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When should we use ‘AI’ or ‘machine generated’ content?

After a couple of recent musings here on ‘AI’ or ‘machine generated’ content, I was asked if I thought we should all be piling into these tools and filling our websites with cheap content. After all, if the tools are able to create content which is just about indistinguishable from human-generated text, why not?

Machine-generated content is definitely frowned on by search engines, and will be classed as spam. But can the search engines really tell? I suspect not, and I also think that the AI tools will remain a step ahead of even the amazing technology employed by the likes of Google.

And yet…

Can we be sure that the content provided by online AI tools is really original? Give one of these tools the same seed data (headline, etc) at different times and from different accounts, and it might well come up with the same thing. What if someone else has already used the same tool to generate content answering the same search query?

Then there’s the problem of the AI tool simply not having our experience. Nobody (human or machine) has our relationship with our audience. Can content we don’t write ever really say what we want it to say? Imagine commissioning an experienced freelance writer to create the article. Consider the detail of the brief they’d be given, and the amount of editing which might take place afterwards. An AI content tool would need to be given at least as much, to come up with something acceptable.

For now, I’d only use these tools on projects which we might traditionally have deemed acceptable to give to an inexperienced external writer. That might be none at all. However, as an ideas generator or even as a research tool, there are very sound reasons for using them.