The Write Stuff
January 2023 Volume 19 Issue 1

Trust AI for writing?

Generative AI content is everywhere and growing by leaps and bounds. A recent entrant is Large Language Models (LLMs) that can instantly create coherent human-like text. But human-like is not the same as human.My answer to the question posed in the title is a rather obvious no. And yes, you may think I’m a bit biased since I’m a human who wouldn’t like to be replaced by a “robot.” But I’m not alone in believing that AI writing can’t compete with human-generated writing.I found a great article on this topic by Maggie Appleton, a designer, anthropologist and developer. In it, she asks two excellent questions: How would you prove you’re not a language model generating predictive text? What special human tricks can you do that a language model can’t? Here are her answers, human abilities that simply can’t be duplicated by an algorithm—at least not yet.1. Triangulate objective reality. LLMs can’t reason like a human being; they don’t have access to the same shared reality we do, thus they stick to generics, hedge and leave out details.2. Be original, critical and sophisticated. LLMs create copy that’s coherent and seemingly comprehensive but not truly insightful or original.3. Develop creative language quirks, dialects, memes and jargon. LLMs have been created to automate a standardized way of writing but they’re unable to evolve to reflect the speech of everyday life.4. Consider institutional verification. Taking things further from the CAPTCHA algorithm we’re all familiar with, human writers could show up in person to register online accounts or domains to earn a “Human-certified” badge to display on their work and pop up in Google searches.5. Show up in real life. LLMs can’t meet you for coffee to brainstorm, debate or simply connect. For now, videoconferencing provides a way to prove you’re human but live video generation is advancing rapidly so that might not be an option for long.When people ask me if I’m worried that my job can be automated, I always say no. There are those who’ll be fine with using LLM-generated copy that’s unoriginal and not reflective of their organization’s differentiators but I like to think most decision-makers will choose to employ actual human beings to create compelling original content.

Updated for 2023

Since I’m a sole proprietor, I don’t need gobs of visitors to my website, However, I do want those who land there to see a professionally designed site that reflects who I am and what services I can provide. That being said, I’m pleased to announce my website has a new look. It still features purple and a couple cute pictures of Cubbie but it’s been modernized. Thanks to Cool Cat Interactive for the sorely needed update. Check it out when you have a few minutes and let me know what you think.

Time to create a style guide

The start of a new year is a great time to establish new habits. Something I heartily endorse as being necessary for companies of any size is having a style guide. This document doesn’t have to be extensive—in some cases it may just be one page—but it should contain direction for designers on elements like your logo and brand colors and for writers and editors on copywriting do’s and don’ts. Establishing and recording standards supports message consistency in-house as well as when working with vendors.

Published On: January 16th, 2023 / Categories: 2023 /

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