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Is AI making content worse?

Credit: Emile Kronfli, creative director of agencies Wildfire and KT2

Using ChatGPT and other AI platforms to create content is rapidly becoming the norm and reshaping the way we approach digital content. But with every technical innovation comes a sense of disquiet. And I don’t just mean the debate around AI taking our jobs. Instead, I’m referring to the question of quality. Is AI making our content worse?

One of the criticisms of AI-generated content is that it strips out human emotion and creativity. After all, AI content creation is based on a combination of algorithms, codes, and number sequences.

It’s based on pre-existing content that it’s trawled web sources for, curating into something ordered and intelligent. You can’t argue against the brilliance of that. But it’s still a far cry from the nuances of style and flair that humans can create with their wordsmithing talents.

If we’re going to use AI - and there are many reasons that we should - then we need to ensure we supplement it with the one thing it cannot deliver. The human touch.

Humanising content in the AI age

So how exactly do we humanise content in this increasingly AI-dominated landscape? Firstly, what’s AI good for?

It’s great for spotting trends, patterns, and markers. When it comes to words, it’s great for searching the web for information and presenting its findings in something that looks and reads like a piece of editorial.

The results produced by AI-driven image generators such as DALL.E and Midjourney are eye-catching. Some are even awe-inspiring in their complexity.

But whether it’s words or images, look a little closer and you start to see the imperfections. The six-fingered hand in an image. The spelling mistakes in the words embedded in AI-generated pictures. The awkward phrasing in a piece of ChatGPT editorial. Those quirks - deliberate or otherwise - are signs that AI-generated content falls short of what we as humans can deliver, with our layers of skill, experience, and perspective.

Those, of course, can all be corrected. But what can’t be rectified - because it was never there in the first place - is the gap that’s left by AI’s inability to feel.

The way we get narratives, feel emotions, and play with language nuances - it’s not in the same league and doesn’t come close to those who've got a knack for spinning a great story.

The importance of empathy

After all, producing great content isn’t just about using facts and making benefit statements topped off with a scattering of nice words. It’s about understanding the reader. It’s about empathy, which is something that AI, for all its strengths, is not able to deliver.

And for us as comms professionals, that empathy translates to understanding our clients, their customers, and the industries they work in. And reading the room so that our message is on point and resonates with the person at the other end.

Adding the human touch to content is how we make it go from good to great - turning the solid, algorithm-driven foundations built by AI into memorable, empathetic content that will resonate with audiences on a personal level. Pairing logical intelligence with emotional intelligence to create something infinitely more powerful. More memorable. More human.

Article written by Emile Kronfli, creative director of agencies Wildfire and KT2

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