Back in the day computers and software were much more expensive than they are now. Of course, we wanted the newest of the new, but we had to wrestle with a critical decision point – the line between the leading edge and the bleeding edge. Buying too soon was very costly since what you got was not quite fully developed and, in the end, a complete waste of a lot of money.
I haven’t heard the term in a while, but it came to mind immediately when I test out a few of the many AI writing tools. You’ve probably heard all the commotion about ChatGPT, but there are a ton of other similar artificial intelligence software apps available. The ones I tested are still bleeding.
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is software that is programmed to continue gathering and storing input, to learn from all available sources, and to integrate that information into its database. There are a ton of very helpful applications for AI, from health care to resource exploration, and beyond. There are also limitations. In terms of AI tools for writing, those limitations are still significant.
Here’s one example. One of the tools offers to paraphrase longer content. I gave it three paragraphs from one of our previous newsletters, The advantages of hiring and retaining older staff. It did paraphrase down to three sentences, but, it made a grammatical error that resulted in stating the opposite of the original content.
“Older workers are often less likely to call in sick, be on time, and have less workplace injury.” This reads that older workers are less likely to be on time and are less likely to have less workplace injury. The original first sentence was that older workers call in sick less often. The AI rephrased that first sentence and then went on to the other points without dealing with the grammatical issue.
In another example, this one from a rewriting tool, the new wording overstates the point. The original statement was that Canada’s economy is recovering quite well…. The AI tool said, “Canada’s economy is bringing positive change….” Not totally wrong, but not really the same thought either.
The three other tools I tested didn’t change the meaning of the content, but did make it somewhat awkward and lacking a natural flow.
Full disclosure, I did not test any tools that required payment, and perhaps those are better. Still, based on what I did see, I doubt that any are advanced enough to cross the line to “leading edge” and replace a seasoned professional writer.
Now, when it comes to playing chess, always bet on the AI.