Should copywriters be concerned about AI?

AI copywriting tools have been around now for a few years, but there has always been a level of scrutiny as to their effectiveness at creating engaging and logical copy. When these tools were first introduced, the insertion of a few key words would churn out a piece of copy that was often illogical and without flow. However, it might be time for those within the creative and copywriting industry to pay them more attention as these tools have been developing and the evolution of their content has provided some interesting outcomes, let’s discuss.

The evolution of AI

In November 2022, OpenAI released a new chatbot, ChatGPT, a tool able to write effective copy, generate lines of coding and answer questions provided to it. The president of OpenAI, Greg Brockman, confirmed that the site had reached over 1 million users in just 5 days. Sure, turning out a few lines of copy might be nothing revolutionary but a study carried out by Arizona State University provided some very interesting findings.

Dan Gillmor, a journalism professor at Arizona State University, presented the task of writing a letter to a relative giving advice regarding online security and privacy. ChatGPT was not only capable of putting together a full length response to this question but when asked about his findings Gilmor stated that he “would have given this a good grade, academia has some very serious issues to confront”. I find this to be highly interesting as it shows the breadth of application there could be for such tools. With them able to produce academic level results that are coming up as original works, there is certainly room for concern for those working in content development. 

Don’t panic… yet

As impressive as this development is, there is no need for panic just yet for us copywriters. There are still fundamental flaws within these tools and the above example is a good indicator of how, although these tools can pull logical and factual conclusions together with resources online, they still [and perhaps always will] lack the most crucial element to effective copy – the human touch.

We are emotive in the manner in which we consume content, whether we are looking to laugh, cry or even make our next purchase. This requires a level of emotional creativity that AI is not able to adapt to right now. Even basic use of sarcasm or irony will baffle these tools as they go on to create content specified to the words used, not the tone or sentiment of which they were meant. A problem also faced by increasingly popular sentiment analysis tools is the inability to detect when a customer leaves a negative ironic review. The tool will likely misinterpret it as a positive interaction.

Using AI to your advantage

So where does all this leave us? Although the rapid improvement shown by these AI technologies is indeed impressive they are still at their core pulling previously published information from the internet. The inability to truly create original content is a major drawback here and why human writers will remain so important in the world of messaging. The true power of storytelling often comes from the relationship between writer and source and this level of human touch can be represented in our words. With a machine, this still is still lacking as AI tools are unable to truly pick up how a source conveys information, taking them from a literal standpoint only. Therefore, I believe AI will play a role in the future of copywriting and can certainly aid in speeding up some basic processes, but it is not in the position to be a solidified replacement and the art of storytelling still firmly remains very human.

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