Last year, I wrote about a business newsletter which, by way of an experiment, used an AI to write one of its articles, which turned out not half bad. Today, there are several publications that already rely on AIs to write some of their content.
The venerable Miami Herald has been using an AI to write short real estate news blurbs for online editions. Called the Miami Herald Bot, it has racked up an impressive number of bylines.
And although there was nothing wrong with the quality of the articles, when the Charlotte Observer started using the same technology, the AI did overdeliver in quantity. In its early days, it churned out a bewildering stream of same-sounding real estate news items. Charlotteans were mildly amused.
So AI can do the job of a junior newspaper editor, and can apparently do it really fast.
I enjoy a website called Quora. It is kind of like “Ask Jeeves” from way back when, but more like “ask any person” on issues that you don’t understand or that you want to understand better. As is the case with many human-dependent content platforms, for every insightful, knowledgeable, and balanced answer, you get some real crap, too. One of Quora's redeeming qualities was that there were real-person editors and reviewers, across various languages. But now an AI is replacing some of the humans. Because, you know, Google and Facebook have had such great success with cleaning up their platforms using AI…
Several agencies now have AI platforms that can create simple digital ads for search and social, with text and visuals, and these are highly capable of churning out content at the speed of digital to keep your TikTok addiction fulfilled. These content-producing AIs connect directly to placement driving AIs in programmatic. Not a human in sight in this highly profitable food chain.
So yes, AIs are coming for your job. In the past, I had predicted they would come for jobs that were mostly numbers-based. I predicted the end of the media planner and the media buyer. I was somewhat right. But I had not seen the editorial AI takeover coming this fast.
And we are only at the beginning. We have seen close to realistic looking, AI-created content that allows people to act and speak in movies and on stage even beyond their grave. Princess Leia is still in “Star Wars,” even though Carrie Fisher passed away in 2016. And artists are taking note. Abba toured the world as their multicolored, early 1980’s spandexed selves without ever leaving Sweden. And this week we heard that the voice of Darth Vader, as delivered by the great James Earl Jones, 91, will forever be with us even though we cannot know what he will need to say in five or 10 years from today. Jones has agreed that even after his passing, his voice is forever Darth Vader’s. An AI will do that.
So yes, Ais write about real estate. They place ads in your search results, and write the copy for that ad. They speak to us in movies and sing “Waterloo” for us on stage. They are here and a fact of live, even though Stephen Hawking warned us that AIs “will either be the best thing that's ever happened to us, or it will be the worst thing. If we're not careful, it very well may be the last thing.”
I share Hawking’s concern.