30 Jan ChatGPT: Will creativity be worth more?
We’ve heard rumblings for years now of AI’s capabilities and potential for changing almost every facet of our lives – from manufacturing and computing to finance and healthcare. But it seems we’ve reached a watershed moment in our own industry recently, with the launch of the natural language AI tool, ChatGPT.
What is ChatGPT?
In case you’ve missed the buzz, ChatGPT is an AI chatbot auto-generative system created by AI research and development company Open AI for use in online customer care. But because it has natural language capabilities and sources its data from a huge volume of textbooks, websites, and various articles online, it’s able to produce content that seems remarkably coherent and well written. Already, people in the content and marketing industries are seeing its potential far beyond just a chatbot: because of its superior grasp of reason, logic and language, people are experimenting with it to create all kinds of business content, from sales emails to social media posts to blog posts.
As a result of this, there’s lots of chatter currently about whether writers will be out of a job, since they’ll theoretically be replaced by a tool that can write grammatically correct copy on almost any topic you ask it to write on. On the one hand yes, it’s very likely that certain basic types of copywriting will now be easily handled by an AI tool such as this one. Think of all the kinds of writing produced in large volumes that doesn’t require a huge amount of creativity to do so, such as product description copy, or basic explanatory copy within a sales document, or an introductory paragraph for a customer newsletter. All that could be easy work for an AI tool like ChatGPT (there are others too).
A renewed focus on creative writing
At the same time, I also believe that there are some kinds of writing that won’t be as easily replaced: creative copywriting – that kind of writing that comes from the imagination and that imparts personal experiences or anecdotes in order to create an authentic human connection.
This begs the question: if the basics of copywriting are outsourced to an AI, does that mean creative writing will become more of a premium product that fewer people can do – and so will it be valued more? Currently, most of us are familiar with the image of the ‘starving artist’ – that poor hapless soul sacrificing their commercial money-making abilities so that they can focus on their passion and creativity. But it’s something that’s never sat well with me: why do the two have to be mutually exclusive? Why is it that the world seems rigged against creativity – and that it’s only the left-brained pursuits – finance, accounting, venture capital funding, selling – that seem to generate a good income for the average individual?
Of course I’m not talking about the outliers here – the William Kentridges or Steven Spielbergs or JK Rowlings of the world who’ve knocked it out the park commercially with their creative pursuits – I’m just talking about the ‘average’ creative. Why are their skills and talents not valued from a monetary perspective? People enjoy art, and pay money for it…but how many poets do you know who earn a good living from what they do? It seems the artists, although providing a contribution to the world that in some cases transcends or even outlasts their lifetimes, don’t benefit enough from it in a practical sense in terms of generating a stable income they can live off.
An opportunity to value creativity?
Maybe, just maybe, AI – rather than being the perceived threat to our livelihoods many of us see it as – could be the opportunity our society needs to redefine what type of work is valued, and what we as humans have to offer. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see creatives paid more for their work, not just in the writing space but when it comes to art in all its forms, whether that’s painting, graphic design or sculpture?
We still have a way to go to get there, but if the arrival of AI means reevaluating our role in society and refocusing on what makes us intrinsically human, that would surely be a desirable outcome for all involved. That is, as long as the AI doesn’t render the humans as being obsolete in the meantime…after all, does an AI value creativity? That is the real question, it seems.