How ChatGPT’s growth may be affecting young copywriters
Large language model (LLM) driven AI such as ChatGPT and Google Bard are very sophisticated artificial intelligence systems that use previously existing data to process human input and provide relevant output. As a result, the AI is also capable of providing human-like text based on simple prompts, a feat that has many content writers terrified for their career prospects. The younger writers who are merely stepping into the field may end up being the most affected since their lack of experience will now seemingly pit them directly against the likes of an AI as a competitor in an already saturated market.
AI that automatically produces large bodies of text has already existed in one shape or another. But with the advent of ChatGPT and everything else that follows, it is evident that we are faced with a form of AI that is far more efficient and capable than ever before. As such, many businesses have already attempted to use ChatGPT to generate articles that are mainly focused on providing content and not being opinion pieces. This has, rather unsurprisingly, shaken the content-writing community.
However, according to writers, AI still has ways to go before it manages to cause a significant dent in the copywriting industry.
"If someone wants basic content, they can just use AI, but most clients usually demand a specific tone in their work." says Faiza Ramim, a student at the Institute of Business Administration, Dhaka University, and currently working as a content writer at PolyUno, "You have to use your common sense for a lot of it, something AI still can't do."
She adds, "When you join a firm, they always give you feedback and training and are critical of your work, which helps you improve. ChatGPT, after a certain point, keeps going in circles for a particular answer. However, if you're a freelance writer, you may struggle to find work since clients are now extremely picky."
The problem, then, is in how clients have been reacting to this development. Local businesses that are selling products usually tend to put very little effort into writing sales copies and other content, and thus, they almost always hire young writers at very low pay. These writers are typically fresh blood, seeking out whatever experience they can find before landing a position at a company. The rise of ChatGPT, however, might end up removing avenues of work for them.
"Businesses and owners who think copywriting and content writing are things everyone can do will go with ChatGPT because it seems to do the basics of those tasks adequately. But it will create a glut of very samey sounding copies and content that will blur together," says Muhtasim Sarowat Rayed, founder of UpThrust, a popular content blog.
And that is yet another situation that exists simply due to ChatGPT. Before anything, it is important to remember that, as an AI system, its capabilities are still very much limited. Its intelligence is still far away from being comparable to a human brain and it most certainly isn't capable of creating inciting copies that are catered to advertise to specific audiences.
"At the end of the day, clients look for creative people who can bring something unique to the table. Some small businesses use ChatGPT, yes, but you'll see that they are not putting a lot of effort into their social media content, so the business ends up not growing anyway," says Ali Fiaz* who has a background in professional copywriting.
What does this mean? Well, if anything, this will eventually lead to a problem small-scale businesses will face when they realise that their businesses cannot grow due to how closely their social media content resembles that of their competition – other small-scale businesses relying on ChatGPT to grow their audience. For any business to grow, its textual content has to be rich and full of personality. Human writers, fresh or veteran, will not run out of demand as long as they can provide unique insight into what they are writing.
Take the Twitter account for Wendy's as an example, the very identifiable sarcastic voice provided by a human being in everything it posts cannot be replicated by AI at any level just yet. Several other social media outlets for brands across the world attempt to stand out in similar ways, and when a company decides to rely solely on AI for their social media content, they inevitably fall behind in terms of audience engagement.
All that being said, it is important to recognise that the situation is not necessarily just a "humans vs. AI" battle. Tools such as ChatGPT and many other experimental copywriting software are useful when it comes to planning and researching specific ideas for creating content. Many writers make frequent use of AI's ability to organise ideas in a cohesive manner which they then incorporate into their content. The boom of AI may inevitably lead to a new era for writers where they work with the tools instead of competing against them.
"I've worked with several AI tools and can tell you that it certainly helps me out while dealing with burnouts or working with brands that I don't quite click with. AI still is not capable of grasping certain nuances of language, so they'd only really be replacing me if the work involves generic kinds of captions and such," adds Nusaibah F. Yunus, a student of North South University and a part-time copywriter.
This is an opinion that's shared by many. As time passes, the fear of being replaced by an AI may eventually get replaced by the wisdom that AI can open doors for many writers both young and old.
Emerging writers should pay close attention to learning how they may make use of AI as tools in their writing. Even if the industry changes drastically, human input will always be valued for its uniqueness and creative outlook. However, even that requires certain levels of adaptability with time. In the coming years, writers may not get replaced, but they may struggle if they do not adapt to AI.
Raian is thinking of how to install a Large Language Model in his brain. Send him news regarding AI on IG @raian_is_burning