Automatic content creation is the dream of many entrepreneurs and business owners. Being able to fill your website or blog with relevant content quickly and easily would bring many benefits, but is automatic content creation as good as it could be?
In years gone by, the easiest way to automatically generate content was through article spinning. This would mean an article could be written (or scraped) once, and then “spun” into multiple different versions.
This simplest method used a substitution algorithm. It would take a word and replace it with another one. This may make the content look different, but the results aren’t always great.
The problem here is that human readers can easily spot this kind of manipulation. The work needed to make something like this seem genuine was actually very high, and most people who tried creating such terrible writing found that they lost any visitors to their site quite quickly.
With recent advances in technology, there are now better ways to automatically generate content.
Is Artificial Intelligence is the future of content creation?
The first thing to understand is that AI is already being used everywhere, every day. Siri on your iPhone can answer some of your questions, across many different websites the vast majority of content exists only once and is scraped for multiple uses via robots or spiders, Facebook knows who you are friends with, Netflix knows what TV shows you like, Google knows what you are looking for. AI is already touching our lives daily, and the content it generates isn’t terrible, so why can’t we use it to automatically create our own content?
In reality, there are a number of issues still to be solved before this is possible. With web articles or blog posts, one of the most pressing problems is that of unnatural language. If you write an article, you tend to use certain words more than others. You might write about “football”, but it’s unlikely you would refer to the game as “the football”.
If AI analyses this kind of writing and sees that something like “the” appears before a noun very often, then there is a strong chance it will use it in inappropriate places.
In fact, current AI writing tools aren’t truly “AI” at all – they don’t fully understand what they are writing about. In many cases, they are predictive models.
The difference is stark – AI understands what you want and crafts content to meet your needs. Predictive models are trained on millions of articles, and write content based on expectations.
If you want article about places that cats might sit, the predictive model may start with “THE CAT” – and the most likely word that appears next would be “SAT”. Follow this with “ON THE MAT” and you’re on your way to a complete sentence.
Running this through a predictive model, and starting with “The cat sat”, the “AI” produced the following:
The cat sat on the mat.
Does the cat know how to drive?
The article may end up being more of a question and answer session on feline driving, rather than a list of places that cats sit!
It’s all written quite well, but doesn’t really make much sense! A little counter-intuitively, predictive models are pretty good at tackling long chunks of text – but struggle with short snippets. The longer the sentence, or paragraph, the more chance there is of the AI writing something that actually makes sense.
This problem is being tackled by a lot of people around the world. One recent study aimed to analyse cat videos on YouTube and write an article from them – but without knowing anything about cats before-hand. The system was trained with a video and a combination of the text on the video and on associated Wikipedia articles.
This makes for some pretty strange reading! The system learns about cats by association rather than having any real understanding – making it appear like it lacks general knowledge.
But here’s the thing – AI doesn’t need to be perfect. Automatic content creation is getting closer, but the best AI tools for writing today are just that – tools.
You can build a wooden building with your hands, snapping planks, pushing pieces together. It’s easier with a saw and a hammer, and even easier with power tools. You still need the skill, but the tools give you assistance.
It’s the same with AI writing tools. If you don’t know how to end a sentence, are struggling for ideas for the next section of content, or just want some great headline ideas, AI tools are fantastic.
They won’t write great content for you, but with a little work and by pointing them in the right direction, they can certainly increase the speed you can write at.
AI will be able to create more content than any human, but making it compelling is a truly human job. The next generation may be better, but a skilled copywriter will outrank and outsell any AI currently available.
Some think that content created by AI will be better because it won’t have biases or emotions, but it has to learn from somewhere. If that “somewhere” is being trained on human-written text, the inherent biases, emotions, and bad language practices will come shining through.
The need for humans to create content may decline in the next few decades as a result of AI-created content, but for the moment, there is a lot of supervision needed. In fact, it turns the writing process into more of a programming exercise.
For those who use AI tools to support their writing, there should be no discrimination. If the final output is of a high standard, it’s all good. Many try to use AI tools for writing without understanding them, resulting in poor output.
Companies like Google and Microsoft are investing heavily into artificial intelligence research, which means that they see potential in this technology. There are many benefits to using artificial intelligence for creating articles, including faster production times and lower costs.
However, this comes at its own cost – you must fully understand how to use the AI and not rely on it exclusively. Even though there are many benefits associated with using AI for article writing, it always pays to choose a writer or writing team that knows how to construct content without the use of AI.