Will A Robot Take Your Writing Job?

The pandemic has accelerated automation in non-creative fields, but are creative jobs vulnerable, too?

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Photo by Photos Hobby on Unsplash

But what about more creative jobs?

For a long time, people have touted the relative safety of “creative” professions. While computers are already better than humans at things like processing data, sensory perception, recall, and predictable physical motion, humans outpace computers in soft skills like empathy, unstructured problem-solving, and unpredictable physical movement.

So, will a robot take YOUR writing job?

Well that depends on the kind of writing you do. AI software might be more efficient than humans at developing SEO content or generating B2B emails (If you’re a Gmail user, you’ve noticed algorithms creeping into your responses already). So, in the future, platforms might be flooded by AI-created, SEO-optimized, targeted clickbait. Writers whose careers rely on sheer volume and formulaic writing might have difficulty competing with AI-generated work. In fact, some bots are writing clickbait headlines already.

So, how can you protect your writing career?

1. Write for yourself

There will always be a market for high-quality copywriting and clients who will pay big money for SEO-optimized prose. But the same clients who are abandoning quality freelancers for race-to-the-bottom job boards are the same ones who are going to switch to AI writers, if they turn out to be cheaper.

2. Interact with your audience; build a following

Building your audience now will help you when the glut of AI writers arrives. New steamy romance writers might not be able to compete with a bot that can churn out a 300-page book a day with passable prose that flawlessly adheres to the conventions of that particular niche. But, if you have a mailing list and a back catalog, you’ve got a leg up.

3. Learn constantly

Language models are trained on enormous data sets full of text. From these texts it “learns” the patterns of language such that it can produce coherent prose. But the craft of writing is built on finding novel ways to express novel ideas.

4. Use AI tools when possible

As I said before, it’s likely that AI in the near future will be used, not to take over writing jobs, but to make writing easier. Thus, you’re not just competing against bots, you’re competing against every human writer using AI to aid their output. Refusing to take part in what will be the biggest technological advancement in Letters of the 21st century will put you decades behind in terms of output, market access and strategy. Can AI help you meet your daily writing goals? Can it help you develop headlines more quickly or give you a good foundation for your first draft?

Freelancer, former lawyer, aspiring novelist. Kind of a New Yorker. In awe of everyday things.

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