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This article was contributed by Matt Shirley, technology consultant and lead content writer for Splinter Economics.
In 2022 and beyond, artificial intelligence (AI) has rapidly progressed to become far more “intelligent” than we would have previously thought possible. There is considerable concern that AI is now “too intelligent,” and, in the wrong hands, AI certainly does threaten to create a humanitarian crisis. “It is most unfortunate that researchers are crazy to build AI-based autonomous weapons systems, without understanding that it can destroy humanity in totality,” wrote author Amit Ray.
Nevertheless, AI offers humanity far greater opportunities for positive development. So, to reiterate, dwelling on the potential negatives of AI prohibits us from being able to explore the true potential that it offers. AI copywriting blends aspects of Machine Learning and Natural Language Generation (NLG) to produce human-like text that is both unique and more or less ready to publish (given the scope is adequately defined).
Natural language generation
Natural language generation (NLG) is the ability behind a computer program to generate human-like text or speech in an intelligent and conversational manner. NLG is a technique that uses rules and algorithms to create structured text from a data source whether that be a huge database or a small text file.
NLG works best when the output needs to be formulaic, repetitive, or predictable — in other words, when there are many ways to say something, but each way has to follow certain rules. Creating user guides, legal documents, contracts, financial statements, instruction manuals, etc. is currently the most effective way to utilize AI tools.
Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are probably the most established and prominent household names built on NLG. However, they are generally considered to be weak AI programs. Their “intelligence” is not yet to a point where it can accurately identify a human’s emotional state. According to Gary Marcus, “What we have now is an approximation to intelligence, not the real thing.”
Will AI replace human copywriters?
So, what does that mean for copywriters? In simple terms, my opinion is that AI isn’t going to replace human copywriters any time soon. This is largely in part to the emotional advantage that humans have over AI. Whilst there have been large developments in how AI analyses data through facial recognition and physiological signals, AI-driven long-form articles usually lack the human touch that converts readers into leads.
This is where the need for humans is still necessary. AI copywriting tools may now be able to write coherently and in an engaging way, but the sentiment of a real human connection can’t be replaced.
At its core, AI isn’t conscious or self-aware. A state of consciousness isn’t something humans can define and there aren’t clear rules or algorithms about what determines “consciousness,” simply AI responds to the programmer’s intention. For example, a self-driving car or a copywriting tool — brilliant ideas, but not sentient AI.
AI writing software is a powerful tool that copywriters can use to assist their writing, helping writers through “human problems” like writer’s block or not having a suitable connective sentence. AI can even understand the tone of voice being used and make suggestions of how to adapt for your target audience.
So, AI can certainly be a useful tool for freelance writers, bloggers, salespeople, and digital marketers; this is because it understands the nuances that come with a particular style meaning AI can help to create all types of content — an ad copy, a blog intro or long-form content.
AI copywriting tools can help copywriters to upgrade their original content or generate entirely new content given a basic plan. However, whilst the content is largely plagiarism-free, AI isn’t capable of generating thought-provoking new ideas. AI does a good job of re-writing content (from a huge number of sources), but it lacks the inspiration and energy human writers are capable of. In simple terms, no, AI is probably not going to replace copywriters or content marketers, but it does serve as a useful tool for the future growth of the industry.
GPT-3 is a new language model (and arguably the most powerful) from OpenAI that’s based on long short-term memory (LSTM). LSTM is a popular type of recurrent neural network, which is used in part generating text and speech. Essentially GPT-3 has the capability to autocomplete and predict anything you write by identifying sequences.
Say, I wrote a short description about hot tubs GPT-3 would analyze that and in seconds could produce hundred of words with a high level of accuracy to support my description. It would then mimic the writing style and tone of my original speech to produce something completely
GPT-3 is an improvement over GPT-2 because it can learn completely new tasks without any sort of labeled data. GPT-3 has been trained using a dataset consisting of almost 500 billion byte-pair encoded tokens. It has over 175 billion parameters, which is absolutely revolutionary and ten times bigger than Microsoft’s Turing NLG. GPT-3 is the driving machine learning model behind almost all AI copywriting tools.
How smart is AI?
“A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human,” said Alan Turing. AI is arguably very smart, it can process and analyze far much more data than any human could imagine. AI will continue to challenge our views about what “intelligence” really is and how much intelligence different species can develop.
On the other hand, in the same way, that we are not poised to yield our place in society to technology, algorithms are simply following the patterns created by human thought. As long as there are humans making artificial intelligence, they will be inherently imperfect. For one, AI has no idea of “meaning”; it simply follows rules of natural language processing, looking for categories, sequences, and order. Therefore, worrying about AI taking over the world in 2022 is probably a bit unattainable!
AI copywriting tools
Naturally, AI can seriously enhance your writing, helping you create far more content than previously possible. Here are some of the current popular AI copywriting tools:
The future of AI in copywriting
AI text copywriting may still be in its infancy, but we have already started to see some major advancements in this area over the last few years. As AI technology advances and even more is learned about human language, AI will undoubtedly become more powerful and precise.
“The promise of artificial intelligence and computer science generally vastly outweighs the impact it could have on some jobs in the same way that, while the invention of the airplane negatively affected the railroad industry, it opened a much wider door to human progress,” said Paul Allen, cofounder of Microsoft.
Whilst it is true that the implementation of machine learning has affected the way copywriting is done, the future of artificial intelligence is very positive for copywriters in all industries.
Matt Shirley is a technology consultant working in the financial services sector and the lead content writer for Splinter Economics, where he aims to provide actionable advice to readers on how to start successful side hustles.
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