Just a few years ago IT pundits would have claimed that artificial intelligence (AI) could never create content as well as a human. The software can never be truly creative. Programs only ever process the information they receive as input. Therefore, it stands to reason that no AI algorithm can ever put together material as well as a person could.
A major paradigm shift has these experts sweating because developers realized something about creative professionals nobody seemed to notice. Most content creation isn't creative in the purest sense. Rather, writers and editors take information from other people and put something new together with that data. That's precisely the kind of job that AI excels at the most.
Automatic News Content Generation
One area where AI authoring techniques have already been successful is in the journalistic field. An overwhelming majority of news stories stick to a specific set pattern that deviates little from one story to another. Very traditional publications continue to make use of the reverse pyramid method of structuring content, which dates back to the development of telegraphy.
Standard news jargon is used to connect sentences, which drastically reduces the total level of entropy involved in writing a story. This has coincidentally allowed AI-based algorithms to put together stories almost instantaneously when fed the correct facts. Some demonstrations of this technology have focused on XML feeds that provide sports scores and statistics, which can then be plugged into variables inside of a set template.
Readers have become accustomed to a particular style of writing when they access recaps of a sporting event.
AI & the Content Marketing Industry
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a technology that's long powered chatbots and customer service query handlers. Sophisticated systems like IBM's Watson have deployed similar technology through the Apache UIMA framework. By hashing possible responses and sorting them into either self-balancing tree structures, NLP subroutines can quickly locate the answers to fact-based questions and present them in a way that obfuscates the fact that they were delivered through software.
Content marketers are beginning to apply NLP platforms to augment research performed by humans. Advances in b and b+-tree design has come far enough that NLP algorithms can put together multi-page summaries based on fairly open-ended questions.
This kind of software can take existing content and sort it into various subsections while rewriting it and properly citing sources. Since there's no need to create entirely new content in these cases, it's possible for AI algorithms to write coherent material that's nearly as good as what a human researcher could have put together.
Content Sorting Through Cryptographic Hashes
Even the most efficient data tree design can only take developers so far. Newer content management platforms are turning to blockchain-based storage systems that record metadata alongside the information itself. By tagging different pieces up and down a ledger, content creation software doesn't have to look nearly as hard to find individual pieces of information needed to put together a story.
While these kinds of systems need a large library to work from, they're very useful for social influencers and other marketers that need to put together material on many different topics. Extremely large ledger chains give this kind of software the freedom to compile pieces on open-ended topics.
The Role of Humans Moving Forward
While there have been many alarmist reports about how AI can influence the job market, the content marketing industry might soon be generating more jobs in the field of proofreading. Strictly fact-based content can be produced well enough by AI algorithms that at least one major publication has published numerous stories authored by an interpreted code script. One thing these kinds of reports miss is the fact that AI lacks the kind of emotion and angle that humans can apply to a story, and for this reason, specialized writers or content creation services will always be in demand. Content marketers might be looking at a future where editors preen AI-authored material and rewrite a couple of sentences here and there to make it have the same feeling traditional content might. Considering how much material has to be published in order to keep any particular online portal fresh, AI tools will soon be necessary to keep up with the demand.
A closer partnership between people and AI tools in the content marketing industry is obviously on the horizon.