Thoughts On AI Content

It would seem that we’re living in the future. The gradual evolution of A.I. is something that has been creeping up on us for a while now, but only in the last year or so has it really become the hotly contested topic that it currently is. 

For those of us who make our living in blogging, affiliate marketing, or doing any job that has to do with writing and producing content. A.I. has become a massive elephant in the room. There are, understandably, a lot of questions surrounding it. What can A.I. do? What can’t it do? Is it good or bad? Am I out of a job?

You won’t be surprised to learn that I have some thoughts on the subject. I’ll get into what A.I. can potentially contribute a little further down the line, but I’ll start by telling you one thing it definitely can’t do: take the place of human experience. 

The Shortcomings of A.I.

I’ll be upfront about the fact that I’ve found A.I. to be useful in some ways. It’s great for doing lightning-fast research, for generating ideas when faced with writer’s block, and for producing mountains of content in very little time, even if the content it produces still needs a lot of work before it’s ready to be published and read by human eyes. 

But A.I. has some serious drawbacks. It lacks creativity. It lacks originality. It lacks soul. But most of all, it lacks the ability to experience the world the way a human being does, and no matter how great the advancements in technology may become, that’s one hurdle no computer can ever get over. 

Can A.I. Write a Review?

Let’s take writing a product review for example. This is something I find myself doing quite often, and I’ve learned that there’s only one way to do it well. You have to get the product, use it in the ways that it’s intended to be used, and see how it holds up. 

There may be only one way to write a good review, but there are a lot of ways to write a bad review. You could take a crack at it without ever holding the actual product in your hand, which is a lot like reviewing an album without ever listening to it. Or you can ask A.I. to do it, which is even worse. 

How Does A.I. Write?

The thing is, when you ask A.I. to write something, it isn’t writing based on its own knowledge, experience, or opinions (for the record, A.I. doesn’t have its own knowledge, experience, or opinions). 

What happens is, A.I. analyzes a mountain of data and then uses the millions upon billions of source materials available to synthesize new copy that has, quite literally, been copied from the resources that already exist. 

The results tend to be obviously repurposed from articles and sources that are already on the web. If it was published just the way it was created, the average reader would be able to spot it as A.I.-generated content in a heartbeat. 

What’s Wrong With A.I.-Generated Content?

For starters, it’s just bad writing. A.I. may be able to take in data and spit out words, but it doesn’t understand how to organize words, phrases and sentences into coherent writing that flows naturally, makes sense, and keeps the reader entertained. At best, it’s boring writing, and at worst, it can be truly incomprehensible. 

Reading A.I. content is often comparable to reading something that has been translated from another language by an Internet translator, as opposed to something that was translated by an actual human who speaks the two languages. Ultimately, the flaws of A.I. writing are easy to sum up: 

  • It falls short in areas of creativity and originality, sometimes paraphrasing its sources to the point of plagiarism. 
  • It lacks expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (often abbreviated as E-A-T), three qualities that help content rank well on Google searches.
  • It may be devalued by Google algorithms, and often fails to pass A.I detectors, which are becoming more common and effective at spotting A.I.-generated content. 
  • It struggles to make content that is relevant and engaging. It can’t “read the room,” so to speak, and while it can be asked to replicate a certain tone, it often fails to understand context. 

Is There Anything Good About A.I.?

Like I said upfront, A.I. is good at creating a lot of words quickly, efficiently and affordably. But it can only do so with very simple, rudimentary types of content. Even then, it still requires a lot of work to shape A.I.-generated content into something readable. 

In my experience, anything written by a computer always has to pass before human eyes and go through extensive editing to ensure that it’s readable, relevant, engaging, factually correct and free from plagiarism. 

A.I. can be a time-saver when you need to produce lots of cookie-cutter content, and I have certainly found opportunities to use it that way. It can be a good writer’s assistant, but it will never replace an actual writer. Ultimately, anyone who thinks they can do affiliate marketing and product reviews with A.I. is living in a fantasy world. 

Final Thoughts

If there’s one thing I can say is positive about the rise of A.I., it’s that it has truly highlighted how essential the human element is to good writing. Personal experience and a creative spark are two ingredients that cannot be replaced. 

And look, A.I. isn’t going to go away. It’s a bell that can’t be unrung, and I’m not suggesting we have to fight against it. A.I. is a tool, and like any tool, it’s neither good nor evil. It’s simply meant to do a job, and ultimately it’s up to us to decide how to use it. 

Go ahead and use A.I. to generate ideas or to fight your way through writer’s block. But don’t expect it to do all your writing for you.

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