Why AI content writing tools put trust in your business at risk – and how you can deal with that

‘I got it to write my child’s English essay. We didn’t have a clue what to put in it and it wrote it for us. They wouldn’t submit it. They said it was cheating.’ I’ve paraphrased it slightly but that’s a comment I read on social media this week.

 

Other people have excitedly posted about writing courses, ebooks, and content for clients in a matter of hours.

 

What are these people talking about? ChatGPT.

 

If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s an artificial intelligence (AI) computer program which has been designed to chat like a human. Ask it a question, it will give you the answer. And it’s good. It sounds plausible and if you ask it to write your English homework, or a social media post, or write material for a website, it speedily gives you something that reads well.

 

Amazing, right? Maybe.

 

Did you feel uncomfortable at any point when you were reading those examples? The child’s homework: would you have handed it in? The course written by the computer: would you have sold it? Would you have been happy to pay for it?

 

We are entering a new era. One that certainly affects the content marketing industry, but one with wider implications as well.

A person in silhouette in front of a wall of lights glowing blue and green.

Trust, creativity, and value are all being put to the test

I’ve seen people talking enthusiastically about ChatGPT’s powers. ‘I used it to write about a topic I don’t know about!’ Is a phrase I’ve read.

 

People have told me they have used it to write an About Us for a generic company in a particular industry. I’ve read a couple. They sound plausible. The usual platitudes about the things the average consumer expects.

 

Scrupulous people may well find this saves them time by giving them a first draft to edit and make their own. Fair enough.

 

Unscrupulous people?

 

I can’t prove it but I have no doubt that as I am writing this, websites are being populated with content generated entirely from ChatGPT. This will be used to show the people behind them as trustworthy experts. How is the consumer to tell?

 

Scamming people just got a whole lot easier.

A laptop being closed, the keyboard is glowing.

Content creators and consumers face an ethical dilemma

Trust is key if people are going to buy from you. Its foundations have been gradually eroded over a number of years: bots, fake ads, misuse of data, ‘fake news’, ‘project fear’ have all played their part. Figuring out fact from fiction in a world where different people are being told alternative versions of what is ‘real’ via traditional and social media is becoming increasingly difficult.

 

And now we’re able to write books, websites, and public information campaigns by typing a prompt into a computer program.

 

A computer program which tells you: “I am a large language model trained by OpenAI, and my function is to assist with generating human-like text based on the prompts I am given, not to provide factual information or conduct research.”

 

Not to provide factual information.

 

It can generate a lot of copy quickly but the information might not be true. For example:

A screenshot of a ChatGPT conversation. The question is: "What's the third oldest university in England?" The response is: The University of Oxford is the third oldest university in England. It was founded in 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world. The University of Cambridge, which was founded in 1209, is the second oldest university in England. The University of St Andrews in Scotland is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world.

If you’re a Blackadder fan, you’ve now got a punchline in your head. If you know the answer, you can spot what’s wrong. If the age of England’s universities has never been something you were aware of and you saw this, would you question it? You’d certainly be puzzled by the logic.

 

AI’s ability to write conversationally makes it a brilliant way to spread disinformation. You can ask it to write about the same topic repeatedly and it won’t copy itself so you can quickly create a body of work containing the same false claims written slightly differently.

Welcome to a world where no-one knows fact from fiction.

It used to be that if it was in a book it would have been thoroughly researched and could be relied upon. Now? You can potentially self-publish a work of fiction masquerading as fact in a couple of days.

So where does this leave us?

Do we all pack up and go home? No. China has issued “Regulations on the Administration of Deep Synthesis of Internet Information Services”, according to Ars Technica. Less authoritarian regimes will probably follow suit. Search engines will also be working to stem the tide of computer-generated content designed to beat their existing algorithms and appear at the top of the page.

 

I don’t think this is the end for content marketing, book publishing, or the need to do your homework properly.

 

But I do think it’s going to lead to a creative shift, and exacerbate the fracture lines which are becoming more apparent in society as ‘truth’ becomes increasingly subjective.

A woman looking at a light installation. The overall lighting is blue with a web of connections with white nodes.

Those of us with ideas to share, who want to make a change in the world, and stand up for our values, will continue to create and contribute. The bar is going to be set higher and we need to show we pass it if we’re going to be known, liked, and trusted with people’s time, attention, and money.

 

This is a time for creativity and it’s never been more important to be an individual. Upping the stakes means new opportunities for innovation and for you to shine.

 

Get in touch with me if you want to stand out in the new content marketing era.

Picture of Rachel Extance

Rachel Extance

Award-winning journalist and blogger. I help service-based business owners communicate who they are, what they do, and why. If you struggle to talk about yourself on your website or your content marketing, get in touch with me.

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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. The Story Cave Ltd disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.