As computer technology evolves exponentially without many hindrances, conversations about “machine vs human” are becoming more commonplace. Today, we have AI (Artificial Intelligence) programs in place that can write content automatically using complex algorithms. Below, we’ll be discussing the controversy and logistics surrounding content written by robots vs that of humans. Before we dive into this topic, we want to inform you that this blog is written by a human (which is exactly what a robot would say…).
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THE NATURAL LANGUAGE GENERATION
Automated Insights is a company that uses NLG technology, which stands for “natural language generation”. According to their website, this equates to “technology that transforms data into clear, human-sounding narratives—for any industry and application”—yes, it sounds a bit dystopian. They work with a platform called Wordsmith, which functions as a content generator based on input information. On their demo page, they show an example of how Wordsmith functions. If, for example, you input road accident data from across different regions, it will be processed by the conditional logic and software that makes sense of that data, which will automatically write something like “The total number of road accidents in Texas is 30% higher than in Massachusetts”.
To give you a comparison of content written by NLG and a human being, this New York Times article put the two to the test. Can you guess which one is which? “Things looked bleak for the Angels when they trailed by two runs in the ninth inning, but Los Angeles recovered thanks to a key single from Vladimir Guerrero to pull out a 7-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sunday”. “The University of Michigan baseball team used a four-run fifth inning to salvage the final game in its three-game weekend series with Iowa, winning 7-5 on Saturday afternoon (April 24) at the Wilpon Baseball Complex, home of historic Ray Fisher Stadium.” It’s quite hard to tell—but the first one is the robot.
FEAR OF THE WRITING ROBOT
Many content creators are becoming bitter about this technological advancement, which is a common response to any technology that threatens to make one’s job obsolete. We’re at the point where machines can create content, but the technology is still years away from being anywhere near as refined and effective as content written by us humans. Before we completely disregard machine writing as evil, consider that in the future we’ll have the ability to automatically generate very complex content delivered as simply as possible to inform the public of a certain message. Imagine having machine-written instructions for conducting CPR, directly tailored to the specific individual for the optimal level of effective learning.
THE BENEFICIAL MACHINE
Today, machine writing can be beneficial for content creators looking to speed up the writing process. Simply by correcting and polishing machine-written text, it can sound more human. We already do this with Google Translate. Often, we translate a piece of content to a second language that we don’t know as well as our mother tongue, then change a couple of words and phrases to make it sound better.
PROGRESSION OF MACHINE WRITING
Realistically, the first thing that will be replaced is statistical content. For example, “France scored a goal with only 2 minutes remaining on the clock”. The last to be replaced will most likely be creative writing. That’s because statistical writing is very predictable, whilst creative writing comprises many human quirks and flourishes, as well as a rich and imaginative human experience to back it all up.
MACHINE WRITING VS HUMAN WRITING
At Yuqo, even though we use various tools to aid us in the writing process, we never sacrifice the human. There’s just something missing from machine-written content that doesn’t measure up to human creativity. Perhaps in the distant future, this will change, but for now, human content is the best content. Our native writers and editors are skilled at incorporating technology to streamline the content creation process, while always retaining a distinctly human touch.