August 1, 2017
Will copywriters remain part of the digital furniture, or be chucked out?
Copywriting obviously needs a degree of intelligence. Hell, maybe not even a university degree, but a sound knowledge & understanding of language, with an embedded personal style that’s flexible enough to adapt to business needs.
As copywriters, we’re supposed to be able to immerse ourselves in a subject, use our personal experiences & life knowledge to inform out craft & come out the other side, enriched and ready to do it again.
However, even writing is split into niche categories. B2B? B2C? Product descriptions? White papers? Headlines? Social? Needs are very clearly defined, much like giving instruction to a programme. If businesses only want one kind of writing service, then niche it is. All those others amazing pieces of work you’ve done matter less.
Which is where AI comes in. The possibilities are endless in our data-rich society, especially with health tech, but would something like copywriting be the last outpost of creativity before it succumbs to an AI master? Could copywriting become part of the Internet of Things?
Can AI ever really truly learn & emulate great copywriting?
Set it off, and bam you’ve tasked the CPYWRTR app to write a sales email while you have your breakfast. You listen to it in the car that you don’t have to physically drive, get it translated into 12 different languages and voice command send. Although, we’d probably see a massive downturn in ‘send all’ human screw-ups that happen in the workplace. Shame.
You wouldn’t even need Cheap Gig Worker Platforms™ to do the job ‘economically’ (because you know, copywriters who are really good, actually need paying in kind). In theory, an AI driven copywriting programme, sorry ‘cognitive content platform’ would be able to inspire any audience to act at any time. Kinda brainwashy.
But (would an AI copywriter start a sentence with But?! Ha!) the mechanics of an AI copywriter would be using the torrent of data generated from business and other AI applications to machine learn what works, and what doesn’t. Which is pretty much what copywriters do, but on a much, much, much smaller scale.
Can their learning ever catch up with ours? Probably. Will it one day include those subtle, emotional nuances like being able to change tone of voice, use colloquialisms, inject ‘personality’ into writing? BE CREATIVE? I doubt it, but they may get so good some of us won’t even know. Spooky.
Creative Vs Ai
It’s true though, creative copywriting is like anything that’s got a c-fix (‘creative prefix – come up with that in the fly, AI genius) – it can be subjective, will probably be dialled down because of an aversion to risk-taking, and will still take time and be part of a process. I suppose using AI boils down to speed, efficiency and keeping up with the demand of content to sate our digitally hungry appetites.
We all know what the marked differences are. Humour for one. If other countries don’t ‘get’ British sarcasm, puns & our maddening politeness, how will a computer learn? CGI in movies is advancing rapidly, but the eye can still tell the difference between a green screen & matte painting if you look closely. Take Christopher Nolan. He has the propensity to film as much as he can ‘in-camera’, including stunts, effects, etc. Amazing. Could do with a bit more editing though.
So yes, there are AI copywriter programmes out there, and even helpful grammar ones, but maybe that’s all we’ll be, editors. And if you’re going to be proofing a bot or AI bit of content? You might as well do it yourself in the first place.
Oooh! Let’s use a copywriter for old times’ sake…
Will we become the writing equivalent of vinyl? A niche bit of much loved ephemera that gets dusted off for ‘authenticity’? Will we even care about ‘originality’ in the future? Maybe we’ll have eschewed the need to be ‘heard above the noise’ and be digitally deaf, and programming passive when it comes to engaging with content.
SEO vs organic. Short form vs long form content. Video vs copy. Man vs machine. There will always be these copy skirmishes and battles, but we’ll hold our heads high and simply crack on, proceed, get on with, press on, get under way, set in motion what we have to do, which is write to the best of our abilities and keep improving at our own pace.