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BusinessDay: Content creators - let AI do the heavy lifting

ChatGPT should not be considered a threat to the creative process.


By Johan Steyn, 25 January 2023


By now you may be tired of reading about OpenAI’s revolutionary model for language generation, ChatGPT. It has taken the world by storm as reviews, commentary, training and demonstrations are filling the virtual airwaves.


At first glance, I was not very impressed. I wrote in this paper in December about the flaws I noticed when using the platform (“ChatGPT: Robots are not ready to take over the world”, December 22). Millions of people are using the platform and like all platforms that are artificially intelligent, it learns from these user interactions and keeps getting better.


By now I have become a convert. More so, I have become an evangelist. I use the platform every day and it continues to surprise me with its ever-increasing thorough and accurate responses. I am surprised when I learn about friends or colleagues who do not know about ChatGPT. “You have to use it!” I have demonstrated it in meetings, coffee shops and even at the children’s parties my son attends.


“Write an opinion piece on the impact of artificial intelligence on rural Africa. Focus on the digital divide, access to connectivity and data privacy. The intended audience is primary schoolchildren. Start and end with summary paragraphs and explain your view in five main points.” I was blown away by the response. So was my son when he realised how easy it was to complete his school project. “Dad, is this cheating?” “Interesting question, my son.”


If robots are indeed taking over the world, I bet that content creators are holding their breath wondering if their jobs will be completely automated in the near future. Writers, content marketers, brand specialists and even software developers are watching with bated breath. I encourage them to embrace the platform but some told me that it feels like they are sleeping with the enemy.


In a recent client workshop, the head of a large marketing department recounted how ChatGPT is all his team talks about nowadays. Their fearful whispers are filling the hallways. “No! Please encourage them to embrace it.” I explained the benefits of using the smart technology era tools at our disposal. “Let it do the jobs that people should not do. Set your team free to focus on the tasks that only humans can do.”


I explained that platforms such as ChatGPT will never automate his team members’ experience and insights. They know their customers, and they understand the intricacies of the market they write for. They should use it to generate ideas and the first few drafts. But then they should add on top of that their unique views and understanding of the topic.


The approach can help write introductions, summaries and articles. Authors can focus on editing and promotion. This could help writers produce new ideas and get their creative juices flowing again during dry spells. Content marketers should embrace this amazing platform to generate headlines, abstracts, and social media updates.


It should not be considered a threat to the creative process. Instead, it should be seen as a resource that can help content creators focus on editorial and promotional tasks. Humans will still be needed to examine and modify the output before releasing it. We should focus on uniquely human skills and allow tools like these to support us by doing the easily automatable tasks, the heavy lifting.


Steyn is on the faculty at Woxsen University, a research fellow at Stellenbosch University and founder of AIforBusiness.net



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