“Wordtune spices is powered by cutting-edge AI technology, and it is only here to help when you need it. We believe humans are, and will always be, the best writers on the planet.”
~ A Wordtune white lie
Note: This article was written by Adams Edge Marketing Creative Content Specialist Christine Krenke and is an opinion piece that does not fully reflect the views of our company.
There’s an interesting trend sparking around the marketing of generative AI technology. Whether it be ChatGpt, Jasper, or Wordtune, there seems to be a heavy emphasis throughout ads on one particular subject: you.
Companies incorporating new artificially generated content want to assure you that, when using their AI writing softwares, you’re still in control. The above quote, a line from a recent Wordtune spices ad, clarifies that they still believe humans are, and will always be, our number one creative content creators.
It’s heavily ironic, given that the ad showcases an animated cat who, after writing one paragraph of its assignment, gives up and has Wordtune write the majority of the paper.
I can only assume that most thought of his work ethic to truly be on par with “the best writers on the planet.” And I know that I speak for all of us when I say, hearing those words, I could just sense the Wordtune execs rushing to hire more writers behind the screen.
While my sarcasm is surely making pro-AI marketers grumble, it doesn’t take a lot of common sense to realize what these companies are doing. One can stress the word “you” and all the “effort” it takes to write a prompt and click a desired tone, and yet, you aren’t actually writing your content. And many businesses are beginning to prefer it that way.
It’s disappointing, for sure. But I’ve seen far too many people trying to push forward the “AI will never replace human writers” argument when it is our current and undeniable reality. By no means are we living in a Black Mirror episode where artificial intelligence rules all and creativity is dead. Yet, it’s important to keep in mind that we are moving into a new age where some businesses are beginning to prefer artificial quantity over human quality. And despite how much we creative writers may want this technology to go away, it’s here to stay.
So what does that mean then? Where do we go from here?
To answer that question, we first need to familiarize ourselves with the form of AI that is generative, where it’s being used, and how its usage looks from a legal standpoint.
Where Are We At Now With AI?
Despite AI becoming a buzzword in recent years, the technology has been around far before the popularization of sites like ChatGPT and Jasper. I see a lot of people, scared of losing their jobs, calling for the end of artificial intelligence as a whole. This statement is a bit alarming, considering there are two distinct different branches of AI, and only one of them is really a threat to writers at the moment.
Did You Know That There Are Multiple Types of AI?
There are two main types of AI currently in existence: Reactive machines and Limited Memory machines.
The phrase “reactive machines” refers to forms of artificial intelligence that “have no memory and are task specific, meaning that an input always delivers the same output” (coursera).
Put simply, they aren’t exactly the forms of artificial intelligence that are going to be a threat to creative fields of work like writing. Unable to create NEW outputs that haven’t already been preplanned, reactive machines might help recommend some Netflix shows for you, but they certainly won’t be making them.
Limited Memory Machines
So when we’re talking about writing bots like ChatGPT, we’re referring to the other branch of artificial intelligence: Limited Memory machines, (or generative AI). These forms of AI “can look into the past and monitor specific objects or situations over time” (coursera). In other words, these AIs possess memory. With this memory, machines are able to analyze patterns in order to grow and make new forms of content.
So Where Are Limited Memory Machines Being Used?
With these distinctions in place, we can now move forward into the more important question: which companies are using this technology to replace humans?
There are hundreds of different businesses that are incorporating these machines in a variety forms. However, as the Harvard Business Review puts it, “While AI will radically alter how work gets done and who does it, the technology’s larger impact will [most likely] be in complementing and augmenting human capabilities, not replacing them.”
Still, there are a few companies whose integration of these machines has given me, along with many others, understandable pause.
Netflix’s controversial “Dog & the Boy”
If you’ve been checking the news in recent weeks, you may have heard a little something about the Writers Guild of America (WGA) striking. And it certainly isn’t for their love of generative AI.
AI isn’t the main issue driving the strike. However, their incorporation into media companies is certainly not helping the matter. Netflix in particular received heavy backlash after using AI to generate art for its anime “Dog & the Boy”. Claiming that they used the technology “because of a labor shortage” also only sparked a stronger level of backlash from the public – and understandably so.
Seeing as Netflix used artificial intelligence as a substitute for artists, it’s looking more likely that the company might resort to solving its shortage of writers with artificial intelligence as well.
Buzzy the Robot
This money hungry mindset extends into other realms of writing. Buzzfeed, for example, has begun publishing articles written fully by AI with no editorial staff required.
The company asked employees outside of the editorial department to write about some of their favorite, non-mainstream places to travel to. Then, those responses were fed to “Buzzy the Robot”, who generated a stream of travel guides. There are roughly about 40 articles the technology produced, all of which discuss travel in a very SEO-driven way.
Resurfacing time and time again are the phrases “Now, I know what you’re thinking” and “hidden gem”, the AI regurgitating the same lines no matter the guide at hand. These articles read very bland and unoriginal.
“I think that there are two paths for AI in digital media,” Peretti explained in an interview with CNN. “One path is the obvious path that a lot of people will do — but it’s a depressing path — using the technology for cost savings and spamming out a bunch of SEO articles that are lower quality than what a journalist could do, but a tenth of the cost.”
Peretti clearly took the obvious path, which begs the question: what other companies will do the same with AI?
How media and marketing is anticipated to be impacted by AI
In the case of Buzzfeed, artificial intelligence can already be seen worming its way into the world of journalism and article creation. As of right now, these pieces are merely travel articles with no huge news-based focus. However, in the future, the level at which generative AI is anticipated to be involved on the news side of the media is predicted to skyrocket.
Kristian Hammond, Natural Sciences’ chief scientist, explained in a BBC interview that in 15 years, “90% of news will be written by machines.”
In terms of marketing, already over “80% of marketers worldwide integrate some form of AI into their online marketing activities” and “34.5% of…marketer-respondents said ChatGPT is one of their AI tools, making it the most-reported tool among our respondents.”
It’s clear from these analytics that generative AI – despite deniers of its potential to ever replace writers – is a present and undeniable force in the writing community. Whether it be writing for marketing, news, or movies and shows, generative AI is booming in the literature world.
So then, if so many companies are using AI in their works, there has to be some legal grounds for the use of the technology, right?
Complicated copyright laws
One of the main questions that seems to be circling around AI is: who owns it? If a company were to use artificial intelligence to write content, do they actually possess that piece of work? Or does ownership go to the original AI platform the piece derived from?
It’s tricky. Since the takeoff of these limited memory AI platforms has been rather recent, so are the laws surrounding them. This concept makes a company’s rapid inclusion of AI into their business rather alarming considering the laws aren’t fully set in stone yet.
The Current Consensus
Multiple lawsuits and trials have been held over the past few years in regards to AI models. The general consensus has still been, as of March by the Copyright Office, that when artificial intelligence “determines the expressive elements of its output, the generated material is not the product of human authorship” or – in layman’s terms – is not copyrightable.
An appropriate amount of human input – the exception
While works made purely by AI are still considered non-copyrightable, certain works can be considered eligible for copyright if they have “‘sufficiently creative’ human arrangements or modifications of that material.”
Copyright applicants that used AI in their works must fill out a specific form to potentially be permitted a copyright claim for their work.
Keep in mind, though, determining if your work is “sufficiently creative” is a subjective process, and it’s far easier to just fully write a piece on your own to avoid the legal hassle that accompanies using AI.
AI and Copyright Infringement
Many AI companies copy fully published works into their systems to be able to train their AI, claiming that this process is legal under free use.
In order for this to be held true depends on several criteria.
Whether free use claims are refuted by Silverman and Getty is yet to be seen as these cases are still open. Still, despite no set ruling in sight yet, these cases are heavily important, their outcomes having the potential to change the way AI programs train their models.
What the future holds and what you can do
So, with these factors in mind, how then do we keep human creativity (and our jobs) alive as we move forward into the future of AI?
Don’t use Limited Memory AI as a crutch
As AI grows and the world begins to accept these machines as part of the norm, it’s going to become difficult to keep your job if your writing skills are at the same level as WordSpices or ChatGPT.
Consequently, it’s imperative that we writers continue to keep writing on our own. Using artificial intelligence to write content for you does not boost your skills as a writer, and it only increases your chances of legal copyright issues if you do it incorrectly.
But what if my workplace uses AI?
It’s alright to have a basic understanding of how these platforms work. Seeing as they are growing increasingly popular by the day, it’s not unlikely that you’ll be hired at a job where generative AI is used in the workplace.
However, this does not mean we should be actively buying every AI platform to learn them inside and out. Use the platforms provided to you by your company that have already been paid for. Don’t contribute more money to the AI industry.
Don’t support works of literature (or art in general) made with AI
Works like the Buzzfeed travel guides or “Dog & the Boy” may only increase in years to come. By choosing not to support these pieces of content that are purely made by AI, companies may rethink their strategy of replacing human talent with generative tech.
Always stay up to date with the law
Laws are going to continue to be updated and changed as new cases arise and technology develops. Knowing what is and isn’t legal in regards to Limited Memory AI can help you both protect your own original works and know which AI to be wary of using in company settings.
It will for sure become tempting to use bots to produce content as quickly as your AI-using competitors. However, despite how much praise AI is receiving for its speed and efficiency, it’s incredibly slow to go through a whole legal process to get your work copyrightable.
I encourage everyone to instead trust themselves and their abilities. Staying true to your own unique writing style helps you avoid legal troubles and allows your work to stand out in a sea of generic, AI articles.
Avoid the embarrassment of having your content taken down just because you wanted to get it out a little faster – a scenario I have no doubt will continue happening to businesses insistent on artificial intelligence’s greatness. Because these days, the jokes seem to keep writing themselves – literally.