Why AI Will Never Replace Writers and Journalists
By Melissa Perlman, President and Founder of BlueIvy Communications
The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) with the capability to quickly cull the internet to answer any question with fully formed sentences is having a seismic effect on business executives, teachers, speakers, students and writers, alike. With the availability of “writing-on-demand,” many of those who have built their careers on mastering and utilizing language, including journalists and public relations professionals, are now wondering if their skills will become obsolete. My response to my fellow writers, brooding over whether they will ultimately be replaced, is a resounding no. That said, to ensure our survival, we must be willing and early to adopt the new technology.
When I founded BlueIvy Communications 12 years ago, I built my company’s reputation on our ability to write well. I focused on hiring professionals with strong writing backgrounds. As a graduate of the Expository Writing program at Brown University, I was trained to recognize and understand the difference between writing that is “just okay” and that which is compelling. And to this day, I strongly believe that a professional writer’s education and experience is critical to the agility and expertise required of a successful communications professional.
During a recent team meeting, my colleagues and I addressed both the upsides and downsides of the new AI platforms. We openly shared concerns of “Will our clients consider replacing us with AI” or “Will the use of AI diminish our value in the long run?” As we discussed the potentially downsides, it immediately became clear that our agency’s top content writers and editors were more interested in embracing the new technology and its benefits.
For example, Lead Writer Lauren Azar, a graduate of New York University with a communications degree and talent for persuasive and creative writing, discovered that the AI bot gives her quick “thought starters” to craft creative blog content on a multitude of topics. Director of Content Jean Cohen, who holds a degree in English from Tufts University and did her graduate work at my alma mater, has decades of professional writing experience in nearly every business sector, and is an avid early adopter of all kinds of technology. She immediately spotted the need for copy editing AI text and added AI Content Editor to her many skill sets.
While Lauren and Jean jumped at the chance to become early AI adopters, I still needed more proof. And like all reputable PR professionals, I did my research and went right to the source…or in this case ChatGPT itself. I typed in the burning question: “Will AI replace writers and journalists.?” The answer was both surprising and enlightening. And conveniently, without the limitation of copyrighted content ownership, I’m able to offer the bot’s instantaneously generated response here, in its entirety:
As an AI language model, I believe that AI has the potential to automate certain aspects of writing and journalism, such as fact-checking, data analysis, and even generating simple news stories. However, I also believe that AI will never completely replace professional writers and journalists for the following reasons:
- Creativity and originality: While AI can produce text that is grammatically correct and technically accurate, it lacks the ability to create truly original and creative content that is unique to human experience. Professional writers and journalists can bring their own perspectives, experiences, and emotions to their writing, resulting in content that is more relatable, engaging, and resonant with their audiences.
- Emotional intelligence and empathy: Writing and journalism require a deep understanding of human emotions and empathy for others. AI lacks the ability to understand the nuances of human behavior, culture, and psychology that underlie the stories that writers and journalists report on. This understanding is critical to producing content that is compelling and meaningful to readers.
- Investigative reporting and analysis: Professional journalists are trained to conduct in-depth research, analyze complex data, and uncover hidden truths that are critical to understanding the world we live in. While AI can help with some aspects of research and data analysis, it cannot replace the skills and intuition of a human reporter.
- Ethics and responsibility: Writing and journalism require a strong sense of ethics and responsibility to accurately report the truth and avoid spreading misinformation. AI lacks the moral compass that is critical to upholding journalistic standards and values.
- Human connection and engagement: Writing and journalism are ultimately about connecting with people on a deep and personal level. AI may be able to produce content that is technically correct, but it cannot build the same level of trust and connection that comes from a human writer or journalist who understands the needs and perspectives of their audience.
In conclusion, while AI has the potential to assist writers and journalists in their work, it is unlikely to completely replace them due to the unique skills and qualities that humans bring to the table. Professional writers and journalists will continue to play an important role in shaping public discourse, fostering empathy and understanding, and uncovering truths that shape our world.
I agree with the bot. As I discussed in my op-ed in the Sun Sentinel, AI will never replace writers and journalists. Those of us with foundational education in writing and editing, years of experience, and a willingness to embrace AI’s potential will be more agile writers and editors, add new capabilities and most importantly become even better at our craft. With AI content generators, we’re not saying goodbye to writers, but hello to a new age of writing and I look forward to welcoming it with open arms.