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BusinessDay: Writers need a bleeding heart, not ChatGPT

AI platforms can assist with writing tasks but lack empathy and authenticity.


By Johan Steyn, 13 March 2024


In the realm of business, effective communication is crucial. It’s not just about conveying information; it’s about resonating with your audience, influencing perceptions, and driving actions.


In this context, the profound words of Ernest Hemingway echo loudly: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Hemingway’s statement, albeit dramatic, captures the essence of what sets apart impactful writing from mere text generation. It’s about infusing your writing with passion, empathy, and understanding — a “bleeding heart”.


In an era where artificial intelligence (AI) platforms, such as ChatGPT, can churn out content at an unprecedented scale, the question arises: can AI replace human writers in business? To answer this, we need to delve into the nuances of what makes writing truly effective in a business setting.


Let’s consider the role of empathy in business writing. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It’s a quintessentially human trait, one that AI, as of now, can mimic but not genuinely possess. When a writer crafts a message, whether it’s a marketing copy, a business proposal, or an internal memo, the ability to put oneself in the reader’s shoes is crucial. It’s about understanding the reader’s needs, fears, aspirations, and crafting a message that resonates at a personal level.


Authenticity and personal touch in writing play a significant role in building trust and credibility. In business communications, trust is paramount. People are more likely to engage with a brand or follow a leader who they feel is genuine and sincere. Authenticity comes from personal experiences, beliefs and values — aspects that are inherently human and cannot be authentically generated by AI. 


Another aspect to consider is creativity and innovation in writing. Business often demands out-of-the-box thinking, especially in fields like marketing, branding and leadership. Effective writing can challenge the status quo, propose innovative solutions and inspire change. AI, including sophisticated platforms such as ChatGPT, operates within the confines of its programming and the data it has been trained on. It lacks the ability to think abstractly or to innovate in the truest sense. 


Understanding cultural nuances is vital in today’s global business environment. Effective communication must be sensitive to cultural differences and nuances. A human writer can understand and adapt to these nuances in a way that AI, which often generalises based on the data it’s fed, cannot. 


Ethical considerations also play a role in why human writers are indispensable. Writers are not just responsible for what they write but also for what impact their writing has. From ethical storytelling to responsible marketing, the human writer’s ability to discern right from wrong, truth from falsehood, and ethical implications is crucial. 


However, it’s not to say that AI doesn’t have a place in business writing. ChatGPT and similar technologies can be excellent tools for assisting with writing tasks. But when it comes to creating content that engages, inspires, and moves the human spirit, human writers stand unmatched.


While AI platforms such as ChatGPT bring efficiency and assistance to the table, the art of writing in the business context needs a human touch. Businesses must recognise and value the irreplaceable role of human writers who bring more than just words to the table — they bring a bleeding heart, capable of understanding and connecting with the human experience. 

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