The popularity of Artificial Intelligence (AI) writing tools like ChatGPT (“Chat Generative Pre-training Transformer”), a software that allows users to ask questions using conversational language, and its backlashes show that long-form, human-written quality content is back in the headlines.
That’s good news.
It means that AI writing is a powerful tool that you can wield and control. You invite it to work with you, and you can kick it to the curb whenever you want. Its output may sound righteous, and you need to check its sources and correct biases and assumptions, tame it and make it yours.
Will AI replace you, the human writer, anytime soon, as many doomsayers have already proclaimed? No. Because good writing is a labor of love, a skill, an emotion and a mental state that requires a human approach and intuition to reach other humans. As human writers, only we know whom we are addressing — and only a human will write with other humans in mind.
AI writing is a powerful tool that you can wield and control. You invite it to work with you, and you can kick it to the curb whenever you want. Tame it and make it yours. Click To Tweet
Like it or not, AI will be a part of your writing career, and you will use AI tools in your daily work. But AI requires human writers to supply a constant stream of content to harvest. To become more human-like, it would need to acquire common sense. For now, AI only pulls content from various sources and analyzes the what and the how. It doesn’t curate. It doesn’t evaluate. It can’t process the why or the why now. It can’t distinguish between the real and the fake.
Ask yourself what you do best and what AI could do better. Then, explore how you can use AI to reveal concepts that generate authentic outcomes. AI will support, not replace, you. Virtual bots will become our little helpers. We just need to find the right balance between the artificial and the human.
Questions about AI? Here are some answers
What is an AI writing tool, like ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is an advanced computer program fed millions of published documents, books, websites and other research material (data mining). The program uses those resources to train itself to summarize, analyze, communicate creatively and answer questions. More than a million people have tried AI content-creating tools since OpenAI launched its free ChatGPT in November 2022, and many use its Google Chrome add-on. Other AI programs power Google’s and Bing’s search engines.
What AI can do for you:
- initial copyediting
- craft templates and contracts (i.e., “write a contract for a freelancer”)
- create competition- and user profiles and conduct user research
- provide background info — your Wikipedia on steroids
- consider the pros and cons of a topic
- fine-tune headlines
- generate questions and answers to discover new angles
- write summaries (i.e., “summarize the following text”)
- turn an article into a bulleted list
- slice your original longer content into bite-size social media posts (i.e., Lately)
- convert PDF files into workable resources (i.e., Swiss)
- check grammar and spelling (i.e., Grammarly, ProWritingAid, PerfectIt)
- perform basic literal translations (i.e., Google Translate)
What you can do to use AI responsibly:
- use plagiarism detection tools to identify suspicious AI content (i.e., Plag, Originality.ai, GPTZero, Plagibot, Writer)
- apply virtual watermarks to your original content
- train your editors to recognize and flag any issues with AI-generated writing
- establish clear guidelines for AI-assisted writing
- clearly label any usage of AI-generated content in your writing and cite it as a source
- run any copy through an AI content detector before sharing or sourcing it (i.e., https://writer.com/ai-content-detector/. By the way, a typo in a text is a good indicator that it may be human-written
- be aware that your writing may lose some of its distinctiveness. You might get pulled into a perfectionist mindset when confronted with “errors” or suggestions before fully forming your ideas.
Which AI content tools to try:
- AI Writer (generates AI articles from headlines)
- Sudowrite (for authors)
- Lex (word processor with built-in AI)
- Moonbeam (long-form writing assistant)
- ChatGPT (conversational chats); use the paid version
- Perplexity (conversational chats with source attribution)
- Peppertype (for marketing content)
- Cogniwerk (transforms inputs, i.e., “from text to image” or “from audio to text”)
- Dall-E 2 (creates visuals)
How NOT to sound like an AI robot in your writing:
- always adapt your tone and voice to your audience
- ignore AI grammar tool prompts that alert you to get rid of passive voice
- write like you speak and be authentic
- use ‘you’ and ‘I’ and show personality
- get to the point and write clearly and concisely
- provide original points of view and unique perspectives backed by first-hand knowledge that forges human connections
- write with compassion and empathy
- use your imagination
- read your text out loud before you hit publish or send
Always take the AI output with a grain of salt. Some AI-created content is downright false, and is widely mocked as “AI hallucinations.”
I asked ChatGPT about myself, and it eagerly made up a few facts that sound correct but are not:
So, be diligent and cautious. Apply the usual editorial checks and balances: respect copyrights, check sources, give attribution, employ fair sharing policies and follow every other ethical guideline as with your own writing. Don’t copy-paste AI-generated content as is. Let it do the heavy lifting, then fine-tune it and make it yours.
This is what ChatGPT generated when I asked it: “AI — friend or foe?” (I left the output unedited):
“AI writing can be both a friend and a foe, depending on how it is used. On the one hand, AI writing technology can be used to automate routine tasks, such as writing news articles or composing business emails, which can save time and increase efficiency. On the other hand, AI writing technology can also be used to generate fake news or impersonate individuals online, which can be harmful. Overall, the impact of AI writing will likely depend on how it is regulated and used by society.”
Yep. Deploy AI as a powerful tool for your growth right now instead of falling victim to any of its disruptions to your writing career later on.
How human editors should approach AI content
AI won’t replace writers and editors, but those who use AI will replace those who don’t.
What human editors offer that AI utterly lacks are emotional intelligence: creativity, imagination, analytical thinking, empathy, inquiry and critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, human judgment, the ability to see nuances and the sensitivity to discern biases and assumptions. Last but not least, the capability to make judgment calls.
That is a lot — but human writers can deliver.
Steps to take in reviewing AI-generated content:
- Scrutinize the source material and give it attribution
- Fact-check any data, statistics, quotes and dates for accuracy
- Eliminate biases, assumptions and cliches
- Check for plagiarism
- Adjust tone and voice to the intended readers/users/audience
- Edit for clarity, coherence, content flow, authenticity, comprehensiveness, logic and situational context
- Make it sound human, humane and conversational; insert humor and emotions when needed
Bottom line: Editing, fact-checking and reviewing AI-generated content requires a human touch that ensures it is accurate, original and stands out.
Adopt AI-content detection tools for your content
In the age of AI-created content, also human writers have to prove that they’re human. This is a valuable test to pass for any writer in the age of generative AI.
Why? Because not only AI-created content can sound like a robot spat it out. Yours can, too.
AI detection tools analyze whether the content was created by AI or by a human and whether it sounds robotic. These are not plagiarism tools that scan the web and flag duplicates. All they do is analyze the tone and voice of the text and scrutinize whether it sounds like a machine wrote it.
Your human writing, too, may veer into the inexpressive and come across as impassive, and it helps to plug your text into one of these tools and get answers.
Careful, though: They aren’t foolproof and may identify original content as automated output or AI content as human-written. OpenAI, the entity behind ChatGPT, admitted recently that “while some (including OpenAI) have released tools that purport to detect AI-generated content, none of these have proven to reliably distinguish between AI-generated and human-generated content.”
Regardless, they can give you an indication of how something may come across to your readers. These detectors run algorithms, perform linguistic analyses in seconds and discover subtle hints that make a text sound too machinelike.
And that’s all a seasoned writer needs. We’ll take it from here, fine-tune our prose, edit it with our readers in mind, use emotions and adopt a more conversational tone to let go of our inner automaton.
Here are a few AI-content detection tools to try*
- Hive Moderation
- Content at Scale
* All links worked at the time of writing, and the online tools were up and running for free. Please alert me if they aren’t.
AI detection tools give you an idea of how your writing sounds. Many are flawed since human-written text may be flagged as AI content, and AI content could pass as created by a human. Regardless, they can help you improve your writing and should be part of your drafting and editing process.
And before publishing anything, read your creation out loud and listen to how it sounds. No algorithms are needed.
Maybe we shouldn’t fight AI with AI after all. What do you think?
Create your AI job title and own it
So, now that AI writing is here and human editors are needed more than ever, your job as a sentient writer or editor is more important than ever. But you might have to pivot and get ready for a bumpy ride.
I predict employers/recruiters will invent a new professional title for editing AI content and create a new position. Then, seasoned editors will apply for that job and be rejected because they don’t have [enter newly created position/title here] on their resume.
Sounds familiar? The same has happened with jobs for UX Writers, Localization Experts, Content Strategists and Content Creators.
Accomplished writers could have easily taken on these positions, but many were left behind because they thought they didn’t have what it takes to succeed.
This time, we should be prepared.
Let’s be clear: AI is impressive. I use AI tools for some of my writing and research.
My concern is regarding the labor market and new job titles for AI and how recruiters/employers might again shun seasoned editors and assume they lack the relevant experience.
They’d conveniently forget, however, that we’re all starting from scratch here, young and old. All they would do is turn this into a covert form of ageism yet again. Don’t let them.
So, let’s get creative. With AI writing on the rise, what do you predict could be the new professional titles for editors working with AI content? Participate in my brief anonymous online poll and pick your favorite new job titles for editors and writers working with AI, or add your own.
Here are some AI job title suggestions for content creators:
AI Writing Strategist: This role would involve developing strategies for incorporating AI-generated content into editorial workflows.
Content Personalization Manager or Developmental Editor for AI Content: This role would involve AI to personalize content for specific audiences and optimize engagement.
AI Writing Quality Assurance Specialist; AI Content Quality Assurance Editor; Content Ethics Compliance Manager; AI Content Editor & Quality Control; AI Content Review Specialist: This role would ensure that all AI-generated content meets quality standards and is error-free.
Human-AI Writing Collaboration Manager: This role would involve managing the collaboration between human writers and AI tools to produce high-quality content.
Data-Driven Editor: This role would use data analysis tools to identify trends and insights that inform editorial decisions.
Intelligent Content Developer: This role would involve creating content optimized for consumption by humans and machines.
Machine Learning Editor; Content AI Analyst: This role would involve using machine learning algorithms to analyze large volumes of data and identify patterns that can inform editorial decisions.
Natural Language Processing (NLP) Editor; AI Content Editor;
AI Content Post Editor: This role would involve using NLP techniques to analyze text data and improve the quality of written content.
AI (Actual Intelligence) Editor; Sentient Editor: These roles include all of the above.
Add one of these titles to your resume or online profile. Don’t let yourself get steamrolled. Stay relevant.
Case in point: a few days after writing this post, Bloomberg reported the “entry to an entirely new profession” with job postings for an “AI Prompt Engineer/AI Whisperer” to coax AI output/responses, with an annual salary of 325K. The sub-headline for its article: “The fast-growing apps have created a seller’s market for anyone — even liberal arts grads — capable of manipulating its output.”
And Andrej Karpathy, Tesla’s former chief of AI, tweeted in January 2023: “The hottest new programming language is English.”
I couldn’t make this up if I tried.
Let us regulate AI sooner rather than later to prevent misuse and copyright infringements. Until then, use it responsibly and provide your readers with excellent writing — as only humans can.
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