AI Generated Writing: What It Can & Can’t Do Right now

Aug 28, 2023 | Ghostwriting

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Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is all over the news these days. Understandably so. Content generated by computer learning, whether that is images or text, have taken the world by storm. Seemingly overnight, we have been confronted by just how real AI’s power is and a clock, ticking down to when all of us clunky human beings have become irrelevant. It leaves me wondering what a ghostwriter can do that AI generated writing cannot

I’ve taken a few spins on Chat GPT, the text creation platform, offering bot generated text. As had been promised, within a matter of a few seconds, the bot churned out long-form texts, each thousands of words long. The results the first time were interesting. The next couple of times, after trying new and old prompts, provided me with a great deal of food for thought. 

On one hand, I was impressed with how well the bots took my instructions. In some ways it was staggering how the computer could replicate style, as in, write a short story about a dog and an old man in the style of HP Lovecraft. On another level I was scared, feeling like this development would spell the bitter end of… well, everything. Ultimately, with a sober eye on the whole phenomena, I ended up feeling a lot of things at once. Most of all, I have to say, I’m at peace.

Let me tell you a little about why.

AI generated writing

What A Ghostwriter Can Do That AI Generated Writing Cannot: The Joy Of Imperfections

All is not lost when it comes to AI generated text. At least I don’t think so. While AI content generation is getting stronger and stronger (according to some reports, improving it’s capabilities by the second) becoming better able to replicate human creation, there still exists a long way before it can create the kind of content humans want to read.

That is the end objective to everything we as writers do, right? We seek to write books and stories that readers and audiences want to read and experience.  

This, I think, is the key going forward. Whether we like it or not, we as human beings take comfort in the imperfections that come with being, well, human. Stories created even by the best writers, whether fiction, non-fiction or memoir, are not perfect creations. Authors tend to make choices with their plots, storytelling, or characters that readers don’t like. They argue the merits of one book over another because those books, for better or worse, feature imperfections. 

Is that what a ghostwriter can do that AI generated writing cannot? Offer glorious, one of a kind, imperfections?

Well, yes, kind of.

Have you ever received a robocall? You know the aggravating intrusion that I’m talking about. These are the calls that come from strange numbers, usually about student loans or burial plans or some other completely irrelevant topic. The voice on the robot call sounds human. It’s not, though, an identification that we make almost instantly. Even if the replicating voice could ever recreate the perfect tone, or quality, of a human being, it’s just perfect. No stutters or pauses. Nothing that connects to your experience of being alive. 

This is a little like what AI writing feels like. At least to me. It feels perfectly constructed text, empty of any feeling or soul, which for me are necessary. 

Here is what a ghostwriter can do that AI generated writing cannot: they can use their experience as a human being to connect to you, the reader’s, experience. 

Is that enough though? I don’t know for certain. I do believe, however, that the gaps I just described are enough to allow the human experience to continue shining through.

AI generated writing, erick mertz writing

The Human Touch On Human Experience

If you’ve spent any time on my site you know I ghostwrite a lot of things. Mostly memoirs though. Generally speaking, my clientele are ordinary people who have lived extraordinary lives. They hire me to help tell their unique story.

What goes into a “human story”?

A human story contains triumphs and tragedies. We talk about times of laughter and tears. I strive to find those unique moments in their lives with unexpected meaning and also, when appropriate, those where all hope was shattered. 

I get those stories by interviewing my clients. We sit down and, whether in person or over the phone, work together to tell a compelling, human-focused story. 

I am able to create those stories, helping my clients reach their desired audience, because I have experienced triumph and tragedy. I laugh and cry. Whenever I can, I pause long enough to find those special moments in my life. It’s my experience as a human being that makes me uniquely qualified to help tell these human stories. 

Can an AI do that? Not now. Not yet. 

We consume art because we as human beings seek deeper connections to our own human experience. We want to share what it means to walk around in imperfect skin. Even in science fiction stories about the power and reach of artificial intelligence, where the marvels of robot learning stand out as the main point of interest, our connection to the story comes in how human they are. 

We crave a story where the impersonal, the robot, becomes personal. Why? Because, for each of us, it’s an ongoing, fundamental message. Each one of us becomes more human every day. 

The reality on AI is that we don’t know where it is going. The journey has only just begun. We cannot know what comes next, not at this juncture. For at least the foreseeable future, what a ghostwriter can do that AI generated writing cannot is connect to other human beings on a human level. Whether that’s writer to client, or writer to reader, it’s the same thing.