Are we digging our own hole with generative AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is all the rage right now. Some say it’s started a technological revolution, and AI will improve our lives. But generative AI tools are only as good as the data they’re fed. And have we truly considered the implications of a world where people generate content instead of creating it themselves?

What is generative AI?

Simply put, generative AI creates content, whether text, images, or audio. But how does it do that? By using deep learning techniques and technologies in a machine-learning framework. This framework is a system that makes predictions based on data that it’s trained on. For example, if you give ChaptGPT a prompt, it’s able to produce content based on your input.

Some well-known examples of generative AI tools are the ChatGPT chatbot, the Midjourney image generator, and the Bard tool from Google.

What this means for how content creators work

Using generative AI tools for work can greatly improve productivity because they can quickly generate content. They’re also fast and inexpensive. If you own a small business, AI tools can save you tons of money because you may not need to hire a content creator. Plus, since AI tools continue to learn, they’ll also be able to give you better results over time. 

Why this could cause problems

As is the case with most automated devices out there, generated AI content is not entirely fool-proof. And it also begs the question if it’s ethical to use AI, when these tools are trained on data provided by other people. Sometimes, without their permission. So let’s dive deeper into why AI tools might cause problems.

A cost-effective alternative isn’t necessarily better

One of the big benefits of using AI tools is their efficiency. They’re cheap and quick, meaning you don’t need to hire an entire marketing team. This is precisely why AI tools might be a problem. They threaten to make certain jobs obsolete. And you have to wonder if it’s reasonable that AI will take over the arts, which one might consider the most human of all jobs. 

Bad data

Another problem is the data that generative AI tools are trained with. They need large volumes to learn, and some systems, such as ChatGPT, use a lot of the data on the internet to train itself. And that’s undoubtedly what might cause problems. Not all data is ‘good’ data. Most of it is biased because humans are biased. Sexist, racist, or homophobic ideas are littered throughout the content we create, so if an AI tool uses that data, it’ll become a biased tool. The result? Offensive content that can’t be used. Or worse, offensive content that people will accept as truth and therefore post online, strengthening a message that shouldn’t be spread across the globe.

Misuse of AI tools

Furthermore, the data AI tools are using to train themselves could belong to people who didn’t know their content would be used to teach an AI. It has raised numerous questions: Is it still yours when you put something online? And when you’ve generated content using other people’s illustrations, is it your art piece? Unfortunately, there are no definitive answers to these questions. 

You might think that it’s not relevant whether a piece has been drawn by an artist or generated by someone else. But what if the art piece won a big prize? Is that fair to the other contestants who put in the time and effort? And let’s look at the world of academia. If AI generated an academic paper, it might be based on human thought but doesn’t contain human input. Is that okay? Do we want the place where people learn to develop their minds to become a place where people learn how to craft great prompts instead of learning how to think for themselves?

It’s not all bad

Luckily, there’s still hope. AI tools might be impressively smart but are still ‘just’ tools. To generate content, they need content that people produce. And if we find a way to ethically give AI tools good data, we’re one step closer to creating a powerful tool to help small businesses grow, so they can afford to hire a marketing team.

How to use AI to enhance your writing

Since AI tools are not completely ethical, should you refrain from using them altogether? No, there’s no denying that AI tools can be a huge help. However, we suggest you use them as guidelines, inspiration, and a way to boost your productivity on a day you might not feel like writing. Our AI for SEO online training course will help you improve your knowledge.

Use it as an inspiration to start writing

Do you regularly write content for your website or blog? Then you probably know the feeling of staring at a blank document because you don’t know where to start. AI tools can resolve this issue. You simply prompt an AI tool to write an outline, specifying which topics you want to discuss. Or maybe you need the AI tool to write the first paragraph, just so there’s something on the page. While reading your generated paragraph, chances are ideas will start flowing. You’ll be writing in no-time!

Be critical!

Still, it’s good to be critical when you use AI tools to generate actual posts or texts. Like we mentioned, AI tools can be biased. And they might be incorrect in their information. You should always read your generated piece, and fact-check any claims the text makes. In addition, you want to ensure the content meets your brand values by paying attention to what language is used, since it might not be inclusive. Luckily, if you use the Yoast SEO plugin, you can use the inclusive language feature to double-check your content. 

Give it a proper rewrite to make it yours

As mentioned before, AI tools can only imitate actual human thoughts and ideas. They generate based on existing ones. And while you might argue that that’s also how humans generate ideas and originality doesn’t exist anyway, you shouldn’t underestimate your personal opinion. It gives a unique flavor to your content. That’s why you should always rewrite (parts of) a generated piece of content.

Conclusion

Generative AI tools can be very useful for small businesses. But, like any technology, it has its drawbacks. It can be biased, or wildly incorrect. That’s why you should use AI as an inspiration to kickstart your creative process, and always read and rewrite your generated content. In our opinion, AI should augment, and not replace humans. 

Coming up next!


7 Responses to Are we digging our own hole with generative AI?

  1. Susanne Cruijff
    Susanne Cruijff  • 11 months ago

    I also wonder about how AI will impact the number of visitors to websites and how to convert searches to sales if all info is already given by AI.

    • Edwin Toonen
      Edwin Toonen  • 11 months ago

      Yeah, it’s hard to predict. Hopefully, some form of attribution will remain, so you at least can get a piece of that traffic. Plus, you’ll have the audience’s eyeballs on your brand name, so you can at least build some sort of authoritativeness.

  2. James Robert
    James Robert  • 11 months ago

    Very next level information.

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 11 months ago

      Thank you, James! :)

  3. Bud Kraus
    Bud Kraus  • 11 months ago

    Here’s another thing to consider.

    As time passes AI machines will be reading more content that was created by — you guessed it – AI.

    The implications of what might be inevitable are spellbinding. Think of it. Will the web become a giant echo chamber of AI machines talking to themselves? Will human thought, ultimately, be pushed aside?

    Time will tell.

    • Susanne Cruijff
      Susanne Cruijff  • 11 months ago

      Yes, exactly Bud! I wonder why this point is overlooked in practically all ‘critical’ posts about AI.
      The same re-chewed info everywhere is not in Google’s interest either. So one of the first AI developments I’m expecting (and hoping for) is a build in check whether the content of a site is authentic/ man made or AI created and then only using authentic content in the AI generated answers.

    • Cindy Paul

      That’s a very good point, Bud. And you sketch a scary vision of the future that I hope we’ll be able to avoid. Thanks for your insight!