Although artificial intelligence hasn’t reached the level we have all seen in movies, it has started to slowly permeate just about every pore of our lives. It’s changing the tech landscape for better or worse, and it’s here to stay. The good part about AI is that it could make our lives easier, and in some cases, it could even help us save lives. For instance, more than 30,000 people die in traffic accidents in the US alone. Autonomous cars with AI could help cut down that number by a huge margin.
The bad news is that AI could take over our jobs and make us obsolete. According to research, AI could increase productivity by 30% percent in some industries, and slash labour costs by 18% to 33%. And while most of us think that AI will only affect those industries which are revolving around technology or automation, creative niches are not spared either. We have seen how Nvidia’s use of AI is able to turn rudimentary sketches into photorealistic landscapes in real time.
Writing has been affected too, and while AI may not yet be able to write the next literary classic, it is doing an impressive job generating stories from data, proofreading, and even publishing. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how artificial intelligence is changing writing.
In the past, translating a text from one language to another requires an in-depth knowledge of all languages involved. Then came Google with Google Translate, which was nothing more than a dictionary which translated each word inside a sentence quite literally, which sometimes led to confusing and hilarious phrases. But, after Google had introduced its AI system, translations actually became useful, especially when it comes to dry technical documents.
While you still can’t translate an entire book, at least not without some serious editing, you could translate blogs, essays and custom research papers with good enough accuracy to get all the info that you need out of them. For the time being, professional translators are safe, but who knows what could happen just five years from now? Publishers would be thrilled with that sort of scenario.
- Editing and Proofreading
Although premium word-processing tools like Microsoft Word are able to spot grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes, they are still not on the level of human editors. Grammarly uses AI to spot redundant phrases, passive voice, and vague sentences, and while it still not able to replace humans, it’s a step in the right direction. On one hand, self-publishing authors could save a lot money when it comes to editing, but it could spell bad news for professional editors.
Other than that, everyone using digital communication could benefit from advanced AI proofreading, whether they are putting together an email or writing their next blog post. As a college student, I could rush my essay, and I wouldn’t have to worry about grammar or spelling.
- Plagiarism Checking
Plagiarism used to run rampant in the online world, but fortunately, Google and other search engines have gotten much better at spotting plagiarised content and penalized websites which publish it. However, there is still plenty of plagiarism in the academic community, not just among students, but among researchers as well. While you can pretty much find duplicate text using Google Search in matter of seconds, if the entire text has been thoroughly rewritten, it might not be so easy to determine its original source.
AI plagiarism software would be able to detect not only plagiarised texts, but also those which have been reworked. While that is great in theory, it could harm authors which are writing under a pen name and looking to establish a separate career, every genuine essay writing service out there, as well as every anonymous poster on forums and social media.
- Writing News Articles
In case you are wondering if AI can actually create content itself, the answer is: yes. However, it is still going to take time before it can reach the level of human writers. However, there are examples of articles out there which have been written by AI. Theoretically, this could be something that all newspapers and blogs would welcome with open arms, as it would enable them to generate content instantaneously and to stay on top of current events. Also, custom essay writings could be created based on data from different resources.
However, this could mean that most journalists would lose their jobs, or at least those which are covering breaking stories. Also, content produced by AI, although huge in volume, would be of poorer quality, similar to articles and pieces written by content spinners and content farms. Finding useful content online would become much more difficult.
- Audio Search
Nowadays, audio and video content are cheaper than ever to produce, but text is still as relevant as ever, not just because it’s less costly, but also because it’s more search engine-friendly and because it can be scanned easily in order to find the necessary piece of information. With audio and video, you have to listen or view the entire clip in order to find out what you need. And when it comes to transcription, anyone who has ever done it will tell you that it’s a tedious and lengthy process.
With AI, however, audio search is becoming a viable solution. Just take a look at all the different digital assistants, such as Siri or Alexa, and their popularity. On top of that, there are apps, such as Castbox.fm, which is advertising itself an audio search engine. As far as writers go, audio search could actually make their jobs easier. It could also help them with dictation, as well as any thesis writing service that is looking to increase their output.
- Book Buying
One of the best things about Amazon are the suggestions it comes up with, based on the books you have already purchased from then. This is done using AI algorithms which are getting increasingly sophisticated. From a consumer’s point of view, this is incredibly convenient, since they will always be introduced to books they will probably like. It can also help thrust some of the less popular writers into the spotlight, without them having to invest a ton of money into promotion or marketing.
But, this could also spell the end for small independent book stores, or even your local librarian, since everyone will be turning to their online recommendations and buying books from the convenience of their own homes.
As you can see, AI is going to affect pretty much every aspect of writing. While we have discussed some potential scenarios here, it remains to be seen how it will actually play out in the future. It is up to us to make the most of it, as we usually do.
By Lilian Chifley, who is a professional and proof-reader for EssayMama and australianwritings, as well as contributor for numerous blogs. Her hobbies include arts and crafts, hiking, and photography. She is married and has two kids.