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AI vs human content – which will reign supreme?

August 30, 2017

The content challenge no longer lies in producing, but in crafting something truly compelling. The litmus test for content's compelling nature is simple – does it resonate with the audience, engage their emotions, and leave a lasting impact? This quest for engagement leads me to think about a pivotal crossroads – the choice between playing it safe or pushing creative boundaries.

But, what does this have to do with the growing influence of artificial intelligence (AI) in content creation? It's tempting to believe that AI-generated content, with its ability to churn out vast quantities of material, could be the holy grail for overcoming creative blocks and fostering engagement. While I agree that it’s ability to produce content is a huge advantage, I spoke with Matthew Busby Andrews in our latest InDemand podcast about why I think there's a significant caveat to this notion.

AI-generated content, often lacks the very essence that makes content truly engaging – human emotion, vulnerability, and authenticity. And let's be honest, how many of the online influencers or thought leaders you follow have gone from posting one-to-two sentence captions, to paragraphs upon paragraphs.

Have you disengaged from their content? Do you still read it all? Do you think that feels genuine? Or, are they just producing long-form content because they can?

I believe the human touch remains elusive for AI. It's incapable of mirroring the rawness and depth of human experiences that connect us.

You might be thinking, “Well, I could just ask it to ‘make my content more emotive’.”. Sure, you could do that, but I don’t think this creates more emotive content. It might insert more adjectives, but it lacks the expression, it doesn’t feeeel more emotive…

In this context, it becomes clear that AI-generated content is not the ultimate solution, as it inherently leans towards safety and predictability. AI sifts through huge pools of data, extracting patterns and generating content that adheres to the safest approaches. While this might be ideal for generating informative content or basic copy, it falls short when it comes to evoking genuine emotions or addressing complex human topics.

The essence of true engagement lies in human connection – a connection that's built on shared vulnerabilities, authenticity, and empathy. This is where the trajectory of content creation diverges. On one hand, large corporations and institutions may increasingly rely on AI to produce safe, generic content that adheres to popular narratives. This content might be functional, but it often lacks the charisma and relatability that resonates deeply with audiences.

On the other hand, smaller, proprietor-owned businesses and individuals have the potential to leverage their human touch to create content that resonates on a personal level. These organisations stand a better chance of forging authentic connections.

The parallels to the evolution of YouTube are uncanny. If you were an early adopter like me, you’ll remember YouTube in its early days, was a breeding ground for random, user-generated content that gained attention simply due to its novelty.

Smosh is a great example. Just two guys lip-syncing and dancing around in their bedroom in 2005. They gained MILLIONS of views with random, thoughtless content like the Pokemon theme song, the PowerRanger’s theme song and the mortal combat theme song.

As the platform matured, quality content creators emerged, producing polished, professional, and captivating videos. If you look up Smosh’s channel now, while they still produce random skits, the quality of their content has improved massively to keep their audience engaged.

Since 2005, the shift from quantity to quality has been unmistakable, I predict the same pattern will repeat itself in the AI-dominated content landscape.

While AI undeniably has its place in content creation, particularly for generating large volumes of routine content, it's imperative to acknowledge its limitations. AI can never replace the power of human authenticity and vulnerability in storytelling.

The future of content creation seems to be a blend of human authenticity and AI's efficiency. The initial allure of AI's production capabilities might flood the landscape with content, but the natural tendency to seek quality will eventually prevail. Audiences will gravitate towards content that resonates with their emotions, challenges their perspectives, and leaves a lasting imprint.

The content challenge no longer lies in producing, but in crafting something truly compelling. The litmus test for content's compelling nature is simple – does it resonate with the audience, engage their emotions, and leave a lasting impact? This quest for engagement leads me to think about a pivotal crossroads – the choice between playing it safe or pushing creative boundaries.

But, what does this have to do with the growing influence of artificial intelligence (AI) in content creation? It's tempting to believe that AI-generated content, with its ability to churn out vast quantities of material, could be the holy grail for overcoming creative blocks and fostering engagement. While I agree that it’s ability to produce content is a huge advantage, I spoke with Matthew Busby Andrews in our latest InDemand podcast about why I think there's a significant caveat to this notion.

AI-generated content, often lacks the very essence that makes content truly engaging – human emotion, vulnerability, and authenticity. And let's be honest, how many of the online influencers or thought leaders you follow have gone from posting one-to-two sentence captions, to paragraphs upon paragraphs.

Have you disengaged from their content? Do you still read it all? Do you think that feels genuine? Or, are they just producing long-form content because they can?

I believe the human touch remains elusive for AI. It's incapable of mirroring the rawness and depth of human experiences that connect us.

You might be thinking, “Well, I could just ask it to ‘make my content more emotive’.”. Sure, you could do that, but I don’t think this creates more emotive content. It might insert more adjectives, but it lacks the expression, it doesn’t feeeel more emotive…

In this context, it becomes clear that AI-generated content is not the ultimate solution, as it inherently leans towards safety and predictability. AI sifts through huge pools of data, extracting patterns and generating content that adheres to the safest approaches. While this might be ideal for generating informative content or basic copy, it falls short when it comes to evoking genuine emotions or addressing complex human topics.

The essence of true engagement lies in human connection – a connection that's built on shared vulnerabilities, authenticity, and empathy. This is where the trajectory of content creation diverges. On one hand, large corporations and institutions may increasingly rely on AI to produce safe, generic content that adheres to popular narratives. This content might be functional, but it often lacks the charisma and relatability that resonates deeply with audiences.

On the other hand, smaller, proprietor-owned businesses and individuals have the potential to leverage their human touch to create content that resonates on a personal level. These organisations stand a better chance of forging authentic connections.

The parallels to the evolution of YouTube are uncanny. If you were an early adopter like me, you’ll remember YouTube in its early days, was a breeding ground for random, user-generated content that gained attention simply due to its novelty.

Smosh is a great example. Just two guys lip-syncing and dancing around in their bedroom in 2005. They gained MILLIONS of views with random, thoughtless content like the Pokemon theme song, the PowerRanger’s theme song and the mortal combat theme song.

As the platform matured, quality content creators emerged, producing polished, professional, and captivating videos. If you look up Smosh’s channel now, while they still produce random skits, the quality of their content has improved massively to keep their audience engaged.

Since 2005, the shift from quantity to quality has been unmistakable, I predict the same pattern will repeat itself in the AI-dominated content landscape.

While AI undeniably has its place in content creation, particularly for generating large volumes of routine content, it's imperative to acknowledge its limitations. AI can never replace the power of human authenticity and vulnerability in storytelling.

The future of content creation seems to be a blend of human authenticity and AI's efficiency. The initial allure of AI's production capabilities might flood the landscape with content, but the natural tendency to seek quality will eventually prevail. Audiences will gravitate towards content that resonates with their emotions, challenges their perspectives, and leaves a lasting imprint.

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February 27, 2024
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