As the world becomes increasingly digitised, it’s no surprise that more and more content is being created by machines.
In particular, businesses and content writers are turning to AI-generated content to save time, money and energy in the race to improve their search engine optimisation (SEO) and online presence.
Global tech companies like Google, Amazon and Microsoft have been at the forefront of the rise of AI and machine learning, evidenced by Microsoft’s recent multibillion-dollar investment in OpenAI, the firm behind ChatGPT. The AI-driven program, which was released in November 2023, reportedly reached 1 million users a week after its launch and has been used to generate a host of text-based content, from essays to recipes to code. The chatbot has even passed an MBA exam, raising questions about potential plagiarism, and the role of AI in educational settings.
Clearly, AI has captured the public imagination. But what does ‘AI-written content’ actually mean? How is it being used by businesses? And more importantly, how does it compare to human-written content?
What is AI content?
AI-written content is any form of content created with the help of artificial intelligence. This can be anything from a completely automated article written by an AI program like ChatGPT, to a human-written article that has been edited and improved by AI.
There are an increasing number of AI software programs on the market that can create or assist in developing marketing materials. These tools can produce text that you can use in a broad variety of ways, such as:
- Lead generation
- Customer engagement
- Social media marketing
Why are businesses using AI content?
The ability to scale their content operations is the most obvious benefit for businesses using AI-generated copy, but there are a few other benefits:
- Efficient and streamlined content creation: Technology can help create engaging, relevant and error-free content without time-intensive work. It’s similar to outsourcing manpower but giving the workload to machines instead.
- Increased ROI: Because AI writers can produce large volumes of content quickly and cheaply, businesses using AI content could potentially see a higher return on their investment.
- More time saved: With AI content, businesses can scale their content operations without having to worry about hiring and training new writers. This frees up time that can be spent on other tasks.
But the question remains: is the copy that these tools create actually worth reading?
The impact of AI on content quality
The impact of AI generation tools on copywriting and content is still being explored, but there are certainly some limitations to the types of content that these tools are able to produce with the technology that we currently have.
Here are a few problems that have already been picked up:
- There is a risk of plagiarism: Content generators collect available information within its parameters, so there’s a risk of plagiarism that will lead to copyright infringement and affect your business’s reputation. Smarter AI programs are improving, but it’s not entirely risk-free.
- The quality isn’t guaranteed: AI-generated content can’t share opinions or create thought leadership materials. The quality of AI-written content still depends on the user’s skills, the AI software’s expertise, and the amount of time you spend editing the content.
- There are ethical implications: Some people say that using AI-written content could lead to a less-engaged readership, because you lose the ‘human’ aspect of writing, such as personality, humour and empathy (being able to relate to your audience’s wants, needs and pain points).
- There is the ‘human in the loop’ problem: As AI adoption increases, so does the need to incorporate a ‘human in the loop’ to ensure that all content is compliant and actually readable. Relying on AI does not automatically equate to less work for individuals and businesses – rather, their roles and responsibilities change.
- There’s also the problem of bias: AI algorithms gather data that’s already available on the internet, but they don’t have the reasoning power to discern things such as racial prejudice or bias within the source material.
- It could hurt SEO: Google can’t automatically detect AI-written text yet, but the company has already said that using AI content goes against its guidelines. While it’s still unclear what will happen with Google’s algorithm in the future, there’s a strong chance that using AI content could negatively impact your visibility in search results.
People have tried to mitigate these issues by proposing that AI-written content should only be used in addition to human-written content, rather than replacing it entirely. After all, humans are still better than machines at many tasks, such as understanding context and emotion.
Some widely used AI tools such as Grammarly and Hemingway are already offering some solutions. These programs can be used to accurately check grammar errors and plagiarism while providing writing suggestions, and are both easy to use and affordable, showing how AI can be incorporated into content writing to create a better product overall.
These AI-assisted software programs help to mitigate the common problems associated with content-generating tools. While they can’t replace a unique, human perspective, AI solutions such as this help to improve the quality of the work produced.
Is AI the future of content?
AI-written content is popular for a reason. Whether it’s for the vast amounts of copy that can be produced, the comparatively shorter production time – for writing, that is – or the higher ROI due to cheaper costs, businesses are embracing AI-written content.
The success of AI-driven programs like ChatGPT has only confirmed the public appetite for AI-generated content, and, thanks to early adoption and investments from major tech firms, the use of AI and machine learning to create content looks set to continue.
However, it’s not entirely without issue. The rise in AI-written content has exposed some of the potential problems with relying on algorithmic content generation. From concerns with AI bias and ethics to issues with quality and plagiarism, and, of course, the fact that poorly written AI text may fall victim to Google’s Helpful Content Update, AI-written content is not a simple replacement.
So, what does this mean for the future of content writing?
Particularly for B2B industries, AI-assisted content is still far better than AI-generated alternatives, as buyers will always look for truly authoritative information and insightful perspectives that can only come from human writers.
Moreover, given that AI content is a reiteration of existing data online, there is a potential clash with Google’s guidelines. Google doesn’t love AI content, and has taken to categorising it as a black hat SEO technique or ‘content spinning’ practice.
However, if businesses use AI tools wisely and differentiate themselves from spun content, then AI tools can actually create original text instead of merely shuffling words around. Instead of using AI to replace humans, consider how it can help expand a team’s capabilities.
By using AI to increase human resources, businesses can have more writers available to work on other projects, while AI can be used to perfect the basics. As a result, they will maintain a human touch while keeping up with the demanding digital marketing trends – crucial for achieving success in the competitive landscape.