You have probably seen all the posts about ChatGPT. Everyone seems to be raving about it. It’s quick. And it’s currently free. But that doesn’t mean it generates quality copy.
As a copywriter, you might argue that I would say that, wouldn’t I. But here are some of the reasons why I say it.
AI is designed to help content creators because it generates low-cost content fast. It doesn’t help customers. They don’t need ‘content’. They need insight. Knowledge. Information that can only come from human intelligence.
AI can only respond to the quality of the input. It can’t ask probing questions. It can’t tell what’s missing. It can’t fill in the blanks. It can’t generate original thought. It’s repetitive. It can only replicate what’s already out there. It can’t sense-check. It makes mistakes. It’s boring. Also, Google doesn’t want to rank AI-written copy and swiftly works out how to recognise and downgrade the copy it generates.
Governments are already discussing how to watermark AI content (I heard that in a Radio 4 discussion).
And there’s a question about who owns the copyright of copy generated by AI. Is it whoever wrote the original content that it has repurposed? The person who briefed it? The end client? The AI tool? The AI programmer?
Sadly, people who think AI writes good copy don’t know what good copy looks like. For example, AI wrote this grammatically incorrect sentence:
“The family huddled together in the living room were trying to stay warm”
And it created a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ story with this weak ending:
“With this new information in hand, Sherlock and Watson are able to track down the thief.”
Copy should not be assessed by how speedily it was created, or by the price the client paid. The only measure of success is the impact it has on the reader. The results it achieves.
AI is a tool. Not a replacement.
Admittedly, it might have potential for generating an initial draft which you can then build on to inject humanity and emotion and personality.
It depends on whether you want copy written for humans or for machines. AI could help if you’re writing for search engines rather than people. It can replace so-called ‘copy’ churned out for abysmal rates by content mills. That’s not the market where proper copywriters operate.
I haven’t yet seen any AI-generated output that is as good as the copy I write. Even I am sometimes surprised by what my brain can produce.
For example, I wrote this:
Copy should be judged with your heart and your mind. Not your watch and your wallet.
I don’t know where that idea came from. I like it. I like the alliteration. I like the poetry of it. I wasn’t aware of thinking about it. It just popped into my head.
When ‘in flow’, it feels as though I’m just a channel. Ideas flow from the universe down through my fingertips to the keyboard or pen. I don’t feel I’ve had anything to do with it.
No AI can write in the style of Jackie Barrie. Even I don’t always write the same way. I’ve posted 1281 articles on this blog since May 2007, every one different, every one based on something that’s recently happened in real life.
Similarly, when Nick Cave saw a song written by ChatGPT ‘in the style of Nick Cave’, he said: “This song sucks… it’s a travesty… it’s bullsh*t.”
Is AI ready to replace all copywriters so we can put our feet up in a hammock, read books and be served cocktails by our own personal butler?
AI can’t write like a proper copywriter, so it doesn’t threaten proper copywriters. Happily, there will always be clients willing to pay proper money for proper copy.
However, ChatGPT worries me. Not because it’s so good. But because so many other people seemed to think it’s so good.
It just means we copywriters will need to market ourselves in a way that proves our worth to prospective clients who don’t know the difference.
To determine the percentage of AI content, use https://originality.ai – “A Plagiarism Checker and AI Detector Built for Serious Content Publishers”