Is ChatGPT Making Content Writers Redundant?

The robot uprising is coming! Or so it would seem, given the recent clamour surrounding a new AI chatbot. ChatGPT, as it’s known, is an artificial intelligence-powered content generator – literally a writing machine. And according to a recent article in The Guardian, it could soon make content writers like me, redundant[1].

So, should I be worried? Could a machine ever really capture the same subtle nuances of tone, style and structure as a human writer? Given the billions of pounds Microsoft has pumped into the project, it would certainly appear so.

ChatGPT cyborg

However, ChatGPT is not without its detractors, and with the AI-driven chatbot facing fresh controversy this week, things may not be as straightforward as we think. So, is it really time to bow down to our robot overlords, or is there still a place for a jobbing writer in today’s digital world?

What is ChatGPT?

Since its launch last November, ChatGPT has created something of a stir, making headlines on both sides of the Atlantic and capturing the imagination of millions. So what’s all the fuss about?

Brainchild of US start-up, OpenAI, ChatGPT has been specifically designed to produce natural, conversational copy, mimicking a living, breathing human writer. That represents a big leap forward from other writing platforms, like Grammarly, which, while they employ certain AI techniques such as machine learning, still have people at their core.

Two employees working together

So where does that leave the humble content writer? Out of luck? Out of work? Well, perhaps not. According to reports, the software is still a little clunky. Fine for businesses looking to churn out reams of generic copy, but somewhat of a non-starter for those seeking a more targeted approach, with a distinct style and tone of voice.

So, for now at least, if you want to populate your website, blog or socials with concise, engaging and actionable content, you’re still better off with a human writer.

What is the latest controversy surrounding ChatGPT?

It’s not all been plain sailing for the creators of ChatGPT. While many have lauded the ground-breaking programme, it’s also had its fair share of critics, most notably, Twitter chief, Elon Musk.

Speaking earlier this week, Musk called for AI systems like ChatGPT to be suspended amid fears of a threat to humanity. And he isn’t alone. A number of key industry figures echo his sentiments, claiming that the race to develop AI systems is out of control, joining Musk in signing an open letter warning of the potential risks.

Elon Musk with planet in background

Perhaps more damaging is the news coming out of Italy this week, with the country’s data protection authority announcing it will be blocking ChatGPT indefinitely due to growing concerns around data security.

By no means a hammer blow, but if other western countries were to follow Italy’s lead, ChatGPT could face an uncertain future. That would be bad news for Microsoft, which has already sunk billions into the programme, with a view to embedding a version of the technology in its Office apps, including Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

Robot staring at computer

Should I use ChatGPT to write my content?

So what about the here and now? Grim predictions aside, could AI systems like ChatGPT really have implications for freelance content writers like me? The short answer is yes, with a resounding, but.

The truth is, if you’re looking to save time and money and populate your website with page after page of generic content, then ChatGPT may be worth a punt. However, if you want to tell an inspiring story, develop a unique tone of voice, and stand out from your competitors, then a traditional flesh-and-blood writer is still your best bet. For now, at least.

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[1] The Guardian (2023)  I’m a copywriter. I’m pretty sure artificial intelligence is going to take my job