AI Writing: Is This the Future?

Jun 12, 2023 | Ghostwriting

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Every industry experiences a disruption of some sort. Some of those disruptions come from in the form of a natural disaster. Others occur when a new company introduces itself to the industry, forever changing the way things are done. In most circumstances, however, the disruption is technological. In the world of screenwriting and ghostwriting, AI writing threatens to change everything.

For those unfamiliar, allow me to explain some of the basics. AI stands for Artificial Intelligence. To use a different term, this is robotics or computer learning. AI already makes a lot of decisions for us, changing our lives in ways we don’t really know. 

Where is AI being used? Have you read about self-driving cars? That technology relies on a sophisticated, artificial intelligence to make all of the decisions that a driver might make. Looking for something else? What about the robots that do manufacturing jobs? The computer programs that take your departure and arrival cities and create a travel agenda?

The fact is, every day, the course of your life is affected in some way by artificial intelligence. Why then are people waking up to the possibility that this trend comes with frightening outcomes? 

erick mertz, AI writing

AI Writing – Why Is It Scary?

For a long time we have accepted that computers, or computer programmed tools, will replace jobs. The narrative has always gone something like this. The robots will come and take over the meaningless, menial jobs requiring no skill.

That narrative has always made the distinction between menial work and work that we believed only a human being was capable of doing. Logic, at least what felt logical at the time, said that there were certain things that robots could never do. Humans, in all of our flawed, unpredictable, and inconsistent ways of doing things, would always have a place in certain industries.

The number of untouchable jobs and industries are too many to mention here. Important for this discussion, however, is the now bygone idea that writing, creating work, was safe from AI. 

We know now that thinking was wrong.  

What  Is Realistic? 

I heard about AI writing a long time before I investigated it. There were articles, years ago, that suggested some written content could be generated by a bot. 

With all of my human hubris, I walked away from that information believing the kind of writing I did was safe from this disruption. I wrote fiction, original stories. I craft deep, heartfelt memoirs for clients who tell me their stories. Creating that kind of content, as seemingly human an enterprise as one could ever imagine, could never become the product of a robot.

Wrong. Dead wrong. 

About six months ago, in the fall of 2022, I started seeing AI generated images. People posted them all over chat rooms, on social media, on blogs. The art wasn’t great. If you ever saw the way an AI generated piece of art created hands or eyes, you’d cringe, and turn away. 

That would be foolish though. AI art was, and still is, in its infancy. One of the most interesting elements of AI anything is that it learns at inconceivable speeds. After creating literally thousands of images a second, it perfects its mimicry of whatever style cues you feed it.

AI art is the creative that never stops working on its craft. 

What does that have to do with AI writing? About that time, I started exploring the industry leading AI text generator. I gave it three assignments, a short story in a very specific style, a keyword rich blog, and a generic social media post.

What did I get? Blown away, that’s what.

The short story, while rather generic and steeped in typical tropes, read more or less like something from that genre. The blog? Absolutely perfect, if not predictable. The generic social media post read like so many other in my stream. 

I couldn’t dismiss the phenomenon of AI writing anymore. If this was the infancy, the very start of this robot writer’s career, then it wouldn’t be long before it worked out those kinks. 

Chalkboard with arrows drawn on it

The Bottom Line On AI Writing 

I’ll admit, I walked away from those initial experiments worried. Today I’m more skeptical. Maybe I’m even a little optimistic that things, while bound to change, won’t end up unrecognizable. 

The urge to write and tell a story is, at heart, a human trait. The potential of AI writing to interrupt things, wherever it does, isn’t going to change that.

This means that young writers will always exist. 

As long as there are writers looking for ways to express their voices, there will be an audience for those stories, and thus, originality will be forever desirable. 

Do you like to read stories you can relate to? Of life experiences that inspire you to new heights and experiences? If so, there is a writer out there pining to tell you. As long as we are experiential creatures, I think this will go on forever. The idea of a real person being moved by an AI generated memoir is unrealistic, surreal and, if I’m honest, a little scary.  

What makes AI writing frightening is the tremendous element of uncertainty that exists at the center of the debate. We all know that the phenomenon is going to change things. What we can’t see, however, is how those changes will look. How soon will they take place? Even more frightening, will we recognize those changes in time to reconcile them. 

Like anything else, I think in order to get ahead of the AI writing surge, good or bad, we need to have honest conversations about it. Readers need to speak up, rejecting AI generated stories that bad actors put out as their own. They need to demand authenticity in their content. 

AI writing is here. There is no way to force it off the stage. What we as a writing community can do, if we’re intentional, is do everything we can to share the stage with it and not let it take over.