You’re probably too young to remember the Luddites.
I’m not talking about the 11-piece folk orchestra but the group of disgruntled textile workers who went around smashing up the machinery that made them redundant. This caper began in the 1800s (and no, even I’m not old enough to remember that). The concern that new technology will steal jobs has not gone away though. The 21st-century’s weaving loom is (currently) ChatGPT.
You have no idea how many times I have written ‘ChatGPT’ incorrectly. Certain words seriously twist my silly little melon.
So, should content writers be shitting a brick right now?
I get it. You’re expecting some glib, snobby writer’s answer. Something about being human and creative and superior… oh, you just wanted the short answer? Well, it’s not that straightforward but sure, the short answer is no.
But perhaps, at this present time (Feb 2023) mediocre content writers might be seriously touching cloth. I’m not talking about you (you’re a brilliant writer) I’m talking about the folks defecating banal perfunctory blogs—those people should be worried because ChatGPT seems to write that kind of stuff effortlessly—and by default. Conveniently, banal and perfunctory just happens to be 95% of B2B content so no doubt there will be hordes of business owners and content farms (disguised as agencies) positively clucking to get their hands on it. Because why pay a human to write shitty blogs when they can get AI to write shitty blogs? For the lazy, disinterested, unethical organisation, ChatGPT will seem like the content-writing silver bullet.
I did sound a little snobby then but stick with it, I don’t think what you think I think.
What is ChatGPT?
Eventually, I had to copy and paste ‘ChatGPT’ so I got the spelling right throughout this article.
ChatGPT is a chatbot. I know—total disappointment. I too was expecting something far more exciting but then I always am. I need to learn to lower my expectations. Ok, that’s unfair, it is a chatbot but it’s a really clever one. It has the ability to understand and answer open-ended questions (which is much more than most of my romantic partners could ever do). This software will be able to think and learn. It’s essentially a search engine. And like Google, it pulls its information from the internet.
(You’re still unimpressed, aren’t you? Feel free to bugger off.)
ChatGPT is the tool, not the craftsman.
As I began writing this article, ChatGPT hit full capacity, which means I am yet to play with it, but from what I gather, it has lots of wonderful applications (probably). Tasty features that can help different people.
For example, it can mentor individuals with poor literacy skills. I mean, how marvellous, what a life-changing positive thingy. The downside is it incites people to murder—I’m kidding—it won’t engage in anything illegal, misogynistic, racist, homophobic or transphobic—thank fuck for that! But it will write code (BORING) and take on the mundane tasks content creators don’t like to do. So they could use it to find ideas and help with strategy. It could do your keyword research. And if you really want it to, it could pen your first draft. But for me, I want to spend my time writing so a tool that eliminates the donkey work would be truly super.
Let’s all calm the fuck down.
A considered reaction to ChatGPT is much needed. Can we please, in this instance, act rationally and keep our heads? It would seem not.
Content writers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. The thing with AI is it is only as good as the human operating it. It requires a creative at the helm. It doesn’t know your audience and it has no clue how you speak to them. If you decide to use it to write your blogs and social media posts, it will need careful editing. Not only for tone but for the source material it cites, because, as you know, trust is the bollocks for SEO. Worryingly, ChatGPT’s answers can look authoritative but be wrong:
“We have lots of work to do on robustness and truthfulness.”—not a quote about the state of modern-day politics but from the creator of ChatGPT, Sam Altman.
Search will stay but it will evolve.
ChatGPT (and AI in general) will change the face of SEO. Search queries will become more bespoke, more detailed and more nuanced. And ChatGPT will adapt to the intentions of the user. Search will remain relevant but like almost everything else, it will advance and develop.
Erm, is it Neil?
I am a pedantic bastard so I would argue (no surprises there) that search is like the street your website lives on. Your search page result—your page meta title and description is the front door, surely? Sodding hell, Neil!
Search is only going to get more sophisticated. And depending on your point of view, that’s either thrilling or terrifying. As Microsoft merges Bing with ChatGPT and creates the ultimate search engine power couple, Google scrambles to fast-track its equivalent: Bard. (Bard, really? Just imagine how bad the other suggestions were.) And yeah, that launch didn’t go so well.
Will ChatGPT impact ranking?
Well, folks, AI-generated content goes against Google’s guidelines. (Oops.) So if Google were to spot that your content has not been created by a person, Google could potentially penalise your website’s ranking. But unless Google has developed code to detect AI content, you might get away with it. Wanna take that risk? I’ll leave that response with you. Nothing has changed with regard to quality, Google wants you to provide the best possible information for search—content that is well-crafted and can be trusted. That applies to human and AI-made content.
Hold your horses.
Proceed with caution when the majority get fired up about the next big thing (my thoughts immediately turn to Clubhouse).
Quite often that next big thing is like those wank fireworks you could buy from your local newsagents. All that hype on the packaging: “This is the most fuck-off rocket known to humankind!” and it wasn’t. What you actually purchased was a pathetic squealing noise and a bang no louder than the pop from a day-old party balloon.
Yes, AI has been in development for years, also yes, we knew the day would come when the tech would be scarily good but it still has a way to go. Remember how virtual reality was going to change our world? The film, The Lawnmower Man came out—scaring the living shit out of us, and then nothing. Thirty years later, Zuckerberg rebrands it and it is again, going to change our world.
Look, crocheted jumpsuits were fairly zeitgeisty in the 70s. Peeps in the 50s were sure we’d now be driving flying cars. We can forecast the future all we want but we haven’t yet figured out how to accurately predict the future. But what we probably can expect, from ChatGPT at least, is more errors and teething problems.
Thank you, Julian 🥰
I can’t decide if I found this illuminating, chucklesome or all three.
I would aggressively implore business owners who shared my experience – herein described – to seriously entertain the possibility, maybe, pretty-please-with-a-cherry-on-top, of hiring humanoid, Sarah Wilson Blackwell, for some revenue-generating SEO content high jinks.