Thoughts on ChatGPT, from a writer’s perspective

I recently attended a networking event where the subject of the new AI-powered content generator ChatGPT arose. Knowing full well that I am a content expert, several people turned their attention to me, and one blatantly said, “Professional writers should be nervous.” Having already tested ChatGPT – and having loved it – I only smiled. But his point was clear: ChatGPT changes the game for written content production.

So, as a writer, am I nervous? Yes. No. The answer is complicated.

Before I explain, it’s important to mention that I am a member of the Xennial generation. My childhood was spent playing outdoors, with very little technology involved. Sure, we had one color television in my home and a couple of friends had the original Nintendo console (Donkey Kong was an indulgent favorite!), but I didn’t spend meaningful time in front of a screen. My first “car phone” was kept in my glove box and only turned on for emergencies when I started driving as a teen. I had a landline in my dorm room when I attended college. I was one of the first to join Facebook using my university email address – after I graduated and had my first job. Today, I rely on my AI-powered personal assistant/calendar tool, Motion; Siri; Alexa; Waze maps; ride-sharing apps; chatbots and so many other new technologies. I present this dichotomy to demonstrate that I bring a unique perspective about life with and without intelligent technologies at the helm.

It’s also important to note that one of the main industries I support is robotics and emerging tech. My clients have been developing autonomous solutions for nearly a decade, and I have witnessed their incredible positive impact on humanity first-hand. I welcome and embrace new technologies when they improve human lives, efficiency, safety and knowledge sharing. To me, this is exactly what ChatGPT does.

With ChatGPT, those seeking to learn a complicated topic now have immediate information, more concise and customized than scanning a myriad of Google results. Hours-long research for a blog is reduced to seconds. Agonizing first drafts are delivered in a moment. Non-writers now have a supporting tool to help them communicate their thoughts more clearly. In short, speeches, blogs, essays, stories, poems, songs and other forms of written content are now available on demand. For free. And the technology will only improve with additional time and use.

But this does not mean ChatGPT replaces all human writers. The reality is, ChatGPT elevates the game of written content production for people – just as automation is doing in the customer support, healthcare, agriculture, mining, maritime and other industries. Low-level writing will be replaced by intelligent technologies over time.

Trained human writers still should review ChatGPT’s drafts before publishing to confirm statistics, accuracy, style, tone and grammar. And there’s no way (currently) for ChatGPT to produce highly customized marketing pieces, such as:

  • Announcements about a brand-new technology,
  • An interview with a CEO discussing market insights and predictions,
  • Unique brand stories,
  • Real-time updates at events and other live functions,
  • A case study that discusses the impact of a product for a specific customer,
  • SME opinion pieces (like this one!), and so much more.

Of course, ChatGPT can supplement such works with details and data, but it cannot fully replace these specialized efforts, nor do I think it ever will.

It’s also true that new technology makes way for innovation. With each advancement, society gains opportunities to develop guardrails to assist with the challenges that new technologies present. (As an example, check out GPTZero, the latest technology that people can now use to detect ChatGPT and AI involvement in written content.)

In closing, I endorse use of technologies like ChatGPT … with strong human oversight.

ChatGPT is yet another arrow in the quiver of writers, marketers and companies wishing to pump out semi-generic content for their blogs, social pages and more. ChatGPT has its use cases and clearly can help humans do their jobs more efficiently. But, when the marketing content requires a high level of quality and customization, a human is still required.