On AI-generated content and the future of my job

I work in content marketing. My job mostly consists of defining formats, producing, writing, and editing content, and ordering content from freelancers and agencies. Needless to say that the nature of my job will obviously be impacted by AI; it already is.1 I am the exact kind of professional that needs to be aware of these changes, of these new tools — and I’ll try to call them tools and not threats or toys — to see how they can fit in my workflow, how they can help me do a better and/or faster job, and if I need to be worried that one day, my boss will tell me “we don’t need you anymore.”

From what I can read these days, and I have not read as much as I should have, it seems that three main categories of opinions are forming around generative AI:

  1. It will become so good that content creators/managers will basically disappear, this software will eventually replace humans for most of content-related tasks.
  2. It will become so good that content creators/managers will benefit greatly from these tools, become more efficient and will be the ones within the company to tame the Chat-GPTs and DALL-Es of this world.
  3. It will never be as good as a the content it aims to replace, no need to be concerned for now, just live your life, keep doing a good job and you’ll be fine.

The vast majority of experts seem to be very optimistic and fall into the second category: AI will become more and more powerful and capable, more and more useful; content creators will eventually have to adapt and everything will be great: different, but great. At least that’s what I gathered from my readings, underneath the obligatory questions and overall uncertainty.

I guess I’m a bit suspicious when it comes to the sincerity of many of these authors, in a “nobody wants to know that we’re all doomed so nobody writes about it” way, hence most of them being quite optimistic both about AI’s future and its impact on society, whether they truly believe it or not. It’s understandable, and in the same way, few of them really wants to write off these fantastic technological advancements or warn about their potential dangers, issues, and problems to the risk of being seen as anti-tech and anti-innovation. On that, an interesting quote by Deepmind’s CEO, Demis Hassabis, on Time:

“When it comes to very powerful technologies—and obviously AI is going to be one of the most powerful ever—we need to be careful,” he says. “Not everybody is thinking about those things. It’s like experimentalists, many of whom don’t realize they’re holding dangerous material.” Worse still, Hassabis points out, we are the guinea pigs.

This is very hard for me to have an clear opinion. Sorry if you started reading this post to know what I think. Like most critiques, I want to fall into the second category, but the truth is that I really don’t know. This kind of advancement around AI is inevitable, and of course many jobs will be replaced by these tools, very soon, including mine eventually. But it also emphasises the need for a transparent and obvious human-touch on content creation; there is hope.

Eventually I think AI will end up being like pre-made meals. They’re easy, cheap, quite good — especially the latest generation of frozen meals — and you can find them everywhere. Even fancy restaurants use pre-made stuff: whether it is desserts, French fries, or dumplings. But you know what? People still go to restaurants. Chefs and cooks still work at restaurants. Despite the convenience of pre-made meals it seems that we, as a society, have never been so obsessed with food and with finding the latest amazing place to eat.2

I guess it will be the same with AI-generated materials; text, images, voice, music: it will be everywhere, used by everyone, but the real deal — something that may or not be called/labeled “human made” one day — will be even more appreciated and valued. If we can actually spot the difference

In the end, the general vibe around generative AI apps is that they are great tools, will become much better very soon, and we — as a society — just need to adapt. What is sure is that a new era will be defined by AI, and not only for content, but for many, many things. It’s both terrifying and very promising.

  1. Translation tools have become excellent in the recent years, and AI has played a big part I guess.↩︎

  2. Yes, this analogy followed me watching The Bear, and it was one of the best TV series I’ve ever watched.↩︎