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Will Writing get More Robotic?

Bradley Rose | 13 May, 2019 | Return|

Recently announced in Seattle by Microsoft, this new AI solution is sophisticated and far reaching in scope. As digital marketing specialists, BBI Brandboost embrace technological advances with enthusiasm. However, in this case, we have some reservations.

I am a robot

Replacing human creativity

BBC Tech reported on the development of Ideas in an article titled “Microsoft Word AI to improve writing.” These improvements will include suggestions to rewrite clunky sentences and change language to ensure that it is “gender inclusive.”

The article also mentions a new AI writing feature just launched by Google, which will not only check grammar but will be able to “detect nuances in language.” Writer and AI expert Calum Chace is quoted as saying: “The more AI can take the low-level composing work off the shoulders of journalists and other writers, the better, but I don't think that AI will replace human creativity.”

Maybe not replace creativity, but it could impede the creative process. We have an experienced team of copywriters that would not make errors relating to gender inclusivity, as we explained in a recent post on our website “Marketing is not just for him”.

We would expect the same degree of acumen from any professional journalist or content writer, as we would rely on them to be able to “detect nuances in language,” a catch-all phrase that seems slightly sinister. Artificial intelligence should not be required in these areas and could be seen as interference rather than support.

Outsourcing attention to detail

Of course, changes suggested by an AI tool like Ideas do not have to be acted upon, but it would require a degree of confidence to ignore them. For instance, would the famous Star Trek split infinitive “to boldly go” have survived the rigour of grammatical scrutiny from artificial intelligence? If the intrepid astronauts were to “go boldly” instead, it would surely have been less memorable.

Also, there is always the danger that reliance can lead to complacency, and that inexperienced writers in particular will become over-dependent on their AI partner to do their checking for them. If you outsource too many elements of the content writing process, it can lead to atrophy and neglect in others; such as the need to verify facts or to carefully analyse background information.

Attention to detail is an important part of the writer’s craft, complementing the flashes of inspiration and innovative ideas that can produce work of exceptional quality. While AI is an incredibly exciting field of development, its involvement in creative writing should be carefully monitored and regularly assessed. Essential writing and grammatical skills should not be passed over to robots, otherwise the copywriting discipline will suffer.

About the Author

Bradley Rose

Bradley Rose

As well as managing the SEO programmes for BBI Brandboost clients, Bradley is also one of our talented team of copywriters. These complementary capabilities ensure that online content enriched for SEO also engages target audiences and offers the highest quality UX. As our dedicated SEO specialist, he is an expert at research, analysis and implementation of the programmes we implement to enhance online visibility for our client brands.

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