Using AI for Writing

by | Apr 25, 2024

A marketing friend says she uses AI as a search engine more than she uses Google as it can focus her search without having to wade through the many related websites Google comes up with.

Instead of relying on her husband, another friend now uses AI to edit down her effusive emails to focus her intent and make her more confident that her message is getting across expediently.

We are already using AI daily whether we know it or not. Phones, computers, software. The evolution of AI in smartphones and other devices is deeply embedded into features like voice and face recognition, predictive text, and personal assistants. These tools make our lives easier but some people are worried. Ethical dilemmas and copyright issues continue to be a concern.

In academia, AI’s capacity to automate labor-intensive tasks like literature reviews and data analysis has created opportunities for unethical practices, with scholars incorporating AI-generated text into their manuscripts, potentially undermining academic integrity.

Many feel that generative artificial intelligence is killing jobs in Hollywood. A study surveying 300 leaders across the entertainment industry reported that three-fourths of respondents indicated that AI tools supported the elimination, reduction or consolidation of jobs at their companies.

The Hollywood screenwriters guild WGA had big concerns during the last strike, fearing AI was taking over and would put writers out of their jobs. Writers felt that AI directly threatened their compensation and working conditions. The WGA argued that AI should not be used to rewrite or generate literary material without compensating human writers. And it is an issue for not only the writers. “This technology could one day prove as transformative to the movie business as sound, colour, animation or even the camera itself. Generative AI can already make videos in seconds which would normally take a visual-effects artist days to create.” People are being assured that “AI in film production isn’t about replacing a director’s creativity or the cast’s talent. Rather, it complements their capabilities, empowering them to achieve more with less.”

Okay. I do a lot of writing – emails, grants, organizational documents, creative writing, blogging… Should I be making use of this technology more? What can it do for me?

When I go looking, there is a wealth of info out there to recommend generative AI as a way to enhance small business, to not only “improve efficiency and productivity, but build a new digital framework where artificial intelligence enhances human skills while also adapting to the needs of different business areas and industries.” Like research and analytics, marketing and customer service. And there are a number of programs to consider.

Grammarly says it can “instantly generate clear, compelling writing while maintaining your unique voice” anywhere you write. It wants you to consider it as your ‘Communication Assistant’ that has a handle on your style, tone, context and goals. It is your ‘Co-creator’ (gulp) to help you not only rewrite but ‘ideate’ – brainstorm, refine your ideas and plan how to implement. Really?

Squibler’s AI script generator says it is an excellent tool for producing compelling video scripts, making it one of the best AI script writers available today. It not only generates scripts but also generates visuals like short videos and images to illustrate your story. Yikes! 

ChatGPT is a chatbot developed by OpenAI based on “large language models, enabling users to refine and steer a conversation towards a desired length, format, style, level of detail, and language.” The GPT stands for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer, which refers to how ChatGPT processes requests and formulates responses.” GPT-4 is the newer and more powerful version.

I did try brainstorming ideas for a story I am working on using the free version of ChatGPT just to get a feel for how it works. It was fast and of course depended on how good my prompts were. In the end without spending too much time with it, it did a half decent job of coming up with plot ideas and character names and attributes for the genre I was interested in. But nothing I hadn’t already thought of. In this case it confirmed the direction I was going in rather than assisting me in any way. Maybe it showed that my ideas were a bit too predictable? Not sure. 

It did feel more like I was ‘chatting’ to someone though, rather than searching the internet. I might use it again. Writing on your own is a lonely affair. It might be good to have someone to talk to.