January 7, 2021

When Will Machine Learning Replace Content Writers?

Advancement in technology is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it makes our lives simpler in so many remarkable ways, extends the average lifespan, and allows us to discover things we probably cannot even imagine yet. But on the other hand, it’s no secret that artificial intelligence is threatening millions of jobs, and will continue to do so even more in the future.

In a recent Gallup poll, it was found that major industries such as Manufacturing and Construction, Retail, Transportation, Computer, Education, Science, and Engineering will all be impacted by advancements in automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics. People, unfortunately, will lose their jobs.

The marketing world has already seen some impact from a tool called automation. Companies have already adopted automation and AI technology for things like chatbots and customer service roles, in a bid to streamline processes and lower costs.

Some believe that in the next 10 years, AI and machine learning will do away with the need to hire content writers to write reviews. AI will be able to do a basic review of a site like an online casino and give a more accurate picture than a human reviewer.

But can AI really take the place of a content writer?

Content automation is made up of two key elements – Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Generation (NLG). Both of these are used to create content that attempts to sound as natural as if it was written by a human content writer.

With these two elements already in place and at work, it may be safe to say that AI can take the place of a content writer, and may already be doing so.

But if you ask the pros, it’s certainly NOT happening now, and may not happen for many years to come – if at all.

The main reason is that it is near impossible for a machine to write the way a human does. It cannot write with passion and emotion, nor can it create innovative thoughts or spark debates.

The marketing industry is based on professional storytelling. This requires emotion. AI simply cannot replicate human emotion, no matter how good the technology.

Consumers today are savvy and they will very soon be able to recognize brands that haven’t tapped into the human side of marketing. They want to know that the brand understands them – really understands them – and is not leaving their campaigns or reviews up to some bot with no sympathy or understanding of what makes humans tick.

That’s not to say that we can’t use AI as a tool for certain aspects of content writing. For example, Artificial Intelligence is great to help trigger ideas for topics to write about if you’re stuck.

Also, AI is the ideal tool to help with content optimization. This means that the content you write about is optimized for search. And it’s not just about using keywords as in the case of search engine optimization (SEO). It’s also about learning how to create content that your readers will find engaging, using the right words to do so.

Artificial intelligence also lacks a basic understanding of culture. It may understand the very basics of the Western content market, for example, but it can never be fluent enough in Western cultural subtleties. And for now, AI is nowhere being fluent in conversational writing. An important point made by Michelle Halsey in her article on medium.com is that culture is not just about ethnicity or geography. She points out that every industry or general interest market has its own subculture that informs buyer personas. “If human intelligence has a tough time reading the room, it’s going to be a while before artificial intelligence can pick up on and communicate cultural nuances,” she writes.

It’s hard to see AI breaking into the greater global niche, let alone the thousands of micro-niches in the world around us.

That’s not to say that in the future, artificial intelligence won’t be sophisticated enough to generate quality content. We don’t know for sure. But for the moment, it’s the work of an empathetic and instinctive human to create blogs, reviews, and other content that is tailored to address the right persona with the right message, at the right time. Until such time that AI can replicate that to a T, content writers can sleep well at night.

About the author 

Peter Hatch

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