GrammarPhile Blog

Will Software Replace Human Writers?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Dec 14, 2018 10:49:11 AM

Woman and RobotMany professionals and job seekers think that technology enhanced with artificial intelligence (AI) will automate most (if not all) occupations within the next decade or so, while others aren’t yet convinced.

Some professionals believe that grammar-checking software, for instance, is the first step to replacing human writers and editors. And then there are services that will auto-write “textual content” for you.

But what do you think? Do you think that robots or software enhanced with AI will be able to completely replace human writers, editors, and proofreaders in the near or distant future? Keep reading to learn more.

How Grammar-Checking Software Works

Grammar-checking software scans typed documents or text you enter on the web (depending on the grammar-checking program you’re using) and then compares the typed text against databases and other sources of online content to determine grammatical patterns, along with the feedback you provide it. Based on those grammatical patterns, it will identify errors and make suggestions for how you can adjust the text so that you can ensure that it is grammatically correct. Most word processors come equipped with grammar-checking software, and there are other software add-ons and plugins available.

Read Grammar-Checking Software: A Quick Review and Grammar Checker for some examples of popular grammar-checking software and for more details about how this type of technology works.

How Automated Writing Software Works

Software and content generation programs that write automated articles or posts for you are powered by machine learning AI that relies on natural language processing technology.

There are programs like Articoolo that will auto-generate posts for you once you’ve settled on a topic that you want to write about. And there are other AI-powered programs out there that reputable publications like the Associated Press and The Washington Post use to help expedite their news content output and production. Read Content Creation Robots Are Here [Examples] published by Content Marketing Institute for more information.

Why Software Won’t Ever Be Able to Replace Human Writers

At first it might be intimidating to learn that so many reputable publications and writers are relying on AI-enhanced software and technology for their content production. But it’s important to note that many writers and news reporters rely on such technology only to expedite their research processes and online mining for trustworthy sources and useful data. And even when such technology is used, it’s used only to expedite the overall writing process. The output still requires skillful writers, editors, and proofreaders. Here’s why.  

Humans Are Needed for Diction and Semantics

While software can now write a technically correct story with all the facts about a nursing home going ablaze, it won’t be able to offer an emotive component to the story that a human writer will be able to offer. A human writer will be able to incorporate the appropriate language, diction, and semantics for a story that reveals the true devastation and impact on the local community that such a fire would cause, for instance.

Such software also won’t ever be able to replace the type of creative and semantic language that’s needed for marketing paraphernalia, advertisements, or works of fiction. And it also doesn’t always catch repetitive language or phrases that are used throughout a piece of writing.

Human Writers Understand Colloquialisms

Human language is constantly evolving, so software that relies on real human language processing can’t be unmonitored. For AI software to remain relevant and useful, humans will always have to update its databases and provide feedback for current language usage. For instance, remember when “LOL” and other now commonly used acronyms weren’t in the dictionary? What’s more, AI-driven software won’t always be able to detect slang or other common colloquialisms that we use like “What’s up?”

Software Doesn’t Always Catch Misused Words

Software won’t always identify when a word is used improperly in a sentence and will not always identify incorrectly used homonyms in a sentence. For instance, the program might use “there” when “they’re” is the correct option. And it won’t always identify proper syntax in a sentence, especially when you’re adding emphasis or other contextual elements, as it doesn’t always understand the context or overall purpose for your writing.

See for yourself. Type the sentence “The boy the girl love is here.” into a Word document and see if Word’s grammar checker comments. It’s obviously wrong, but Word 365’s grammar checker does not spot it. 

Software Doesn’t Always Catch Missing Words

A lot of grammar-checking software and AI-driven writing software won’t include articles where they’re needed in a piece of writing, or they will use “a” instead of “an.” Or sometimes they will completely omit words that are needed in a grammatically correct sentence or that are needed to provide more specificity and context.

Human Writers Understand the Intended Audience

Writing software and grammar-checking software also won’t ever understand who your target audience is, so it won’t be able to adjust its tone, style, etc. based on the people who will read your text, unless you program it to do so. For instance, writing intended for a business professional will have different requirements than writing intended for customers, academic professionals, etc.

Read What You Need to Know About AI and Writing in the Digital Age for even more details about the pros and cons for AI-driven software for writers, editors, and proofreaders.

In what ways do you think software will be able to help writers, editors, and proofreaders? And in what ways do you think that it will cause more problems than it’s worth? Leave a comment below and share this post with others so that they can join the conversation too.

Topics: grammar checker, artificial intelligence

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