Dan is on the ninth day of his last razor blade cartridge. The replacement set is 12 days late and nowhere in sight. If you know Dan, you know this will not do. Pretty soon he’s going to be scraping off whiskers with a butter knife. Or trying.
So a call to Dollar Shave Club was in order. Hey. We write about supply chain/logistics all day long. We understand the snarls that are out there. But a man needs his razor blades.
Of course, every company’s web site tries to first redirect you to the FAQ section. But the FAQ section doesn’t know where Dan’s razor blades are. So the next step is the chat bot. Now that chat bot is very well-versed in the finer points of shipment tracking. It can explain exactly where you need to go to track your package.
But Dan has already tracked his package, and it’s been “out for delivery” for 12 days. Dan explains this to the chat bot, who then comes back with the same exact explanation he just offered for how to track the package.
And at this point we realize something: For all the writers terrified that AI-generated content will take our jobs away, it’s helpful to take a deep breath and recognize the limits of what AI content can do.
For sure, a time may come when it’s very good at spitting out a meeting summary, a product description or even a thought piece. Tell your AI creature to write a piece touting the virtues of supply-side economics, and maybe the day will come when you’d think Adam Smith had written the darn thing.
But it’s one thing to be able to put words and sentences together. It’s another thing to be able to think on your feet, explain the unexpected question and solve problems. That is also part of content. So is this: The actual human being – maybe a CEO, maybe a policy leader, maybe a community activist – whose thoughts you want to hear because of who he or she is.
It’s fine that the AI bot can write a well-reasoned article about how to run a company. But the AI bot has never actually run a company and has no personal insight or experience. People want to hear that kind of information from people who have been there. The AI bot has never been anywhere.
We are not cavalier about the potential for AI to impact our industry. We think it could change things a lot, and we urge everyone who writes for a living to get ready by shoring up their own value and making sure they are able to deliver something no machine can match. Because the machines are going to try.
But we also recognize that much of the value of written content comes from the mind of the writer, and the ability of that mind to think through a unique problem or situation. The future of non-AI writing will probably be along those lines. For the sake of everyone who writes for a living and hopes to continue doing so, we urge the entire industry to start thinking along these lines.
Only humans write for our company, and you can meet them here.