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Can AI-Created Content Compete? Don’t  Count Human Writing Out Just Yet

Technology’s influence on the content creation process is undeniable. Software designed to check for spelling, grammar, keyword density, and plagiarism, for example, has become a standard tool for those writing content. Technological advancements have not only impacted how content is analyzed after it is written but have even led to AI-created content.

Copywriters and content marketing strategists know that creating well-written and timely copy that is up to the latest SEO standards is no easy task. Yet, artificial intelligence has led to machine-driven content. With a machine writing the content, how does it not sound like it was written by, well, a machine?

Illustration by mast3r via Bigstock

Content Created by Artificial Intelligence

The Pew Research Center conducted a national study of 2,001 adults regarding their views on computers taking over human tasks in the workplace. The belief that “robots and computers will “definitely” or “probably” do much of the work currently done by humans” within 50 years was held by 65% of Americans. Numerous examples already exist of companies successfully using artificial intelligence to create content.

Quill

Narrative Science is a Chicago-based software company that began as a Northwestern University artificial intelligence research project. Quill, their patented platform, uses AI to write like humans do in a conversational tone that is adaptable to a company’s style. As a Natural Language Generation system, it analyzes data to understand what information would be meaningful to readers. The results are “Intelligent Narratives” or relevant stories that mimic the natural tone of a human.

Here is an example a portion of one of their narratives: “Total margin in the United States is way up through June of 2016, climbing to $306M, an 80.71% increase over 2015. The increase was driven by an additional 10,022 in unit sales.”

Other Examples

Not every example sounds as sophisticated and natural as Quill’s. The Botnik Studios team inputted seven Harry Potter novels into a predictive keyboard to create a new Harry Potter story. The results are both hilarious and telling of the potential downfalls when the content of a creative nature is not written by humans.

“Leathery sheets of rain lashed at Harry’s ghost as he walked across the grounds towards the castle. Ron was standing there and doing a kind of frenzied tap dance,” the new narrative read. If you were ever an avid reader of the Harry Potter novels, you probably noticed the language usage in this example has a great resemblance to the originals.

Yet, it lacks the element of creative stories where fantasy, though not based on our factual reality, is understood by humans as reasonable within the context of the story. Ron went on to “eat Hermione’s family” suddenly, which we can all agree is not very relatable despite the predictive keyboard’s best attempts. If you are interested in examples of AI content in the news, search “This story was generated by Automated Insights.”

Benefits of AI Content

The use of artificial intelligence to create content has three major benefits. Human writing should not be counted out because even many of the benefits suggest changing roles for human writers rather than the elimination of them. Therefore, not every benefit is a comparison between AI and humans where AI won.

1. Efficiency

Even though most content creators experience writer’s block, a lack of stories to report or topics to discuss is rarely an issue in today’s face-paced society where consumers have constant access to media with high expectations about the speed and accuracy of its delivery.

AI systems don’t require a healthy seven hours of sleep to function optimally like the average human writer does. Given the 24/7 nature of content demand, especially as breaking news stories develop, artificial intelligence can be an efficient way to keep up with such demand.

The time involved for content creators  for weeding through stories and topics to cover and implementing the latest SEO best practices and presentation structuring, plus actually writing the content, is significant. AI-created content is put together using data that considers all of these factors with speed that human writers cannot match.

2. New Approach to New Demands

Factors that impact efficiency are reflective of new demands in the world of content creation and content marketing strategy. As social media platforms, blog standards, and SEO practices continue to shift, approaching the way content is created, in this case, by a machine instead of a human, will shift, and artificial intelligence can be of benefit to adapt to new demands.

3. Machines Help Humans Writer Better

Certain content requires more attention and experience due to its complexity. Content creators have to balance their time in producing complex content that is well-researched and interesting with getting it out in a timely manner before it’s no longer relevant.

In 2014, The Associated Press’ earnings reports started to be automated. They were composed by algorithms. The result?  Their journalists had 20 percent more time to use toward “more complex and qualitative work,” according to their report titled “The Future of Augmented Journalism: A guide for newsrooms in the age of smart machines.”

Don’t Count Out Humans Writers

When machines take over content that lends itself particularly well to artificial intelligence, it allows human writers more time to focus on content that machines can’t mimic. That’s of key importance: There are aspects of writing that machines cannot mimic.

Human writers are storytellers who experience and understand human emotions. AI-created content is produced after a system assesses data. Human-created content is produced by using human minds that understand human thought, emotion, and motivation with an intimacy that machines will never have, no matter how close they get.

If you decide to use AI-created content, humans are not completely out of the equation. Artificial intelligence narratives still make mistakes. Content creators might take on the role of manager or editor rather than acting as the primary writer with more content being written using AI.

While AI-created content might lend itself particularly well to a news report, human writers are still of great value. If you in the process of creating a content marketing strategy, don’t count out human writers. Machines can’t touch the emotional intelligence humans bring to the content creation process.

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Officer

Annie has over 20 years of experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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