Why Human Writers Are Increasingly Called to Fix AI’s Bungled Output


A mentor once gave me great advice on how to price freelance writing work:

“Give every prospective client three options,” he said. “They can get the writing cheap, they can get it fast, or it can be good. But of these three options, they only get to pick two.”

This is so wise. Consider why.

  • Writing that costs little but mandates a breakneck turnaround cannot be invested with the necessary care to be of good quality.
  • Writing performed at hyper-speed can still be excellent … but it must pay the craftsman’s opportunity cost for undivided focus.
  • Writing paid at below market rate can still end up being good writing … so long as the craftsman has plenty of time to review the piece from all angles and ensure its quality. (Spoiler alert: Working writers do not have this time. We have paying clients who need our attention.)

So what does this have to do with AI? 

Right now people are rhapsodizing over AI’s capacity to generate written content. Need a 10,000 word document? No problem! Just feed your parameters into an engine like ChatGPT and presto! Ten thousand words appear like magic.

If my example stopped there, every writer I know would be out of a job. But it doesn’t stop there. In fact, this is where the real story begins. The story most people are missing.

As every veteran wordsmith knows, no writing is ever complete until it is read. Moreover, when it is read, the writing must persuade readers to action or new levels of comprehension … or else it has failed its mission. 

For example:

  • Any piece of copywriting that does not highlight a product’s features and benefits while overriding potential objections to purchase, said product will not move a reader to point of sale.
  • A technical manual that does not clearly, systematically, and engagingly escort users through a given procedure will incur confusion, delay, inaccuracies, potential risk exposure ̶  and sometimes wrath among stakeholders.
  • The core mission of every novel is the novelist’s intent to justify the time and money readers spend on their book. The current fiction market is highly competitive. A novelist’s failure to win a solid fan base means fewer readers will take a chance on their next book. Follow this trend to its logical extreme and the publisher drops the novelist … just as any other business drops a non-producing service provider.

What do each of these examples prove?

Good writing demands many things: experience, technique, inspiration, and wisdom. Mostly, however, it demands humanity. You have to think and feel like a human to write compellingly for humans.

Churning out massive volumes of text in the blink of an eye? *Yawn.* So what? Have you ever tried reading the text AI generates?

In most cases, the work product is generic fluff delivered in a dry (some would say brittle) tone that neither sells nor compels. Additional drawbacks include AI’s now infamous quirk of making up spurious sources to justify questionable leaps of logic.

There’s no spice in its output. No flavor. No smile-inducing Aha! moment. No earworm. No feeling like “Wow, this author totally gets who I am.”

Of course not.

An AI has no comprehension of what it means to be moved. To have its life trajectory altered, for better or for worse. To have its very existence changed by new challenges, new insights, new outlooks.

An AI does not breathe, does not hope, does not celebrate. It does not love or grieve someone who’s missing or feel the thrill of daring to dream. It does not understand the dignity of courage and sacrifice nor the debasement of cowardice. It has no ability to taste the tiny victories we carbon-based lifeforms savor to get us through our days. And because of all this  ̶  and so much more  ̶  AI can’t speak to our humanness and to what drives, inspires, and teaches us.

In Conclusion

The reason good writers are prized … and the reason that many of us are now being called on to rewrite what AI has either botched or not quite hit the mark on… is that we’re NOT machines. We’re human beings with a deep desire to connect with other members of our species. That’s what makes us great at what we do … and why, for the foreseeable future, AI will not replace us for anything but the most menial tasks.

i3 Can Help

If you’ve been wondering about the best – and worst – uses of AI in your organization, particularly when it comes to effective communications;

If you’ve been downsizing your copywriting, marketing, speechwriting, technical writing staff, and have found less than stellar results;

If you need to fix AI’s bungled output,

i3 can help.

Complete the form below or give us a call at (908) 232-9545.

Published on April 10th, 2024


Damon DiMarco

Damon DiMarco's books have earned praise from The New York Times, NPR/PBS, CNN, MSNBC, National Geographic Channel, and other media. He also ghostwrites for thought leaders in many sectors while churning out speeches, technical manuals, annual reports, and marketing materials for corporate clients and as a contributing member of the i3 team. Find out more about his work at thewritestuff.pro.