Technophobes and doomsayers are likely to become louder than ever with the AI development and it is easy to see why. Machines are getting better at ascertaining risks, predicting solutions to problems and interpreting data to such an extent that humans are likely to become obsolete altogether. One of the saving graces we had was the idea that a robot could never replace our creativity. Were we wrong, though? As time goes by there are more and more reports of machines being able to write articles, reviews of restaurants, movies and hotels, books, pamphlets akin to religious ones in existence, and promotions like William Hill casino. Can AI truly replace writers?
There are many SF novels where robots gain consciousness. They are not all out to destroy humans or use them as pets, but the automatization process puts many out of a job. This is one of those things that make a person quiver a little since it is what has been going on with the development of technology all over the world and history.
One story that is relevant to our conundrum is “The Great Automatic Grammatizator” by Roald Dahl. The story talks about a man convinced that grammar is governed by a set of mathematical principles and, in an effort to prove it, he comes up with a machine that can write a book in 15 minutes. Not just any book, mind you. The machine is so brilliant that it is able to write almost anything, including prize-winning novels with ease. As humans are unable to keep up with the production of materials by the machine, they are forced to succumb to the demands of it. Humanity loses one of its most defining traits – its creativity. This story is just one of many to remind us to keep our eyes peeled and get ready to adjust ASAP.
Quill is one of the programs that are already on the market. Don’t worry, it will not write and publish novels and creative articles (yet). The purpose of Quill is to generate business reports using Natural Language Generation, making extraction of data into reports a piece of cake. It also saves their clients time, allowing them to focus on other tasks, while the reports that have the appearance of those written by humans are done quickly in the background. The price depends on the project and the client, so to know how much it would cost, one would have to contact the vendor. Still, we imagine it’s not a cheap thrill.
Here comes the bane of the content creators’ existence (or their secret ally) – Article Forge. It matches the person’s style of writing in order to come up with articles on a certain topic. It researches articles like a human being in addition to, and we can’t believe this is possible, being able to pass plagiarism checkers.
Should Writers Worry?
Definitely. Though the current technology is still unaffordable by an average company and able to deliver a set number of limited content, in a few decades, AI will be developed enough to deliver our favorite novel series, a ground-breaking satire, or a satisfying ending to a saga. We can still hope that readers will still be able to spot the real thing.