The robot copywriter

Would you employ an AI copywriter?

The infinite monkey theorem is yet to be proved (not enough time, or monkeys), but a similarly bonkers AI enabled Chinese copywriting tool created by Alibaba can knock out 20,000 lines of copy a second. Have some monkeys.

Would you employ an AI copywriter?

Science fiction could be about to transform science copywriting. Should copywriters be concerned at the rise of the robots, grab our digital pitchforks and get smashing?

The art of language

Copywriting is a creative art, where words are chosen for their power to inform, influence and inspire. But there is a logic to passable copy.

AI works best where there are clear rules. One example where AI’s transformative power will be realised is in the legal profession. In tests, AI outperforms human lawyers in reviewing legal documents. It’s quicker, and more accurate, with the AI system right 94% of the time, compared to the humans, who scored a rather poor 85%.

Think of a profession and AI will have an impact. Estate agent? Yep. A robot that can sell your house. Accountancy? Of course. Computers love numbers. Human Resources? Oh yes.

We’re not against AI. In fact, as science journalists wev’e documented its rise, and as 42group we have worked with IBM and Alder Hey Hospital o promote their incredible learning computer that’s improving care and changing lives.

Basically, nobody is safe from our robot overlords. Or so it would seem.

Actually, the spread of AI is slower than you’d think. Only 5% of businesses across the world are actively using AI in some capacity. Interestingly, 22% of businesses polled in the report claim not to have adopted AI in any form, and have no plans do so.

It’s true that the majority are considering AI, but it’s very different to the robot apocalypse predicted by some.

Robot copywriter

The power of AI is in its capacity to learn and to improve. In this sense, it can replicate the human brain reacting to positive and negative reinforcement (processing track changes faster than you and I), to understand what works and what doesn’t.

Where it will struggle is in channelling the human capacity to question, challenge, and to think differently. Many of the great scientific discoveries have been made by chance, by luck or through the sheer genius of some minds.

The simple product descriptions created by Alibaba’s automated copywriting machine are impressive, but they lack the human insight of a good copywriter. Or so we’ve been lead to believe, as we can’t actually read the copy.

A robot copywriter may be able to create passable product descriptions, but it won’t be able to replicate the inspiration that marks great work – whether in literature or in science.

Are science copywriters doomed?

In the short term, the answer is no. Longer term, possibly. In any field, the adoption of AI is a conscious choice, with implications that we all need to be aware of. If we are content withmechanically constructed, poor quality content , then that’s what we will get. A machine won’t ask for holiday, or expect a ping pong table in the office.

If we value the talent and motivation of skilled science writers, then we’ll continue to invest in it.

A machine then is probably going to give content mills and Fiverr gig sellers a run for their money. At least a robot can use a spellchecker. But it won’t replace the artistry and insight you get from a real copywriter, journalist or science communication professional.

We hope so, anyway.

Science copywriting uses the power of words to translate complex information in a way that can be understood by everyone. We’re experts, and we can help you. Contact us today.

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