NOTE: Wordcraft introduces AI-assisted copywriting on a trial basis as a viable option besides fully-human content writing for clients seeking to cut costs and turnaround times. Warning: Results may not be up to fully-human standards, concerns about confidentiality and copyrights will need to be addressed on a case by case basis, and Chinese language copywriting and translation services will not be supported for now.
Major takeaway - While ChatGPT is great at consolidating facts, structuring a draft, and writing perfectly correct English, it still lacks a human flair and the ability to produce truly original content.
Technology afficionados were quick on seizing technology company OpenAI’s invitation to test their new toy when it was launched in November last year. Few months down the road, the excitement is starting to infect all segments of society. From the time you first started to hear about the bewildering new AI, you’ve probably come across dozens of your contacts telling you about it. By January 2023, the number of ChatGPT’s monthly active users had already exceeded 100 million users, making the bot the fastest growing consumer application in history.
Behind the company that developed this prodigy are brilliant people and famed investors (allegedly including Elon Musk, though he has regularly warned about the dangers to humanity AI could cause if left unchecked). Most prominent among such investors is tech behemoth Microsoft, which has offered its cloud services to train and run ChatGPT (a Gargantuan task given the amount of writing the bot had to ingest) and financial firepower as well, with the last round of investment amounting to around USD10 billion over an undisclosed number of years, which would value OpenAI at around USD29 billion.
The question on many peoples’ minds is whether this outstanding technological achievement would pose an existential threat to the near-monopoly Google holds over search. Picture this: you are searching for information on a specific topic. Would you rather browse through a list of links and spend time reading and fact-checking what different sources have to say, or get a straight answer from a bot that perfectly understands what you are looking for and deliver you a bite-size summary that is 99% likely to be entirely correct and covers most if not all that has ever been written on the subject? Students were soon quite happy to find out they could now complete an essay assignment within a few seconds, triggering many schools to ban the use of ChatGPT (though many other schools have chosen to embrace the technology).
But we’re digressing. Among the many things this bot can help up with, what we would like to establish here is, can ChatGPT, or any other similar AI cropping up in the future – thing Google’s Bard, maybe – help its users write or do a better job at writing content? Can it produce results that are so eloquent, sophisticated, well-informed, logically structured, and importantly, so creative that the task of a content writer would be made nearly irrelevant?
You would naturally expect us, as a copywriting agency, to present a nuanced answer. After all, every company has its own brand guidelines, and it is hard to imagine a software program delivering a copy that incorporates the right content, articulated in a compelling manner, and that embodies the right brand voice. Failing this, we may end up with robot-like writing that doesn’t convincingly speak to the end consumer. Furthermore, a copywriter’s task very often involves going through a large number of materials to thoroughly study a product or service, and learn about a client’s strategy, positioning, and key selling points. Finally, up-to-date market research may be required to deliver information in a way that appeals to consumers and differentiates the brand from its competitors. We’re going to find out precisely what ChatGPT can do. Since so far no AI has been programmed to safeguard its own interest by lying, we’ll rely on a candid interview with ChatGPT (answers have been summarised, but please feel free to ask it yourself for more details). Forgive us if at times, we were so engrossed with ChatGPT that we felt as if we were chatting with a specialized consultant and felt compelled to say “Please” before asking the AI to complete yet another task (thank goodness, ChatGPT never tires or gets irritated, save amid traffic overload).
Where are you the most helpful when it comes to writing tasks?
ChatGPT answers that it can help with sentence structure, syntax, grammar, spelling, alternative words or phrases that improve meaning. It can also offer feedback on tone and style, help brainstorm and outline ideas, and offer examples and templates for a number of deliverables. Let's try.
Can you edit the sentence “No cat are happy when she not caught mouses”
"No cat is happy when they haven't caught mice." Note that ChatGPT makes sure to suggest an answer that is gender-neutral.
Is the information you provide always accurate?
ChatGPT answers it cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information it provides. Furthermore, its training only includes data up to 2021.
When are you most likely to make mistakes when writing?
ChatGPT confesses it may not be that good at writing fiction or poetry. Is that false modesty? I am sure it is not intentional.
Are you able to provide your sources as required?
ChatGPT confesses it was trained on a large amount of data, but cannot refer its knowledge to its sources.
Can I give you a bunch of background materials so that you can write copy incorporating necessary information?
ChatGPT promises it can perform such task. A pity that for now, you cannot just dump a pile of Microsoft Office documents or PDF files.
If I give you a text, can you make it sound more professional?
ChatGPT boasts it can do the task, working on tone, style, and structure. Let's try.
Can you make the text "Little Lilly bought a lot of grass" sound more professional
ChatGPT’s answer is "Miss Lilly purchased a considerable amount of grass". Sounds about right.
In which areas will your writing require substantial human intervention?
ChatGPT admits that substantial human intervention will be required when trying to generate content that needs to be engaging, creative or persuading, or adhere to specific brand guidelines, or draw on specialized knowledge.
If I give you a topic, can you write a 2,000-word essay about it?
While ChatGPT says it can generate a well-written essay, it concedes it may not be as insightful or nuanced as one written by a human expert.
Can you generate creative content based on a topic and a few facts?
Likewise, ChatGPT confesses that, while it can do that, what he generates may not be as creative or insightful as content written by a human expert.
Write a short paragraph about Abraham Lincoln knowing that he considered drunkards to tend to have a more noble mind
ChatGPT successfully complies and comes up with a short paragraph that mentions Lincoln's general beliefs about human nature and his tolerance for those who indulge in alcohol.
How do you decide on the structure of an essay you are asked to write?
ChatGPT responds with a typical structure: introduction, thesis, conclusion. Not much room for opposing opinions articulated as a debate and leading to a logical conclusion, although the bot has proven itself able to answer difficult questions by offering contrasted answers.
Would you say the flow of the texts you write can be a bit dull or monotonous?
ChatGPT admits that, as a computer program, the answers he comes up with may appear to follow the same, monotonous pattern. Its focus, it says, is on accuracy rather than creative flair.
How good are you at composing transitions from one paragraph to the next?
ChatGPT answers it is confident it can do a good job at building such transitions. Let's try.
Please write a transition between "The company hopes to add 10 million subscribers with the acquisition" and "Users will have access to all the company's services"
Here is ChatGPT’s answer. We’d say, not bad at all, but you’ll be the judge.
The acquisition of the new company is expected to bring significant benefits to the existing customer base, as well as attract new users to the platform. With a goal of adding 10 million new subscribers, the company is committed to providing high-quality services to all users, regardless of their previous experience with the platform. Once the acquisition is complete, users will have access to all of the company's services, giving them even more options to choose from when it comes to their online activities.
Please write an apology email regarding shipment delays
We won’t copy ChatGPT’s response here and let you see for yourself. The result is flawless, straight from the PR playbook.
Please write a holding statement regarding an explosion at a factory the causes of which are still unknown
Again, ChatGPT delivers by the crisis PR playbook and not much is to be said about its proposed holding statement, save perhaps the mention of “our thoughts and prayers” being with the possible victims of the factory incident.
Can you write a text in the style of my choice, e.g. formal, casual, friendly, humorous?
ChatGPT confidently asserts that it can write in a variety of styles, including those I mentioned. Let’s find out!
Write "The car crashed into the street light this morning" in a humorous style
We were amazed with ChatGPT’s response to this request. Here’s what it offered:
“Well, it seems like someone had a little too much "drive" this morning! A car went on a collision course with a street light and, needless to say, the street light came out victorious. Let's just hope the driver's insurance policy has a "bright" future, if you catch my drift.”
Can you write in the style of a famous author?
ChatGPT assures us it can give it a try. Although this may not be of immediate use to our clients, we were dying to find out if this were true as it would prove the AI’s linguistic prowess.
Write "The car crashed into the street light this morning" in the style of Ernest Hemingway
At this point, we will no longer attempt to fathom what on earth powers this bot. Here’s its outstanding response:
“The car, a speeding bullet through the city, met an unforgiving fate with a lone street light, its trajectory forever altered by an untimely collision.”
And yes, we searched on Google if this content comes from somewhere. Nope.
Can I give you a text and ask you to change the tone from formal to friendly?
ChatGPT says it can. Of course it can. At this point of our interview, our questioning and doubting are becoming borderline insulting.
Change the sentence "The company will grant every subscriber an option to redeem selected gifts from our preferred suppliers with the available balance of their loyalty points" to a friendly tone
Here’s what ChatGPT came up with (a little over the top, but that could be a good start):
“Hey, we have some awesome news to share with our amazing subscribers! You can now redeem a bunch of cool gifts from our preferred suppliers using your loyalty points! We've got some seriously awesome stuff up for grabs, so be sure to check it out and treat yourself to something special!"
If I ask you to shorten a document from 1,200 to 600 words, how will you keep key information?
ChatGPT advises that it will make sure to identify key facts while leaving aside extraneous information and focusing on data that matters to the target audience. Well, we’ve tested it and it can do a reasonably good job.
Please write a short press release regarding the impending acquisition of company B by company A that will help company A expand its footprint in Thailand. The acquisition is still subject to regulatory approval and the valuation is USD300 million
See for yourself the end result. ChatGPT came up with a detailed template, not only incorporating our information, but also inserting placeholders for more details on the rationale for the transaction, a description of the acquisition target, and a quote from Company A CEO. Again, straight from the PR playbook, nothing wrong to say about that.
Creatively write a compelling paragraph of 150 words with key selling points to promote a new washing powder
ChatGPT’s proposal really defies our humble understanding of what technology can or cannot do. Outstanding! Here it is:
"Introducing the revolutionary new washing powder that will change the way you think about laundry. Say goodbye to tough stains, dingy whites, and costly laundry bills with our brand new, ultra-concentrated formula. With its advanced cleaning technology and powerful stain-fighting agents, this washing powder is tough on dirt, yet gentle on your clothes, leaving them clean, fresh, and soft to the touch. Plus, our unique formulation is specially designed to work in both cold and hot water, giving you the flexibility to do laundry on your terms. And with its long-lasting, high-efficiency formula, you'll save money and reduce your environmental footprint by using less detergent per load. So why settle for less when you can experience the cleaning power of our new washing powder? Try it today and discover the difference for yourself!"
Final words (these are ours, by the way)
As you can see from this article, ChatGPT has proven itself to be a valuable assistant to any professional writer, who can use the AI's input as a basis and add a more human and nuanced touch that matches your brand guidelines and company tone of voice (after all, we won't see a future where all brands communicate using the same AI-generated template). For now, the service is free (it is actually in a trial page), but OpenAI or Microsoft will likely want to soon monetize this revolution. Needless to say, it will still be far cheaper than trying to find staff who can complete the above tasks in a matter of seconds. This means many copywriting tasks will become significantly more efficient. This is why Wordcraft, which stands at a forefront of innovation in Hong Kong, has decided to introduce services where robots and humans cooperate for better results. With more basic tasks being increasingly delegated to AIs, our job as professional writers promises to get a lot more exciting.
If you feel like knowing more about ChatGPT's vast capabilities, simply sign up at https://chat.openai.com and fire away. While ChatGPT never tires, the service can at times be overwhelmed with heavy traffic, although in our experience such interruptions don't last for too long. Enjoy, and share with us your views!