Recently, a friend introduced me to copy.ai, which is an artificial intelligence (AI) website that writes marketing material. When I first looked through the website, my stomach dropped. My initial thought was, “AI is going to put me out of a job!” I’m sure many people have that fear and in fact is a news story that I, myself, have covered for the radiology publication AuntMinnie.com.
After my initial freak out, I probed deeper into the question: “Will AI put me out of a job?” After taking a deep breath and mulling it over, I decided no, it won’t. Maybe I’m being naïve, but I can’t see AI doing what I do. Oh sure, it can generate generic copy, it can follow a template, it can be a plug-and-play option for certain businesses, but it can’t do what I do. You know why? Because what I do requires decision-making, creativity, and empathy. In short, it requires something a machine can never provide: humanity.
You might be saying to yourself, “Well, AI has to make decisions all the time. That’s what a decision tree is for.” You’re right, but when faced with multiple interview sources, how can AI decide which quote to lead with? How can it determine what information to include and what information to leave out? How can AI know who is “quoteworthy” and who isn’t? As a freelance journalist but also a ghostwriter for therapists, I make those decisions all the time. They’re based on what the publication has already covered, what will be a continuation of the conversation, and what’s truly new. When I write an article, I research what has already been written about it to make sure I’m not repeating material and also to see how I can expound upon what’s already been reported. Maybe AI will eventually be able to do all that, but we’re not there yet.
Something else AI can’t do is create. It instead takes content that’s been written before and uses it again. AI is a copycat. Sure, you have “originality” with a word here and there, but AI doesn’t create something altogether unique or personalized. It can’t. AI has limits and works with what the developers have fed into the algorithm. There are options to choose from and that’s it. AI creates cookie cutter material and frankly it irritates the crap out of me. It feels so, well, soul-less. Because it is. Copy generated by a computer is stripped of all emotion and is hard for me to connect to because there is no humanity to facilitate a connection. There may be “pretend” emotion, there may be “emotional” words, but how can the writing material contain any more than that?
That’s not the case with me. I have emotion for days over here! I’m someone who wears my heart on my sleeve and more than that I have formal training in nonviolent communication and practice it regularly. Plus, I have an emotional hygiene practice where I express my emotions and recognize them for the tools and messengers that they are. I bring that emotionality, that empathy to everything I do. When I interview someone, I connect with them as a person. I ask them how they’re doing, I’m curious to hear their thoughts, I actively listen to what they’re saying. It’s why I’ve written so many features in my career – because I’m good at it. Give me a feature story and I’ll knock it out of the park. You know why? Because I’m a human being that relates to other human beings.
Ultimately what makes my writing special is the soul I put into it. I put myself into the writing – the word choice, the flow, the voice. When people read what I’ve written they instantly know it was written by a person because it’s clear there’s a person behind the keyboard. That’s also true when I ghostwrite for therapists because in that instance I’m embodying someone else’s voice. I’m thinking about what they would say, not what I would say so in that case too there’s a person behind the keyboard.
Why am I better than AI? Precisely because I’m not a machine. If you want to liven up your copy, make it peppy, I can do that. If you want to make your copy more formal, I can do that too. If you want to convey a story, I’m your gal. If you’re having a tough day and want a compassionate person to interact with, that’s me as well. Instead of having a machine spit out some copy that will read like every other copy it spits out – you can have personalized, soulful, creative material written by a person who understands nuance, which is something a machine will never be able to give you.
If you’re interested in working together, contact me to see if we’re a good fit.