As a writer, editor, content marketer, and journalism professor, you can imagine that many people ask me what I think about ChatGPT and other AI writing tools. I decided to first get a little meta and ask ChatGPT what people think about it, then I’ll give you my two cents.
What ChatGPT Says People Think About It
Here’s what ChatGPT says about itself. Ok, it’s mostly what it says about itself. I edited it for grammar.
Some people view AI writing as a fascinating and innovative technology that can help to automate and streamline certain tasks, such as content creation, translation, and customer service. They see language models like ChatGPT as powerful tools that can assist with writing, research, and communication in various industries and sectors.
Other people are more skeptical of AI writing and express concerns about this technology’s potential ethical and social implications. They worry that AI-generated content could be used to spread misinformation or propaganda or that it could lead to job losses in fields like journalism or writing.
Overall, the opinions about AI writing and ChatGPT are diverse and often depend on individual perspectives, experiences, and attitudes toward technology and innovation.
My View of AI Writing Tools
I agree with everything ChatGPT said about itself. I was pretty impressed by what it wrote.
Excellent Potential Tools
AI writing programs are excellent tools that people should take advantage of. Why would you not use the tools at your disposal? It’s like using a screwdriver to build a fence when you have a cordless drill. The right tool saves you time and effort. It makes a project easier to complete. It can sometimes even make the work look more professional — if you know how to use it.
Not Yet Developed
And that’s my biggest concern about AI writing tools to date. You have to carefully feed them information to get the results you want and need. You can spend more time setting up prompts and editing results than you would if you just did the writing yourself. In short, I don’t think AI will replace writers any time soon.
AI writing tools don’t allow you to leave your brain at home. “
Just like with spell check, Grammarly, Readable, or any other writing tool, you have to use critical thinking to decide which recommendations to apply and which to leave behind. You have to know the difference between public and pubic or if that subject-verb relationship is actually accurate. Humans don’t always get these things right, but robots don’t, either. I’ll put my money on myself any day.
I’m not concerned about AI writing tools spreading propaganda or misinformation. We already have television “news” networks and social media for that. AI isn’t the problem here. But I do worry about the ethical implications of using these tools. For example, should professors allow students to use AI on course assignments? Is an AI tool like using a calculator? As content marketers, are we obligated to tell clients if we use AI tools? And, if so, at what level? What if we use AI to write a brief or a social media post? Do we have to reveal that? And, finally, what are the ethical obligations for writers? Must we tell our audience when what we present is AI generated, even in part?
I don’t have answers to all the ethical questions AI creates. I’m sure we’ll figure it out as we go. Overall, my position is that we’re obligated to be honest and transparent, just as I was above about using an excerpt from ChatGPT.
What Should You Use AI Writing Tools For?
So, the question becomes, what should you use AI writing tools for right now? It depends a lot on your industry and the expectations of your job.
Current AI writing tools are great for:
- Basic Correspondence. Don’t want to write that email or professional letter? Uncertain about what to say? Have AI write it for you.
- Social Media Posts. AI is pretty great at giving direction on short content like social media posts.
- Content Outlines or Briefs. AI does a good job of pulling resources and giving you content direction based on keywords and what content is currently ranking.
- Rephrasing. Some AI writing tools will take a few sentences or paragraph you wrote and rephrase them for you. You have to watch for passive voice, but it’s a great tool when you feel like you’re explaining a concept for the millionth time and want it to read differently.
What to Avoid When Using AI
Personally, I don’t think AI is ready for long-form writing yet. I’ve played with a few tools, and the content I got looked like a terrible writer wrote it. I spent more time editing it than I would have if I’d written it myself. I also didn’t have full confidence in the information, so I needed to fact-check. Let’s just say that I won’t be looking to replace my writing team any time soon.
Regardless of what you use AI tools to write, avoid using the content without reading, fact-checking, and editing it. Academic institutions and others are already deciding that using AI-generated content is plagiarism. I also expect Google and other search engines to avoid ranking AI-generated content in search results. But, most importantly, you want your writing to be uniquely yours and represent you well. Even if you’re using an AI tool to write a form email, you must read and edit it before pressing send.
The Final Word (for Now)
My final word on AI, for now, is this — embrace it. AI isn’t going anywhere, and it will continue developing. You’d be silly not to use the tools at your disposal. But there’s no need to polish your resume because the bots aren’t coming for your job — at least not immediately. If you aren’t sure if a use is ethical, focus on transparency and doing what’s right by the actual people involved in the query. All of the rest will work itself out.
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