Is technology taking over the writing world?

writing technology

Is technology taking over the writing world?

Technology has already taken over 90% of the jobs humans used to do. The general consensus is that artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics have improved our lives beyond what could have been imagined only a few decades ago. But, anyone who has seen I, Robot will understand why many people are still concerned about the growing role technology plays in our everyday lives.

If technology is taking over all the tasks people used to do, what is left for us? Surgeons are up against robots with much steadier hands. Factory workers compete with robots that are faster than them, never get tired, and don’t complain about having to work 20-hour shifts at Christmas. Then there’s us: writers. What are we competing with?

Writing technology

There might come a day when a robot can sit in a lamp-lit room, twiddle their beard, and channel past trauma into a 15-page poem about leaves like a human can. But, that's not today. Although, judging from this robot’s entry into a poetry contest that time might be sooner than expected. Still, the amount of apps and software available to take over fundamental writing processes is increasing all the time. For example:

  • In March 2016 in Japan, a sci-fi novel written by an AI programme passed the first round of a literary competition.

  • Some software doesn’t create content. Instead, it maintains coherence between various documents. It keeps things like language, the tone of voice, and style the same across your content.

  • Some software can even write blogs from scratch using a topic of your choice.

These applications are great for writers who are low on time or are suffering from writer's block. They are also great for writers who don’t care about accuracy, creativity, and tailoring their writing to meet the client’s needs. These areas are where AI struggles the most.

The trouble with writing software

The problem with using AI to write is that despite the name, AI is quite dumb. It can follow instructions perfectly, but only certain instructions, and you have to be very specific. And, if you want any form of interpretation on instructions from AI, you can forget about it. Everything is literal.

For example, I asked one ‘blog writing’ app to write an article on ‘horse riding in the UK’. I had to change this topic from ‘horses’ because that wasn’t specific enough for the software to comprehend. Fair enough. So, I changed it to ‘horse riding’ - still too complex. Then I settled by adding ‘in the UK’ much to the app's delight. It got to work, crafting the amazing blog I was so ready for, and when the loading bar finally hit 100% here’s what my new robot friend had to say on the topic:

“It's your breeches on account of the manner of such horse riding equipment, but your pair of breeches can act as your insulating material layer over a pair of thermal tights in the event that your legs actually feel the cold beneath the first parts to feel the chilly and cause you the most distress when.”

What? This paragraph was poor enough, but then the robot followed up with:

“In addition, do not forget your feet.”

Not only is this article completely nonsensical, but to insinuate that the reader may leave their own feet somewhere other than the bottom of their legs was one step too far. It was clear that we content writers haven’t a thing to worry about.

While technology can produce a 500-word piece of content, with impeccable spelling, it still has no idea of who it’s targeting, the business it is representing, the correct tone of voice, any references or statistics to back up what it’s saying, or how not to speak like an alien sent to find out more about their ‘fellow humans’.

Unfortunately, these are all the things that content writers and their clients value the most, and are good at creating, to provide original, creative content, that does what it’s supposed to - inform readers and generate brand awareness, traffic, and sales. Telling people online not to forget their feet just won’t cut it.

Time savers

You could argue that this technology takes the hard work out of writing. All you have to do is edit it and be on your way. But, as many more experienced writers will say, when it comes to content, writing isn’t usually the hard part. It’s the editing afterwards and trying to make something creative into a powerful marketing tool that has strict guidelines. If you start with poor content (I’m looking at you, robot friend), then you will finish with inferior content.

The need for creative human minds in content writing is more alive than ever. Yes, technology can help speed up some parts of the process, but it cannot hold a candle to the work professionals can do, or give your clients what they need.

If you’re in need of captivating, original, and effective content marketing, give Coster Content a call on 07462 455 894.

Alia Coster