By Drew Albee – SMG Boulder
As the technologies empowering artificial intelligence advance, it’s not difficult to envision a future in which machines have become more intelligent than human beings, bringing our sci-fi nightmares to life. From driving to decision-making, robots are now tackling tasks previously carried out by their human predecessors with unmatched ease, speed and accuracy. One such task getting the AI treatment is copywriting. As a copywriter myself, the fact that an AI writing software recently wrote advertising copy that performed better than that written by professional copywriters left me feeling a little anxious about my career. If robots can write better copy than I can, will artificially intelligent copywriting tools eventually steal my job in content marketing?
Despite the promise of effective, high-quality marketing and ad copy, AI-powered copywriting tools are nowhere near advanced nor sophisticated enough to negatively impact my livelihood — at least not yet. Today, AI is not a substitute for a human writer but is instead a supplement that is here to help, not to take over.
What is AI Copywriting?
Basically, AI copywriting is computer-generated written content created using natural language processing tools. Most current AI Copywriting tools rely on GPT-3, the third-generation language prediction model created by OpenAI, which has 175 billion parameters. Beyond text generation, GPT-3 also enables a myriad of other natural language processing tasks, including text classification and summarization, named-entity recognition, question answering and sentiment analysis. Consequently, the average AI copywriting tool can perform reading and writing tasks at a near-human level.
Once a human marketer has narrowed in on the topic they want to write about and the type of content they need — whether social media posts, email subject lines, product descriptions, a short ad or even an entire blog post — they’re able to input keywords, outlines and short briefs for the AI tool to follow. But remember: The quality of the output is directly correlated to your input, so be sure you’re giving the tool enough to work with.
From there, AI copywriters format specific prompts by analyzing similar preexisting content to create multiple drafts of plagiarism-free content at machine speed. With an algorithm trained to crunch billions of web pages looking for patterns, AI copywriting tools can simplify — and even automate — the copywriting process.
The Benefits of AI Copywriting
The main reason businesses invest in AI copywriting tools is to save writing and brainstorming time. AI tools can not only craft more content more quickly than human copywriters, but they can also think outside the box, conceiving creative content angles your human writer might have missed during their thought process. Plus, AI copywriting tools never get tired, they never call in sick, and they never suffer from writer’s block, always coming up with new ideas for creating the right message, in the right place, at the right time.
Additionally, AI-powered copywriters are able to manage repetitive, mind-numbing or overwhelming writing tasks without complaining; they minimize the need to manually research and find new topics/topics about which the writer is knowledgeable; and they free human writers to focus on complex and complicated messaging problems that require thoughtful, innovative solutions.
With all of these advantages, can AI copywriting tools replace human copywriters?
Human Writers Vs. AI Copywriting Tools
Much like their human counterparts, AI copy tools have their limitations. First, the lack of creativity. While AI is impressive, it doesn’t write anything genuinely original. The tools just analyze articles and snippets of content written by humans and more or less mix that content up to whip up something “new.” Yes, AI-powered tools can create basic content that doesn’t require original research or expertise, but they still cannot produce strategic, story-driven content that aligns with your brand without the involvement of human writers. Furthermore, AI tools are unable to understand — and therefore replicate — human emotion. The best copy engages readers on an emotional level, but AI doesn’t understand emotion or other traits like empathy, culture and morals, so AI copywriting tools will struggle to relate to humans.
Another drawback is that AI is not a fact-checker. Since AI copywriting tools only reference the research and articles that human writers have already generated, it’s possible that the copy the tool creates is so original that it’s fictional. Perhaps worst of all, since AI tools have to be programmed, what happens when such tools are programmed to cater to our worst instincts? I shudder to think of the copy created when tools are programmed to create copy that simply “increases the click-through rate” or “encourages consumers to buy.”
Short answer: No, AI copywriting tools cannot yet replace their human writer predecessors. Yes, they can help save your organization time and money, but AI copywriting tools have too many downsides to be the only copywriter a company employs. So, while machines and automation are set to displace 85 million jobs by 2025, copywriters are not yet on that list.
If you need assistance connecting with your target audience through written content, give us a shout! Our content development team excels at creating copy with a human touch that will help you achieve your objectives, whether that’s raising brand awareness, selling your products/services, growing sustainably or achieving some other result to bring your long-term company vision to life.