interior of domed ceiling

AI and communication

This time I am going to try to look into the future and make some predictions about how AI will be used for our processes of communication. It will be quite a different world when these possibilities are taken for granted realities.

It came as quite a shock when I found out that AI is so advanced it can actually write blogs for websites (not those as complex as one of my blogs, or at least, not yet). Lucinda McKnight offers an entire paragraph which was generated in 2 seconds by the apparently still free content generator Zyro.

Here is this example from her article in the Conversation on this theme:

I am experienced with personal training, athletic performance, and nutrition. This includes working with children, pregnant women, older adults, people with disabilities, athletes, and anyone looking to achieve a competitive edge, improve their overall health, and overall performance. I also have an interest in alternative health, including wellness coaching and nutrition counselling. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, the outdoors, and writing.”

The AI program was prompted to write more with a couple more prompts and ended with this faulty sentence:

“I am a mother of two healthy children and a wife to two incredible people.”

She also suggests two resources for paraphrasing, Quillbot and WordAI. While they might offer a good start, they are unlikely to produce error free writing.

Anyone teaching at a university is likely to have come across websites which offer to produce what they call research (in other words, university assignments) for payment. Every once in a while one of these organisations emails me an invitation like to join their team of so-called editors, and once I start to dig into the organisation’s offerings, they include this kind of work. In the future, more of these sites will probably use AI for part of the writing process. This is just an evolution of this existing practice in this illegal industry.

So, like many technological advances, there are possible pitfalls as well as benefits. Another AI development is the increasing application of algorithms for selecting which news we might be interested in reading in our various personalised newsfeeds. The scope of this is huge.  As news agencies tend to rely ever more on talking points delivered from press releases, we might end up reading more and more widely about an ever more limited range of topics from an increasingly restricted variety of writers working for fewer and fewer agencies. I find myself reading the same phrases reproduced in different news channels which are supposedly the summaries of interviews and speeches. I receive a tailored news feed from the Australian Broadcasting Commission (not commercially owned). When I click on an interesting article about a person from the selection in my twice a day newsfeed, more and more of these human interest stories appear in these newsfeeds in the next few days. Sometimes I like to play games with the algorithm and click on one story out of ten per day, just to get it to do something different. Do you?