Will ChatGPT replace Writers?

A look into the future of writing in the age of intelligent machines.

By
Bani Kaur
May 17, 2023

💡This article was written in collaboration with Wordtune.

Or more importantly, will rapidly developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) replace writers? 

I’ve been wondering about this since 2018, when I first read about AI in books like Superintelligence, Homo Deus, and Future of the Mind. 

I was fascinated by what AI could do and its implications for humanity. I’d thought it would eventually replace all professionals and eventually, even the human race.

And ChatGPT was the first time we saw AI in an accessible, creative, and user-friendly way. 

As a writer, it was scary…to say the least. 

So will ChatGPT replace all writers?

No. 

Will it replace most of them?

Yes. 

Writers working on top-of-funnel, informational content? Gone. Because ChatGPT is better at documenting processes and outlining step-by-step guides than most humans. And it can complete these tasks in a fraction of the time. 

It's not wise to reject the advantages offered by AI: speed, inspiration and examples.

Every single time I’ve seen ChatGPT failing miserably, it’s because of a poorly executed prompt. 

Writers repurposing content into different formats? No longer needed because ChatGPT can do it with a flick of the wrist. 

But this is not a dismal post about how writers are doomed with the rise of ChatGPT. This is a motivational post about which writers are at risk and what you can do to pivot.

So let’s get started!

High-risk writing roles

1. News Articles

ChatGPT can quickly and cost-effectively generate authentic pieces. Writers whose primary service is news articles should pivot to investigative journalism since ChatGPT can’t uncover information found only through personal interviews. 

Investigative journalism and in-depth analysis require detective skills and proactive decision-making skills to publish news. All news channels sport a different tone which AI cannot differentiate between.

2. Product Descriptions  

ChatGPT does a good job when creating descriptions for generic products. Furthermore, if multiple products are in the same category, it quickly understands the USP and helps publish 100s of descriptions without manual input. 

Writers who specialize in writing product descriptions should pivot more toward products with intricate detailing or ones needing user guides. ChatGPT cannot replace writers for these products because it doesn’t have the liberty to test products in reality. 

P.S: Writers can also bundle services of product descriptions with user-manual or guide writing to base their service on first-hand experience instead of online data. 

3. Technical writing

ChatGPT can write complex and detailed documents and manuals in the tech space. It combines data from around the internet and can quickly consolidate facts and figures related to a specific tech service/product. 

To stay one step ahead of ChatGPT, technical writers should focus on writing more in-depth pieces that require a personal opinion. They can also expand on providing consultation services, proofreading, and developing more skills, making them an irreplaceable asset for the client. 

If you’re from tech space, you’re already well-acquainted with the advances in technology. You can leverage your experience to create content with a personal touch that ChatGPT lacks. 

4. Basic content creation

Basic social media posts or announcements?

ChatGPT can do it in a blink. 

That is harmful to writers who focus primarily on basic content creation. With a simple prompt that mentions the occasion, reason, and result, ChatGPT can create numerous results that are engaging and fulfill the purpose. 

If writers focus mostly on creating basic content, it’s time to rethink the strategy. Your client will treasure you more if you bring something new and unique to the table. 

So, the best course of action is to pivot towards creating complex creative content that doesn’t rely on generic internet information and requires real human input and interpretation. For example, instead of writing blog content on “5 Benefits of Exercise”, make it more specific, like “5 Ways My Body Transformed Through My Monthly Exercise Regime”. 

The second prompt is more specific, and since it’s a personal experience, ChatGPT will not be able to interpret your Gym experience since it’s not basic. 

5. Data-driven journalism

ChatGPT processes large chunks of data in minutes and creates useful and factual reports. 

Data-driven journalists have the power to one-up ChatGPT by not just focusing on writing reports backed with data but adding insights on why and how a specific statistic will affect the industry. 

They can use data to create arguments, debunk myths, and make the article more knowledge-based rather than figure-based. 

6. Business Reports

With ChatGPT, companies can consolidate large amounts of data to create reports that are the same as any human being. It’s simply—collecting and stating it in a report. 

Business report writers can distinguish themselves from this generic notion by creating reports that focus more on the story behind the numbers rather than the frequency of the numbers. They can write recommendations and add narratives based on numbers and add a more personal view on how these numbers might affect a business or industry in the future.

AI will not replace writers anytime soon, but writers who use AI might.

Low-risk writing roles

1. Creative writing

Every human being has a unique perspective about things, people, or places. This aspect of creativity remains untouched by ChatGPT. It cannot replicate the voice of human beings that is loaded with emotions and outlooks from a different mind. 

If you fear that ChatGPT will catch up—hone your creative skills. 

“Flexibility means moving into new lucrative markets and opportunities, if you need too. What worked two years ago, might not work today (Hi, ChatGPT).”

(Mike Keenan)

Writers should develop a voice they’ll be known for and adapt to a unique style that AI or machine learning cannot replicate. 

2. Screenwriting

ChatGPT lacks the ability to develop the complex emotions behind the characters, associate names with personalities, create a dialogue or write a plot that is unique and out of this world. 

Screenwriting is time-consuming, and it takes days or even months to nail a single character due to complex character development and their role in a story. 

Screenwriters can secure their jobs even more if they focus on writing compelling stories and striking a connection with their viewers through audience research and a focus on human emotions. Screenwriters shape the existence of characters from scratch, which is not possible for ChatGPT, and puts this profession at a low risk of being affected by AI. 

3. Poetry

AI-generated poems are usually monotonous and high on the fancy lexicon. Poetry inspires and bedazzles people with flowing verses, metaphors, and lyricism. Huddling sentences together through AI creates a few winning passages but the rest of them can be unimpressive. 

The symbolism and hidden meaning behind a poem is the most precious aspect of it. Poets evoke powerful emotions and write from their experiences, making their poetry iconic. They can enhance their importance further with a unique style and leveraging on personal experiences that nobody knows about!

4. Opinion pieces

ChatGPT cannot imitate interpretive intelligence.

If I want an opinion on a controversial subject, I’d much rather talk to a human being than a machine. That’s because personal opinion is more effective when a human voice is attached to it. The drama, the emotions, and the little side stories are indispensable parts of an opinion piece that AI will find hard to replace. 

Writers can continue their expressive commentaries on social and other pressing issues to avoid competition from AI. 

5. Editorial Content

Editorial content is exclusive, and if anyone can write it with AI, it’ll lose its intended purpose. Editorial judgment is irreplaceable and acts on knowledge acquired over the years. 

Editorial writers should continue to provide this unbiased guidance to their readers and not worry about AI. They can upskill by adding more topics under their specialization belt and using AI to enhance their efficiency further.

6. Academic writing 

ChatGPT can do basic research assignments but cannot create academic papers from scratch as they involve rigorous research. These papers are bundles and boundless of ongoing research and analysis, which is possible only when the writer is proficient in the subject.

Academic writers can thrive with ChatGPT if they keep providing in-depth analysis of a subject and contributing more to its current status. 

7. Ghostwriting

Ghostwriters are essential for the writing ecosystem. They help businesses and clients save time and money and increase revenue with their unique skills to capture a voice and create content from their client’s perspectives. 

AI cannot replicate the same voice over and over again for different topics, which creates inconsistencies and leads to more editing work. A ghostwriter does it all and more with their unique abilities to touch on a topic without compromising on the quality.  

Writers can thrive with the assistance of AI

AI will not replace writers anytime soon, but writers who use AI might. A writer’s emotional touch and emotional intelligence will always stay in demand. AI is the means to provide efficiency and create better results cutting down on research time and bringing more attention to detail. 

AI is a pivot point in writing where writers can tackle long and detailed assignments in less time thorough research with AI. Moreover, AI does good work of creating basic content and ideation, which writers can use to build their personal brand and score more deals. 

Why won't AI replace writers?

"Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."

(E.L. Doctorow)

"If you really care about writing, you'll keep a firm grip on the steering wheel, and only let AI give you some turbo throttle.” 

(Ben Pines - Director of Content at AI21Labs/Wordtune)

AI can be a writer’s headlight in that fog and help them reach the destination faster than the estimated time with its insights. 

Lastly, don’t dread the existence of AI; upskill, learn, and implement new ideas and information to be an evergreen writer.

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Bani Kaur is a freelance B2B SaaS writer for clients like Klaviyo, Litmus, Dooly and a writer for the SaaS Nordic CEO and Executive Network. Bani uses design thinking to write research-driven and value-packed content for B2B SaaS brands.