Well, it’s here. Last November, OpenAI, the company behind Chat-GPT’s predecessor, GPT-3, released ChatGPT for free. You’ve probably seen about a million people talking about it on LinkedIn.
For the countless people who have used it since, interacting with the technology has been akin to a glimpse into the future, a future that just a few years ago would have seemed like something ripped straight out of a science fiction novel.
The technology is equal parts exciting — and pretty terrifying. The tool has passed three medical licensing tests without any special training. And it’s already aced a mock Google coding interview for a level 3 engineer. Bonkers.
But before we throw our laptops out of the window and run off to live in the woods, let’s take a deep dive into ChatGPT, reflect on AI’s growing role in content creation, and decide whether it’s just the “next big thing” or whether it’s here to stay.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is the latest version of a prototype, dialogue-based AI chatbot from the OpenAI research foundation. OpenAI was founded in late 2015 by Elon Musk and a cavalcade of Silicon Valley investors, with a goal to “advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole”.
The system works by pre-training a neural network on a vast data set of text and then fine-tuning it as it understands the user’s prompt — remixing the information and generating a response based on what was requested.
In its current form, ChatGPT has been described as a ‘super-powered Google’ because it can quickly answer complex questions — taking out a lot of the legwork that comes with trawling the internet to find solutions. Programmers have also used the software to solve coding challenges in increasingly obscure programming languages, providing solutions in just a few tries.
It’s far from perfect
There are, of course, drawbacks to this new technology.
Currently, ChatGPT lacks nuance, dynamic discipline, critical thinking, and ethical governance, which are keystones of successful writing. Plus, its current well of knowledge runs dry in 2021, making specific queries and questions redundant.
If you’re curious, we asked ChatGPT to write its own version of this blog here with, errr, mixed results.
While these limitations are holding the tool back from true greatness, as time goes on, it’ll likely become more sophisticated and start to address its weaknesses — getting closer and closer to the quality of a seasoned, human writer.
But it’s not there yet.
OpenAI admits that the tool can give “plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers,” presenting them as facts. Not only this, but the tool occasionally produces some pretty crazy, (often hilarious) responses. Like here, where a Reddit user manages to convince the AI to respond only in insults, rendering it basically useless.
Some of these incorrect or nonsensical responses make sense when you understand that ChatGPT essentially just collects and sifts through all the information it’s trained on, and then remixes it in an attempt to answer the prompt it’s been given.
As ChatGPT can make up facts or collect its information from unreliable sources, fact-checking is essential if you’re planning to use the tool. Plus, like with all AI tools, bias can creep in. So, it’s important to have a human brain on-hand to sense-check responses for things like discrimination or flawed logic.
Man vs machine
We’ve already seen a sizeable amount of backlash aimed squarely at baby Skynet’s head.
University professors cite concerns as students submit AI-generated homework and assignments — making it difficult to discern real, red-bull fuelled essays from AI’s handiwork. Elsewhere, some are calling ChatGPT a cybersecurity threat, as it’s able to write convincing phishing emails and even generate malware code.
ChatGPT’s ability to quickly generate human-like text has even sparked a debate on whether the technology could eventually replace professions centred around content production. Everyone from journalists and copywriters to programmers and devs are feeling the pressure.
An avalanche of AI-generated content
While AI writing tools like ChatGPT are unlikely to replace the more seasoned writers among us, it does present a threat to the mediocre B2B copywriter.
It turns out that ChatGPT is pretty damn effective for the dull stuff. For those writers who use Google to research their tips blogs and recycle the content into a “new” blog on 5 ways customer experience blah blah blah, you’re in trouble.
ChatGPT can create near-passable content at an immense scale. And we expect to see a metric boatload of it hitting the web as more and more companies get comfortable using it.
The move from content production to strategy
For those unsatisfied with just ‘passable’ content, ChatGPT represents an opportunity for something bigger.
With content production typically being a common bottleneck holding many businesses back, AI can expedite the execution of strategy.
Gartner predicts that by 2025, organisations that use AI across broader marketing functions will shift 75% of their operational activities from production to more strategic activities. With an almost unlimited capacity for experimentation, tools like ChatGPT can give teams the ability to be proactive and augment their current content production.
It can free up resources elsewhere that can be better leveraged for more strategic planning to make every customer interaction more personalised. Time-consuming activities like writing blog content, social media posts, product descriptions, and more — can be supported by AI.
A human touch will be essential to get the most out of tools like ChatGPT, and the content it produces will still need proofreading, editing, and sense-checking. But if used smartly, it can help create a wealth of content in a much shorter time. And that leaves more capacity to plan, target specific personas, and refine your messaging so it stands out from the crowd.
A shift in long-term thinking
ChatGPT is excellent at quickly covering topics, optimising for SEO, and creating content at speed and scale. But the content it generates can be inaccurate and needs someone with half a brain to set the editorial direction, input business-specific context, and add an emotive element to make people actually care about what’s written.
In the years to come, it’s likely the question we ask won’t be, “How can I use AI to make our processes faster and more effective?” it’ll be more like, “Where does AI need human intervention to make sure it stays on track?”.
If AI writing tools continue to grow in sophistication, it’s within the realms of possibility to assume they can be an essential weapon in any good marketer’s arsenal. When supported with human context, direction, emotion, and expertise, AI can expedite a lot of the time-consuming, manual work that goes into content production — giving real-life brains more time to focus on why and how content can be used to the greatest effect.
So, is AI set to replace our fleet of talented content writers? Well, not quite…
While the arrival of ChatGPT may mark the end of the mediocre writer, effective marketers can harness its content production prowess for good — and use it to gain a competitive advantage over their peers.
Additional tools to check out
While ChatGPT is the AI tool that’s creating the most hype, there are a bunch of other useful (and quirky) tools available for marketers.
Here are a few of our favourites.
Poised – (AI-powered communication coach)
Hugging Face – (Image generation)
Magic Studio – (Image editing)
Huemint – (Brand colours)
Autodraw – (Drawing)