There’s a big question shaking up the copywriting world right now. It goes like this: Is AI coming for our jobs?
It started out as a low murmur on Twitter a couple of years ago but has since developed into daily threads and countless comments.
Then there are articles with writers arguing that we (real-life writers) will always be in demand. While at the same time acknowledging that AI writing software can be useful.
As copywriters, how worried should we be about AI? And how could this advancing technology impact our work in the future?
Let’s find out.
What is AI and how is it used in writing?
AI writing is a tool that can generate content – fast.
It works by real people inputting prompts and keywords into the software so that an algorithm can scour millions of websites and collect relevant data.
AI then creates an article based on a specified word count, tone of voice and format. Most AI software is equipped with natural language processing so that the content it “writes” has a natural flow.
All of this takes around one hour to complete. Much quicker than a human writer who has to manually research, write and edit an article.
What’s being said about AI?
In 2020, the World Economic Forum published a report predicting AI will take 85 million human jobs by 2025. It’s not all bad news though as the Forum also thinks 97 million jobs could be created as roles adapt to new technology.
Where copywriting sits in these predictions is not completely clear. But the role of creative copywriter is labelled as a niche profession in the report’s summary of the jobs of tomorrow.
Elsewhere, a Vanity Fair article describes how AI software is producing “astonishingly serviceable text and images”. The writer even suggests that one day we might not be able to tell whether a machine or a person wrote an article.
And a recent article in Bloomberg explains how AI can already write simple news articles just as well as any journalist. The writer then goes on to predict that wages will continue to fall as a result, something that no professional wants to hear.
At the same time, other writers have been tweeting that Google’s helpful content update will protect copywriters against AI’s impact. They argue machines can’t replicate our storytelling and interviewing skills, so we shouldn’t be worried about AI coming for our jobs.
Whatever your opinion on the topic, one thing is for sure – writers, everywhere, are talking about AI. So it’s probably time to pay attention.
Future-proofing a copywriting career
What does all this talk of AI mean for our careers? Do we need to retrain as engineers or data scientists?
The quick answer is no, not yet.
Copywriters are still very much needed by agencies, businesses and brands around the world.
But it’s never a bad thing to prepare for change. Or to think about the future direction of our profession.
Here are five predictions of what could happen if (or when) AI writing software goes mainstream:
- AI will be used for standard tasks like generating outlines and providing insight into trends.
- Editing skills will become highly sought after to “humanise” AI writing.
- More writers will move towards tone of voice and branding work – elements that need a human touch.
- Companies with big budgets will continue to invest in experienced writers and use them as part of their branding.
- It will become harder to break into copywriting (AI creating a barrier to entry by taking entry-level work).
What do you think? Is AI coming for our jobs?