Artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t new, but it’s become a hot topic lately for content creators. AI writing tools like QuillBot, founded in 2017, and ChapGPT, a late 2022 addition, have fueled themes for countless content marketing articles and webinars.
So, what is AI? It’s a way of programming machines to think like humans and mimic our actions. This branch of computer science dates back to the early 1950s. And many current-day AI-powered products have made our lives simpler. Think digital maps and navigation programs, voice assistants and even drive-assist in vehicles.
And, knowingly or not, writers have been putting AI to use for a while now.
Here at WriterGirl, we use AI-powered tools to check for tone, reading level and even plagiarism. Grammarly is one of our go-to products. This “writing assistant” suggests copy enhancements using specialized AI techniques.
If we’ve been using AI for years, why does today’s hype leave writers like me wondering if I’m staring at my replacement? Fear of the unknown, maybe. Or perhaps technology is straying too far from “AI writing assistant” toward “robot writer.”
Before I began doom-scrolling and dusting off my resume, I thought it would be a good idea to take some AI writing tools for a spin. So I created an account on ChatGPT and tested its ability to generate content for a blog post on a common health topic: ovarian cysts.
Was I secretly hoping to find AI’s fatal flaws? Maybe. And I did find some cons. But I also found some positives to AI-powered writing tools.
Here are three takeaways from my AI test.
1. AI writing tools can help with interviewing and brainstorming
I wasn’t interviewing an expert for my blog post, but I wanted to know how helpful AI could be for interview planning. So, I asked: “What questions could I ask during an interview about ovarian cysts?” The tool generated 10 solid questions to ask a physician or other clinical expert.
This tool could be a great resource when developing interview questions, especially if you’re working on a tight deadline. And you might also use ChatGPT as a brainstorming partner to help generate ideas for headlines or subheads.
Learn more about interviewing subject matter experts.
2. AI writing tools can curb blank page syndrome
Writer’s block is real. If you’ve ever stared at an empty Word document for far too long, AI could be your remedy.
AI writing tools allow you to ask questions or use more direct prompts to generate content. For my ovarian cyst blog post, the client luckily provided direction and resources. But I decided to go to ChatGPT before digging too deep into my own materials. So, blank page in front of me, I asked ChatGPT’s chatbot some general questions like:
- Who’s most at risk for ovarian cysts?
- Should I worry about ovarian cysts?
- What are the main types of ovarian cysts?
These questions generated some good information, though the source of that information wasn’t clear. Ultimately, the results of my questions in ChatGPT didn’t offer anything more than I could have easily found on Google. Next, I took things a step further by creating several prompts, like:
- Write a blog titled “Should I worry about ovarian cysts?”
- Write a blog titled “Who should worry about ovarian cysts?”
These prompts generated short blog posts, so I got a bit more specific with my word count:
- Write a 600-word blog titled “Should I worry about ovarian cysts?”
Sure enough, ChatGPT offered me a nearly 600-word (543 to be exact) blog post for consideration.
Despite having several blog posts to review and select from, I couldn’t get past the fact that the generated content offered no sourcing. My test begged the question: How can I trust what I’m reading? Where is the information coming from and does it contain bias?
I’ve also read that AI can “hallucinate”—a term used to describe when this technology confidently dishes out information that’s just flat-out wrong.
In the end, I wasn’t comfortable with wholesale use of the content generated from my questions and prompts—mainly because the words weren’t mine, but also because I had no way to measure the truthfulness of what ChatGPT served up. And, in healthcare writing, readers are seeking truth.
My principles and skepticism aside, I was impressed by ChatGPT’s speed and can see how it could be useful to writers struggling to get started on an assignment.
Learn 4 ways to get out of a writing rut.
3. AI can’t replace human empathy (yet)
Despite what you may have read recently about chatbot conversations going awry, computers are not human. They can’t generate the empathy necessary for most writing, an imperative in healthcare content creation.
No matter which question or prompt I entered in my test of ChatGPT, it generated rather emotionless copy. Healthcare content creation requires an empathetic approach. And, today, that isn’t something a computer can generate. I do plan to do more tests in the future, including desired tone as part of my prompts.
Read why empathetic communication in healthcare is more vital now than ever.
Things to watch out for when using AI writing tools
- Content overload. I’ve found that too many resources, especially for a quick blog post, can be overwhelming. I was very intentional about asking multiple questions and entering several prompts in my test of ChatGPT. Because of that, I ended up with a lot of words (without sources) to dig through — on top of the client-provided sources I already had in hand. To make ChatGTP useful and avoid content overload, you may want to narrow your list of questions or prompts to just a few.
- Healthcare consumers want information they can trust. But ChatGPT doesn’t cite sources, so there was no way to prove the generated information was accurate. You can’t make assumptions about the truthfulness of AI-generated content. Continue to verify information with trusted online or (gasp!) human sources.
- The lack of sourcing within ChatGPT also left me wondering if it pulled any of the generated copy directly from another site or article. Out of curiosity, I ran every AI-generated piece of content through the Grammarly plagiarism checker. It’s not lost on me that I used an AI-powered tool to check AI-generated content. Still, the content came out quite clean. Others I’ve talked to haven’t had the same experience. My best advice: Use AI-generated content to help you generate ideas, but don’t use it word-for-word as your own.
The bottom line: AI can help writers, but it won’t replace them
I had fun testing ChatGPT. Mostly because I realized that — like Grammarly, Google and so many other digital tools — AI could actually help me do my job. I and others at WriterGirl will continue to test the capabilities of AI writing tools and figure out if and how they can support us and our clients. But I think it’s safe to say robots aren’t replacing good writers anytime soon.
WriterGirl can help support your content creation
WriterGirl has 20+ years of experience crafting empathetic, human-generated custom healthcare content. Contact us anytime to learn how we can help you reach your goals.