By Nadia Sotnikova
As someone working at an indie publishing agency, reading about robots that write news articles is terrifying and exciting at the same time. I am not a writer; I am a marketer, so the prospect of another major shakedown of the publishing industry makes me hope if not for a better future, then at least for something new. New challenges, new opportunities.
This morning we had our weekly, company-wide conference call where we discuss what’s happening with our company and the world around it. As usual, I did some research before the call and stumbled upon an article about writing-robots. When I shared it, I swear I could hear terror on the other side of the line, despite everyone trying to play it cool. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but still, as a writer, how would you feel?
Chances are all of us have already read an article written by robots, and we couldn’t even tell the difference. The programs writing these articles are getting more and more sophisticated and will most likely replace simple writing such as weather reports and sports updates. But what happens when these programs become smarter?
Technology Makes Us More Human
Self-checkout at stores and self-checkin at airports. Turbotax, Squarespace and Wix. Software is replacing jobs. Or is it? Actually, the amount of jobs is declining very slowly. Despite us having great alternatives to hiring someone to do a job, we still hire people. Why? I believe it’s because people adapt and learn to offer extra value, something robots can’t provide.
Robots will force us to become more human and bring more personality into the services we offer. Just like in any healthy competitive market, competing with robots will improve the quality of the work we do.
How will it affect writers, and freelance writers in particular? Writing-machines will do us a favor and push us to become more creative. It’s time to learn how to write engaging, humorous, unique, and thought-provoking pieces because even if robots ever learn creative writing, it won’t happen any time soon. Probably not in our lifetime, or not ever.
How To Survive In The Age Of Robot Writers
Develop your creative writing skills
Make yourself irreplaceable. If you have been writing simple news articles, and that makes up the bulk of your orders as a freelance writer, in the future computers can easily take over your job. Creative writing is a whole different story. It’s unlikely that computers will be able to produce a book, a witty essay, or a beautifully crafted article that reflects your experience and your worldview.
Have an opinion
Computers can’t take sides, but you can. Not all writing calls for your personal opinion, but if it does, computer can’t replace human analytical skills.
Have a style
Chances are computers will be able to mimic existing writing styles because, to some extent, it’s already possible with more complex data algorithms. However, all a computer can do is mimic or mix what already exists. You can make yourself stand out from the crowd of writers (or computers) by having your own original writing style.
Use robots to your advantage
It’s highly unlikely that robots will replace writers, but they can replace some routine tasks that writers need to perform. If analyzing data, doing research, and drafting dry data-driven pieces can all be done with the help of a computer, then why not let it do its job and spend more time on the more creative and fun aspects of writing?
Just like most technological advances, robots’ ability to write will certainly affect the publishing industry and change the way we do things. We can adapt and use the new technology to our advantage. Whether you are a large publisher or a freelance writer, writing software can help you become more efficient and push you to explore your more creative side.
Guest post contributed by Nadia Sotnikova at the Blooming Twig. The Blooming Twig is an independent, boutique publishing house that supports the adventurous tastes of its readership.