Does generative AI (ChatGPT etc) mean the end of copywriting?

Has AI terminated the work of the copywriter?

You might think, given the tidal-wave of AI-hype, as well as the seemingly magical capabilities of AI tools, that the copywriter’s days are numbered.

But our recent survey of 422 copywriters does not support this notion.

While we did see a slight increase (13%) in concern about the threat from AI tools, 46% of our respondents are not losing sleep over generative AI:



Although the majority of our respondents are still finding work, there is no doubt that the latest wave of AI tools has reduced the opportunities available to writers, with some people already retraining in professions that can’t be threatened by AI (typically manual labour).

How has AI disrupted the writing industry in general?

The outlook for commercial writers in a post-ChatGPT world looks gloomy, to say the least.

A Google search for “are writers losing jobs to AI” reveals dozens of stories of writers who have found their work gradually (or suddenly) replaced by digital tools.

Speaking to the Washington Post, Sarah T. Roberts, an associate professor at the University of California in Los Angeles, specialising in digital labour, said: “we’re really in a crisis point. [AI] is coming for the jobs that were supposed to be automation-proof”.

Olivia Lipkin was an in-house copywriter who was gradually replaced by ChatGPT, with her colleagues even referring to her as “Olivia/ChatGPT” in Slack messages. Although she was fired without explanation, she discovered that her managers had been writing about the savings of using ChatGPT over a human writer. Speaking to the Washington Post, Olivia said: “Whenever people brought up ChatGPT, I felt insecure and anxious that it would replace me. Now I actually had proof that it was true, that those anxieties were warranted and now I was actually out of a job because of AI.”

Freelance copywriter Emily Hanley, speaking to Business Insider, describes how her work gradually declined as her clients used ChatGPT to create content: “First, the work slowed. Instead of 10 assignments a week, I had five. Then three. Then one.”

While exact numbers of AI-related job losses are hard to find, recruitment consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported that artificial intelligence led to nearly 4,000 job losses in May 2023.

Dean Meadowcroft, speaking to BBC News, had a similar experience of AI gradually replacing his team: “I did laugh-off the idea of AI replacing writers, or affecting my job, until it did.”


The good news for copywriters…

Given the glimpses of doom we’ve seen above, what good news can there possibly be for copywriters?

  1. Copywriters CAN compete with AI
  2. AI tools may have already peaked in terms of cost and performance

We’ll explore both of these ideas more deeply in future articles.


Cover photo by Jan Antonin Kolar on Unsplash

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