Artificial intelligence (AI) is all the rage right now. Some say it’s started a technological revolution, and that AI will change our lives for the better. But generative AI tools are only as good as the data they’re fed. And have we truly considered the implications of a world where people generate content instead of creating it themselves?
What is generative AI?
To put it simply, generative AI creates content. Whether that’s text, images, or audio. But how does it do that? By using deep learning techniques and technologies in a machine-learning framework. This framework is a system that makes predictions based on data that it’s trained on. For example, if you give ChaptGPT a prompt, it’s able to produce content based on your input.
Some well-known examples of generative AI tools are the ChatGPT chatbot, the Midjourney image generator, and the Bard tool from Google.
What this means for how content creators work
Using generative AI tools for work can greatly improve your productivity because they can quickly generate content. They’re also fast and inexpensive. If you own a small business, AI tools can save you tons of money because you may not need to hire a content creator. Plus, since AI tools continue to learn, they’ll also be able to give you better results over time.
Why this could cause problems
As is the case with most automated devices out there, generated AI content is not entirely fool-proof. And it also begs the question if it’s ethical to use AI, when these tools are trained on data provided by other people. Sometimes, without their permission. So let’s dive deeper into why AI tools might cause problems.
A cost-effective alternative isn’t necessarily better
One of the big benefits of using AI tools is their efficiency. They’re cheap and quick, meaning you don’t need to hire an entire marketing team. Which is precisely why AI tools might be a problem. They threaten to make certain jobs obsolete. And you have to wonder if it’s reasonable that AI will take over the arts, which one might consider the most human of all jobs.
Another problem is the data that generative AI tools are trained with. They need large volumes to learn, and some systems, such as ChatGPT, use a lot of the data on the internet to train itself. And that’s undoubtedly what might cause problems. Not all data is ‘good’ data. Most of it is biased because humans are biased. Sexist, racist, or homophobic ideas are littered throughout the content we create, so if an AI tool uses that data, it’ll become a biased tool. The result? Offensive content that can’t be used. Or worse, offensive content that people will accept as truth and therefore post online, strengthening a message that shouldn’t be spread across the globe.
Misuse of AI tools
Furthermore, the data AI tools are using to train themselves could belong to people who didn’t know their content would be used to teach an AI. It has raised numerous questions: When you put something online, is it still yours? And when you’ve generated content that uses other people’s illustrations, is it actually your art piece? Unfortunately, there are no definitive answers to these questions.
You might think that it’s not relevant whether a piece has been drawn by an artist or generated by someone else. But what if the art piece won a big prize? Is that fair compared to the other contestants who actually put in the time and effort? And let’s look at the world of academia. If an academic paper was generated by AI, it might be based on human thought, but it doesn’t actually contain any human input. Is that okay? Do we want the place where people learn to develop their minds become a place where people learn how to craft great prompts, instead of learning how to think for themselves?
It’s not all bad
Luckily, there’s still hope. AI tools might be impressively smart, but they’re still ‘just’ tools. To generate content, they need content that was produced by people. And if we find a way to ethically give AI tools good data, we’re one step closer to creating a powerful tool that can help small businesses grow, so they can actually afford to hire a marketing team.
How to use AI to enhance your writing
Since AI tools are not completely ethical yet, should you refrain from using them all together? No, there’s no denying that AI tools can be a huge help. However, we suggest that you use them as guidelines, inspiration, and a way to boost your productivity on a day you might not feel like writing.
Use it as an inspiration to start writing
Do you regularly write content for your website or blog? Then you probably know the feeling of staring at a blank document because you don’t know where to start. AI tools can resolve this issue. You simply prompt an AI tool to write an outline, specifying which topics you want to discuss. Or maybe you need the AI tool to write the first paragraph, just so there’s something on the page. While reading your generated paragraph, chances are ideas will start flowing. You’ll be writing in no-time!
Still, when you use AI tools to generate actual posts or texts, it’s good to be critical. Like we mentioned, AI tools can be biased. And they might be incorrect in their information. You should always read your generated piece, and fact-check any claims the text makes. In addition, you want to ensure the content meets your brand values by paying attention to what language is used, since it might not be inclusive. Luckily, if you use the Yoast SEO plugin, you’ll be able to use the inclusive language feature to double-check your content.
Give it a proper rewrite to make it yours
As mentioned before, AI tools can only imitate actual human thoughts and ideas. They generate based on existing ones. And while you might argue that that’s also how humans generate ideas and originality doesn’t exist anyway, you shouldn’t underestimate your personal opinion. It gives a unique flavor to your content. That’s why you should always rewrite (parts of) a generated piece of content.
Generative AI tools can be very useful for small businesses. But, like any technology, it has its drawbacks. It can be biased, or wildly incorrect. That’s why you should use AI as an inspiration to kickstart your creative process, and always read and rewrite your generated content. In our opinion, AI should augment, and not replace humans.