Column: Will ChatGPT replace human writers?


Welcome to the year of AI content creation. From writing to artwork created by artificial intelligence software, the internet is embracing this “make-the-computer-do-it for-me” approach.

Soon after OpenAI launched ChatGPT at the end of November 2022, the company was valued at a cool $29 billion. But my question is: Will AI chatbots replace human writers? Not anytime soon.

As a content manager for a robotics startup, my day job involves writing relevant and interesting articles, case studies and thought leadership on my industry. It takes time to do this well, but quantity of content is simultaneously as important as the quality of the work.

For website articles, SEO, or search engine optimization, is king. In theory, you could crank out a ChatGPT essay once per day and load it up with all the keywords you want your potential customers to find in a Google search. This would direct customers to your website, where they might purchase your product or service. But what if the writing is lousy?

After weeks of experimenting with ChatGPT, I’ve found that the service creates vague and repetitive articles. If you type in a prompt such as, “Write a blog article discussing the limitations of AI-written website articles,” you’ll get a result that is a solid “C”-grade essay. If that is your standard of quality, then feel free to publish it on your website.

During winter break, Princeton computer science major Edward Tian built software that can sniff out a ChatGPT plagiarism checker called GPTZero. Essentially, GPTZero can determine whether a human or a bot wrote an article.

Although I come from the “don’t use Wikipedia as a source for your research paper” millennial generation, I do fear the rise of AI chatbots is going to make us even more reliant on these technologies to form coherent thoughts. In fact, there’s a dating app service that will help you compose replies to potential matches that will help you sound cooler, sexier and funnier. It’s a regular cyber Cyrano de Bergerac.

AI software like ChatGPT does have some cool applications. You can prompt it to write original jokes; you can use it as an alternative to Google to explain complex topics; you can even prompt it to write a silly limerick about your great Uncle Vern. I’m sure we’ll be able to harness AI technology to create interesting and useful content, but it’s not going to replace this columnist anytime soon.