Artificial intelligence (AI) writing tools are shaking up the traditional ways of writing and creating content. Just six months ago, we might have started with a blank page. But now, we can start by inputting a prompt into an AI writing tool. Is this a bad thing, or is it just another step in the evolution of writing?
Writing is always evolving
Writing has always been a dynamic and evolving art form. From the earliest cave paintings to the latest posts, writers have invariably found new ways to communicate their ideas and stories.
What even is traditional writing? If you have worked as a writer at any time in the past 40 years, remember that you have been using writing aids: word processors, built-in editors to correct your errors and autocorrect on your mobile to suggest words so you don’t have to type out the whole “ducking” thing.
When I started as a professional writer in the early 2000s, Microsoft Word’s built-in editor was the only writing aid. It helped correct grammar and punctuation errors but didn’t offer much else.
Then, along came Hemingway Editor and Grammarly. These tools went beyond grammar and punctuation to help writers improve their style and readability. Hemingway Editor highlighted long sentences and passive voice, while Grammarly identified inconsistencies and style issues.
Grammarly continued to evolve and became more integrated with other platforms. It is now available as a browser extension, a mobile app and a desktop app. It also integrates with your email, WordPress website and social media. If you’re not using Grammarly, you are missing out!
The evolution of Grammarly coincided with the rise of readability tools. Readability tools help writers make their content more readable by identifying jargon, passive voice and complex sentences. Some of the OG readability tools include Readable and ProWritingAid.
In addition to readability tools, bespoke writing tools designed for specific purposes hit the market. For example, SHeLL Health Literacy Lab (Sydney Health Literacy Lab’s health literacy editor) is a tool that helps health writers create patient education materials and plain English medical content.
As writing aids have become more powerful, they have also become more sophisticated. Enter AI writing tools: AI-powered writing aids that go beyond simple error correction to generate ideas, write articles and even create entire marketing campaigns.
Why are writers more concerned about AI writing tools than traditional writing aids?
When writing aids were evolving, writers were not too concerned about their future careers. However, the advent of AI writing tools has created a new sense of fear in the industry. This is because AI writing tools can generate content, not just fix errors or suggest minor improvements.
One of the biggest concerns is that AI writing tools could lead to job losses in the writing industry. If writing aids can do the work of writers, then there will be less need for human writers.
That may be true in some ways, but let’s look at it another way: AI writing tools can and will create new jobs for writers, and AI will become an everyday part of our writing processes.
Writers will become more focused on tasks like:
- Prompt engineering – we’ll be experts in crafting relevant prompts to generate content and then edit it
- AI content editing – we will edit AI-generated content by others
- Compliance and quality – we will work with companies to ensure content meets standards and guidelines
- AI training – we will feed bespoke AI tools relevant data so they can generate more personalised, relevant and high-quality content.
Other concerns present opportunities for writers.
For example, AI writing tools can make it easier for people to create fake news and other forms of misinformation. This is because these tools can generate text that is indistinguishable from human-written content. This makes it difficult for people to differentiate between real and fake content, which can have serious consequences.
Businesses that rely on AI-generated content should be aware of the potential risks and limitations. They should have procedures in place to verify the accuracy and authenticity of this content. They should also have a human expert who can review the content and check for quality and compliance: You!
Those are your key selling points. You have the expertise to work with AI-generated content and check it for quality and compliance. A human eye will always be needed to ensure accurate and reliable content.
As writers, we need to be aware of the potential impact of AI on our industry. To stay ahead of the curve, regardless of our writing niche, we must be willing to adopt these new technologies and adapt our skills to the ever-changing landscape.
By doing so, we can ensure that writing remains a vibrant and creative art form in the future!
Still unconvinced? Here are some tips for embracing the changing nature of writing with AI:
- Learn about AI writing tools and how they can be used to improve your writing
- Experiment with different AI writing tools and find the ones that work best for you
- Be open to new forms of writing that AI enables
- Learn about the limitations and ethical considerations of AI-generated medical content
- Don’t be afraid to collaborate with AI to create new and innovative content.
Finally, remember that writing will always be an evolving field, and you have actually been using writing tools to support your writing processes since you started writing!
The final word
The future of writing is uncertain, but one thing is for sure: AI will play a major role in it.
Despite all the concerns about AI’s impact on our writing industry, I believe that AI writing tools have the potential to be a force for good. They can help us to be more productive and creative, and they can also help to make writing more accessible to everyone.
By welcoming AI writing tools, we can shape the future of writing and make it even better.