too for free! Or perhaps at just 0.001% of the cost of what a human would charge.
Using A. Instead of content writers is seen as an effective method to cut costs on content-based projects.
I’m not advocating that anything is wrong with this approach. Machines can indeed be far more useful than humans in many industries and circumstances. However, writing is an entirely different game.
Why Are Human Writers Important?
There’s no doubt in concluding that A.I has definitely shown its prowess in helping content creators. It can help eliminate ‘writer’s block,’ suggest ideas, and even supplement writing by suggesting different angles.
However, A.I still lack one essential trait – emotions.
Emotions have always been the most significant differentiating factor between humans and machines. A.I cannot replicate a human’s creativity, emotion, and possibly subtle thinking and perspective, at least not in the near future.
When we writers create a piece of content, whether it is a short blurb for a book, a review article, or even a novel. We put our energy, thinking, creativity, and emotions into it. We ensure that the content we create talks to the reader like a human.
We share perspectives and understand the pain points and desired answers from a reader. As I said, it is like one human talking to another.
All this hype is momentary and will eventually phase out when the next big search engine update arrives. Google recently changed its SERP (search engine rankings) evaluation parameters from E-A-T to E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).
A.I. is undoubtedly a valuable tool for almost everyone. However, it will also be responsible for dumping a lot of irrelevant and unexamined content on the internet that may bury valuable content with its sheer quantity.
Will A.I Replace Writers?
Not all of them. Creative writers like novelists and storytellers will never be replaced. Copywriters will not be replaced, and neither will be subject matter experts. However, people who take writing as a casual side hustle and do not invest in learning will certainly not be doing it to earn ‘a few extra bucks’ here and there.
How Can Writers Tackle A.I?
A.I technology is here to say, and it is certainly an incredible advancement in human history. Rather than despising it, we should try to use it effectively to supplement our writing.
If you are a freelancer, educate your clients that content still needs a lot of refining to do, even after it has been generated by A.I.
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