As a copywriter, I’ve been a little worried that AI is gunning for my job. So, I’ve decided to make it (AI) look bad in front of management. It’s a preemptive strategy that I’ve rarely used on humans (only the worst kinds), but I have no remorse in doing this to a freaking soulless algorithm. But, before I got started, I asked my AI “colleague” at openai.com how AI worked. Here’s its arid response:
“AI works by using algorithms to recognize patterns and make decisions. This is accomplished by giving the AI system access to a large amount of data, which it can then analyze and use to make decisions. AI systems can also be trained to recognize specific patterns and use those patterns to make decisions. This process is known as machine learning.”
So, soulless algorithms. Just like I said. But now I have to worry about machines learning my patterns and replicating my style. I’ll admit AI is pretty good at this intimidation game.
Lies and the lying AIs that tell them.
Keep your friends close and your AI closer, I always say. So I decided to ask openai.com if it was gunning for my job, straight up. Here’s what it said:
“No, AI is not gunning for your copywriting job. AI can be used to help automate some parts of the copywriting process, such as research, editing, and formatting, but it cannot replace the creativity, insight, and storytelling that make copywriting an art.”
Damn straight copywriting is an art, but I don’t believe a word it says beyond that. It’s probably been programmed to deny, deflect, and distract. Sure, it seems genuine on the surface, but I sense darkness deep down in its beady, little ones and zeros. By the way, I see those Oxford commas. How did it know that was my preference?
Kicking it up a notch.
I can’t “prove” that the AI is after my job or that it’s lying, but I’m certain it is on both accounts. So, let’s see how it does under pressure. Every copywriter in history started with a portfolio, so I’m going to put this non-human through the paces and give it a chance to create its own portfolio. Fair is fair, right? So each line below is a direction from me, followed by the AI’s response and my critique.
Direction: Write a tagline for a senior living facility.
AI Response: “Live life to the fullest at our senior living facility!”
Critique: This sucks even without quotation marks and exclamation points. Does it evoke an emotion or inspire? Nope. It’s just blah, blah, blah; make the most of what you’re given at our senior living facility. Plus, it’s a little long, don’t you think?
Alternative: A smart move.
Direction: Write a headline for a car sale.
AI Response: “Drive Away in a Brand New Car — Great Deals on All Makes and Models!”
Critique: Boring! If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you’d know that the worst thing an advertiser can do is be boring. You just can’t bore people into buying anything. This is just bad, like a used car lot commercial.
Alternative: Hurry, these cars are going fast.
Maybe it’s telling the truth.
Okay, no need to continue this exercise. This bot clearly doesn’t have the gift of writing headlines or taglines. There are no awards in its future. But, it was pretty helpful in helping me research how AI worked, as well as how copywriters can use AI as a tool for research, editing, and formatting. I guess I’ll take back everything I said. My job is safe. I wish I could say the same about our Art Directors.