Shakespeare is a machine

August 2022

Every writer has dreamt of being able to churn out articles factory-style. There’s now a new kid on the block called AI doing exactly that. The idea of AI-fuelled writing excites marketers who want to create a high volume of content daily, but can leave writers who pour their soul into their work heavy-hearted. 

With AI copywriting tools getting brainier and brainier, should human writers really have to worry about being replaced by AI? We looked into how it really works. 

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How does AI copywriting work?

In the early days of advertising, copywriters were the ones tasked with creating catchy headlines and memorable ad campaigns that would sell products. Today, copywriting is still an important skill for advertising and marketing, but with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), there is a new player in the game: AI copywriting. 

So, how does AI copywriting work? In short, AI copywriting is the use of artificial intelligence to generate human-like copy. This can be in the form of ad copy, website content, or even social media posts. There are a few different approaches to AI copywriting.

One common method is to use natural language processing (NLP) to analyse a large amount of data and then generate copy based on what it has learned. Another approach is to use predictive modelling to generate copy that is similar to what a human copywriter would produce. No matter what approach is used, the goal of AI copywriting is to produce copy that is indistinguishable from that written by a human. 

This is not an easy task, but it is one that is becoming more and more achievable as artificial intelligence technology continues to evolve.

Could AI replace human copywriters?

There are a few reasons why AI copywriting can't replace human copywriters. The first reason is that AI copywriters can't understand the nuances of human language the way that human copywriters can. They also can't come up with creative ideas the way that human copywriters can. Finally, AI copywriters can't build relationships with clients the way that human copywriters can.

It's no secret that the advertising industry is in the midst of an automation crisis. Many agencies have turned to artificial intelligence (AI) in an attempt to keep up with the rapidly changing landscape, but is AI really the answer?

There's no doubt that AI can be used to create better and more targeted ads, but it can never replace the human touch. Good copywriting is about understanding people and what motivates them, something that AI simply can't do.

Think about it this way: would you rather have an ad that's been written by a machine or by a person who really understands your needs? At the end of the day, it's the human connection that matters most in advertising. After all, we're selling to people, not robots.

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Learning on the playground

Could you smell the AI-generated copy from right under your nose? For once, we rested our fingers and let the AI write. In the name of science! 

The AI speaks when spoken to. Our self-serving questions pulled out relevant content, then critical thinking (humans only, sorry machines) checked it all made sense. BTW! AI is like a moth to a flame responding to questions, but as quiet as a mouse when you flip to statements. “Why AI can’t replace human copywriters” got us a 2 sentence reply, while “Could AI replace human copywriters?” granted us these 4 juicy paragraphs. Open questions = meatier replies. 

Even so, an article is usually conceived through asking ourselves questions. In cutting this corner with the AI, we too felt cut short. AI’s like a chronic people-pleaser – always replying exactly what they think you want to hear, and never leaving room for the brain to explore the thoughts that excite us and make writing worth writing. 

On the playground we kept pushing AI to its limits: discovering that certain literary gags can be used by fools like I, but not yet by AI. 

Assonance in a sentence proved to be something of a nuisance. Alliteration seems limited like the life of luscious lilies. Similes seem as out of reach as the finest topshelf liquor. AI seems to think it’s a crime to rhyme, and we’re sure they’d score four out of four if they ever produced an established metaphor. It didn’t get lucky with double entendres, and felt blue when irony wasn’t caught on cue.

As a copywriter, should I be quaking my boots? Not because of AI one day taking over my job, but after the literary car crash above…

Okay, enough razzmatazz. A moment of acknowledgement for the creative aptitude human writers have to make us feel things through words, please. I bawled like a baby at a recent friend’s wedding at the hands of a poem written by a loved one (who I'm quite sure was not an AI). The day AI writing makes me cry, I'll eat my hat.

Illustration: DALL·E