How to Talk to Your Boss About AI Writing Tools
The human touch is still a critical element of content creation in both media and marketing, but your boss may be too excited about ChatGPT to realize it.
Generative AI is poised to transform the world of content creation, and writers and editors are grappling with the question of how to adapt and concerns about job security. The challenge they face is that decision-makers in media and marketing are excited—some might say too excited—about the potential of AI in writing. Writers who are concerned about the impact of AI may have on their careers are in some cases reluctant to bring it up. After all, why speed up AI integration into newsrooms and advertising departments? But that's a short-sighted and dangerous way to think about the impact of AI on writing careers. Tools like Jasper and Copy.AI are only a threat to those who don't take them seriously.
In this article, we explore how to have productive conversations with bosses about AI writing tools about the limitations of AI, the importance of human creativity, and human-computer partnerships in content careers. By taking a clear-eyed and optimistic approach, writers can help control the narrative around AI.
The Rise of the Machines: It's Too Easy to Fall for the Hype Around AI Writing Tools
As the hype surrounding AI writing tools reaches a fever pitch, some decision-makers are operating under the assumption that artificial intelligence is a silver bullet solution for content creation. They may see AI copywriting software as a cheap replacement for human writers—a way to cut costs and maximize efficiency. But this myopic view overlooks the nuanced complexities of good writing.
While AI tools may be able to streamline certain aspects of the writing process, they are not infallible. Output tends to lack the human touch that makes writing truly compelling. Assuming they are a replacement for talented writers is a mistake that will ultimately lead to disengaged audiences. The issue is that no one is telling VPs, executives, and other decision-makers that AI is not a panacea, and that the best results come from a hybrid approach that combines the strengths of humans and machines.
The Talk: What Your Boss Needs to Know
Writers who avoid having "the talk" with their bosses do so at their own peril. Decision-makers are already contemplating AI-integration. Proactive writers and editors get to be part of the conversation while writers and editors who avoid talking about AI writing tools may find themselves forced to use those tools in the worst possible ways.
While AI writing tools can streamline idea generation or speed up some elements of the writing process, it's important to recognize that tools like ChatGPT often generate copy that requires extensive editing. AI-generated content may also be riddled with factual inaccuracies and the potential for unintentional plagiarism is all too real. “Content generated by ChatGPT looks trustworthy and professional, but often isn’t,” Dennis Soemers, a moderator for Stack Overflow, told the New York Times.
What it comes down to is that AI can only follow predefined patterns, and it lacks the creativity and spontaneity that is the hallmark of good writing. Writers should explain to their bosses that AI is just another tool in the editorial or copywriting toolkit, not a replacement for human skill and expertise. Currently, AI writing tools are better at short-form content creation than longer-form writing, and more complex content needs to be written by human writers.
Writers should also stress the importance of maintaining high editorial standards, even when using AI writing tools. Content farms didn't produce anything of worth when humans were doing the writing; AI won't do any better. Scaling up content creation using AI is a dangerous game, because organizations can't rely on these tools to generate content without human oversight. Editors have to review every piece AI-generated content for accuracy, tone, and style. They should ensure that any work produced using AI is factually correct, engaging, and appropriate for the target audience. In short, AI writing tools can supplement human skill but not replace it.
The Elephant in the Room: Addressing Job Security Concerns
As writers discuss AI writing tools with their bosses, they shouldn't be afraid to bring up their concerns about job security in the face of increasing automation. It's not hyperbole to suggest that the rise of automation in marketing, AI in journalism, and writing tools powered by AI is a threat to writers' livelihoods. One recent report by the World Economic Forum predicts that by 2025, automation may lead to the displacement of over 85 million jobs worldwide.
As scary as that is, writers need to approach their bosses with optimism and open-mindedness. By highlighting the unique value that people bring to the table and offering suggestions for how AI can be used to streamline certain tasks, writers can help alleviate their bosses' concerns about cost and efficiency while ensuring continued relevance. Ultimately, it's the combination of human ingenuity and AI-powered efficiency that will help content-focused organizations stay competitive in media and marketing.
Hybrid is the Future: The Case for Combining AI and Human Creativity
AI tools can generate content quickly and efficiently, while human writers bring their unique insights, perspectives, and storytelling abilities to create content that resonates deeply with audiences. Combining the strengths of both can give organizations a competitive advantage.
There are many examples of successful human-AI collaboration in media. For instance, The Washington Post used a natural language generation tool to generate hundreds of short news briefs per day, freeing up human reporters to focus on more in-depth and investigative pieces. Similarly, Forbes uses an AI-powered content management system to recommend article topics to writers and editors, based on data analysis of reader preferences.
Ultimately, AI can be an invaluable tool for writers and editors that lets them focus on the fun stuff while letting the machines handle repetitive or data-driven tasks—provided they get on top of it by managing up.