Post Abstract

When it comes to a battle between pen and processor, humans win. Artificial intelligence won't replace you, and here's why.

Oh, AI, What Big Teeth You Have

  • By D. Christensen
  • 2023-05-09

Remember Little Red Riding Hood, who went through the forest to visit her dear grandmother? Then the Big Bad Wolf stepped in.

That Wolf intended to devour Little Red Riding Hood. He even disposed of Little Red's granny, trying to disguise himself in stereotypical granny-garb and take her place -- the better to overcome the youngster. Fortunately, the wolf was no match for a cunning child who knew how to think quickly, and in the end, a huntsman dispatched the wolf.

And that was the end of that. Maybe.

Some people think the Big Bad Wolf has returned, this time cloaked in the guise of artificial intelligence (AI).

Has it?


The Forest for the Trees

It can be challenging to find the forest where the Wolf lives when all the trees are in the way.

Scary AI forest forest.png

AI has made tremendous strides in recent years, touted as a technology that will revolutionize many industries. We're already seeing evidence of significant disruption of the status quo: a writer's strike, new construction industry trends, and home-based medical diagnoses

Some people are anxious about how AI will impact the future -- and our survival. They point to AI's seemingly innocuous granny garb, citing concerns that AI will destroy not just Little Red Riding Hood but all of humanity. Because AI "can do all kinds of things," it's earned a place on Warren Buffet's worry list (on equal footing with the atom bomb), and Elon Musk has repeatedly voiced the need for AI regulation.

Former Google computer scientist Geoffrey Hinton's take on AI is perhaps even more concerning: "It's a 'more urgent' threat to humanity than climate change." And he should know -- he's the godfather of AI.

Many others are weighing in on the AI debate, and so far, three distinct responses regarding this technology's impact have emerged:

  • Do nothing, other than unplug and let the trend pass.
  • Embrace AI fully; the future has arrived, and we can't close the door.
  • Proceed optimistically but cautiously. 

Many tech leaders have urged monitoring, regulating, and pausing further AI development.

Here's our take.


Where the Ink Meets the Page

While AI is indeed an amazing technological breakthrough, it is essential to understand that it will not replace humans entirely in writing and communication.

First and foremost, writing and communication are creative arts that require human imagination and emotional intelligence. AI can automate proofreading, grammar checks, and data analysis tasks. Chances are strong that you already have been using early forms of AI: autocorrect, spellcheck and grammar editing software, to name a few. Still, AI lacks the ability to truly understand the complexities of language, meaning, and emotions.

The human mind is unique in its ability to understand and express thoughts, emotions, and experiences in a way that AI cannot replicate. 

Is AI good at writing?


But it's also tone-deaf and devoid of personality. The voice is flat and soul-less like notes long evaporated from a forgotten saxophone in a jazz club of the last century.

Great writers, journalists and communicators will always be in demand because they bring something to the table that AI cannot -- immense passion for what they do.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

George Fuechsel, an IBM programmer and instructor, was right: "Failure to make right decisions with precise, accurate data could lead to wrong, nonsensical results." Years ago, this concept became known as Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO). Your derived results will never exceed whatever you fed the system. 

The same is true with artificial intelligence -- to a point.

AI's understanding of language is limited by the data used to train it. Biases and inaccuracies can limit any understanding of language. As a result, AI cannot be relied upon to make decisions that require a deep understanding of language, meaning and emotions. In simplest terms, artificial intelligence copies what it sees and hears, spitting out canned responses to queries. Garbage in, garbage out. 


Where AI Fits in the Communication Continuum

Despite its limitations, AI plays a role in writing and communication. As a creative partner, artificial intelligence can automate certain tasks such as proofreading, grammar checks, and data analysis, freeing up human writers and communicators to focus on their work's more creative and vital aspects. For example, AI may:

  • Edit communications for language conventions and word usage, which frees up the writer's time.
  • Evaluate the strength of rhetorical arguments so that writers may focus on logic and clarity.
  • Automate tedious tasks such as fact-checking and data analysis, allowing writers to focus on the creative process of writing and storytelling.
  • Analyze large amounts of data and metrics in real time, providing writers and communicators with valuable insights into what resonates with their audience. 

While AI is an amazing technological breakthrough, it will not replace humans in the realm of writing and communication -- yet.


Machines write; people tell stories.

Even with its limitations, AI continues to evolve and improve rapidly. It may well outrun us but not replace us entirely. 

Writers who learn how to use technology effectively will continue in their craft because human creativity, imagination, and emotional intelligence will always supersede AI. When we write with our souls, we have power over artificial intelligence.

However, ignoring AI in the hopes it will disappear would be a grievous mistake.

AI generated wolf.png

In that case, we may find ourselves staring into the face of a ravenous Big Bad Wolf, from which no Huntsman can rescue us. 


Note bene: All images were AI-generated.