Will the rise of AI take over my writing job?

Artificial Intelligence

Creating content is a craft: it’s an age-old craft that machines have been taught and can perfect. Writing stories is an art: it’s as old as human existence, I don’t think that machines can ever learn how to tell stories the way humans can.

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I have a friend called Mwass. Well, he’s really an acquaintance that I met through this column and connected with further through my books. We’re pen pals, Mwass and I, we talk to each other through emails.

Mwass lives in Nyahururu and does... many things, I don’t know, I don’t ask. What I know for sure is that he has three mutts, a telescope and that he inherited his dad’s newspapers and magazines, the issues are from the 70s to the 90s, bound and preserved.

A year ago, while giving me feedback about my first book, Mwass wrote this as part of a lengthy email: “As a writer, there is a need to taper your excitement, Bett. That area of specialisation is being overshadowed by the advancement of AI [artificial intelligence], through the machine and deep learning. Take it from me as a frontline, writing skills are no longer unique to humans.

“In the past five years, I have witnessed fellow coders coding AI systems that have learned to write and can now create easy-to-read and understandable texts whether from a press conference or writing a book.

“Unlike five years ago, AI is now able to create stories about personal experiences as well as emotions and cognitive perceptions. Flooding of data and the effortlessness of self-publishing means anyone can deliver writing and content at any time and almost anywhere.”

Mwass carried on, “That is where the writing business is heading as the AI has an enormous learning advantage over a normal human (for example, you specialise in finance and not banking, AI can deliver both simultaneously and can already create any articles or publish books without any problems).

“In short, we need your writing but it is not sustainable economically in the medium and long term. Start planning for your next chapter and keep writing as a hobby for seasonal earnings. Perhaps, I could be wrong with my assumption. Only the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the present, and future will tell.”

An ominous tune played in my head. I heard a voice echoing, The end is nigh! The robots will arise and take over your job! Adapt or die! Mwass is right: there are tech tools that have been developed to write articles for websites, social media, newspapers and even books.

Ready-to-publish articles

These tools create clean ready-to-publish articles much faster than any human ever can. And because it’s a tool for writing articles for another tool, you can get the two tools talking so that one tool creates and the other tool shares it with the audience. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

There are many content-creation tools floating about on the Internet. I haven’t used any of these tools, this is what I got from a lazy Google search: Grammarly Business, Writesonic, Rytr, ChatGPT, among others.

ChatGPT is the most popular. It boasts about writing in a conversational tone that’s very human-like. You ask it a question and boom, it writes you a couple of hundred words that’ll get your content going.

You can ask more questions to get more clarity, it’ll keep answering, and it doesn’t get tired. Or impatient – never will it sigh or roll its eyes at you. You’ll then take everything it has given you, paste it on MS Word and massage the copy to your desired taste.

Employing tech to create and share your content will save you a lot of time and money, no doubt about that. You can use that saved time to do other interesting things with your life (like looking at Jupiter through a telescope in your attic) while having more money coming into your pocket. 

Here’s that thing, though. Creating content is a craft: it’s an age-old craft that machines have been taught and can perfect. Writing stories is an art: it’s as old as human existence, I don’t think that machines can ever learn how to tell stories the way humans can.

There is a method to the craft but there is no method to the art. Art is personal and imperfect, it’s erratic. It’s informed by the emotions at the moment and a heart-felt experience from your memory. There is also a great element of the artist’s personality. An artist’s personality has a texture and colour and whiff that you’re drawn to. (Which machine will write in an article ‘easy peasy, lemon squeezy’?)

You connect with my stories – and with me – because humans connect with other humans. No human has ever fallen in love with a robot. (Imagine me telling my girls, ‘I have a crush on Rytr.’ Ha-ha.) 

The best thing I can do for myself is to keep progressive thinkers like Mwass in my corner, him and his mutts. I must also familiarise myself with these tools because they could help me make more money and become so rich that never will I have to worry about robots again.

@_craftit; [email protected]


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