The Creative Tilt: Pitfalls and Rewards of Using AI for Content Creation

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Humans will be writing our content.” Tory Brangham, Chief Commerce Officer at Dotdash Meredith, gazes over fashionable spectacles toward the audience in the main stage at Affiliate Summit West 2024. With the entire world twitterpated over AI, Brangham’s words presage the pitfalls and rewards of using AI for content creation.

Why would a senior officer at the parent company to PEOPLE magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, and more, be so clear that humans, not AI, would be authoring its tens of thousands of articles in 2024 and beyond? For at least three possible reasons, each belying the fact that AI is ushering in a landslide shift in content creation. Brangham seems to be suggesting more of a tilt.

I. We all have the Same Information

Large language models have been trained with the same information. This means that everyone using them has access to the same information. In other words, we can make content very quickly but that content is likely to be very similar to what everyone else is making. As Chris Griffiths, CEO of OpenGenius, puts it:

“We have to be very careful of using AI as the answer itself… AI has access to the knowledge it has access to, and anyone using AI for a particular purpose will get very similar results. So it will make life easier, but it will also produce a lot of sameness. Anyone in a creative field, like in marketing, you have to be so cautious. You have to say to your clients, ‘yes, we are going to use AI, but as a foundation, a starting point in which to build creative campaigns.'”

As cited here

II. AI as Time Saver

AI is oft-cited as a time saver, but many are mistaken about how AI should best be used to save time. AI can’t write an entire, compelling and informative book, but it can summarize entire texts that aren’t important enough to your topic to be worth reading. It can’t help you resist the resistance that keeps creatives from producing, but it can help a tired brain massage the language of a passage that just isn’t flowing.

And AI is fantastic as a first drafter. Content creators want to consistently post high quality content, and AI can help us do that. It can quickly generate first drafts of hundreds of posts. As Abby Hehemann says, “There is no excuse to stare at a blank screen and feel defeated anymore.” It can also help us write ads, schedule campaigns, return emails, make beautiful graphics, art and video. It can talk better to machines than we ever can, Thus, it can be harnessed to get us back to work by helping the robots in chat boxes unban us from sites we’re banned from by a technical error.

What AI can’t do is think for us. Worshipping at the altar of technology risks inflating what AI can do for us and minimizing our own responsibility and capacity to be creative and innovative. We need to meet it (at least) halfway.

III. Mistakes, Mistakes, Mistakes!

The explosion of AI has generated some cool new content but it has also created a lot of garbage. Akin to the giant mound of plastic floating in the Pacific, we don’t need more trash in the interweb. Recently, I was trying to figure out how to change the aspect ratio of a video. I searched and found a video entitled, “How to change the aspect ratio in [my software].” Unfortunately, the video never addressed aspect ratio. Its glossy feel betrayed creation by AI and a distracted human.

AI should be one of the first tools we engage on a project, but it should never be the last. Producing content wholly with AI is like hiring a Big Bud 16V-747 to mow your garden. It may cut your grass, but it also might tear a giant hole in your yard and crash into your house.

IV. “Imagination is more important than knowledge” – Albert Einstein

The World Economic Forum did a global survey of executives where they asked what skills will be most important over the next ten years. Their answer? The meta-cognitive skills, like creative, innovative, and critical thinking. As machines take on more of the quantitative work, the power will be in the creation of new knowledge.

We are still in the infancy of AI, and also the internet, so we are still figuring out what it is. AI is a powerful tool, but it needs our eyes, ears, and heart to leverage well. I hope we see more content on the high quality side of the scale, and less on the garbage end. There are both pitfalls and rewards of using AI for content creation.

For an in-depth introduction to AI for marketers, check out this (unaffiliated) free course on Youtube.

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