AI for Writers, from the “Marketing AI Institute” conference

Last week (March 6th) I attended the second annual “AI for Writers Summit,” held online from the US.

The conference was created by the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute, whose founder and CEO, Paul Roetzer, provided the keynote.

It was refreshing to learn about features of AI from people who are bona fide writers themselves—with backgrounds in journalism, copywriting, marketing and even academia, instead of from tech gurus (Musk, Altman and others) who dominate the headlines.

Through community commitment, education and technology, Roetzer says that the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute (MAII) wants to “make AI approachable and actionable” to as many humans and their companies as possible.

From his conference keynote, Roetzer emphasized that “Writing is thinking. It’s how we process information, comprehend concepts, build competency, and pursue mastery.

It’s how we build domain experience and expertise and establish the intuition and instincts that guide our decisions.

Writing improves our communication skills and gives us the opportunity to let our imaginations roam free.

Writing is hard. But the process of writing is how we learn and grow as communicators and creators.”

Here are some of Roetzer’s other insights, shared during an conference attended by more than 4200 people from over 92 countries, worldwide:

(1) AI can assist in reaching and engaging our audiences, but it should not replace the human experience of writing, creating and thinking.

AI is a tool that powers “more intelligent” writing. AI makes us more efficient, more productive, and more creative. It augments what we are capable of. We need to learn to understand and responsibly apply AI.

Large Language Models (LLMs) are powering innovation. They predict words. They are writing aids, not replacements.

AI can do the work of classifying, drafting, editing, ideating (generating ideas), optimizing, outlining, personalizing, planning, researching, simplifying, summarizing, transcribing, translating.

(2) Prompting matters for now, as a skill that can increase the value you get from generative AI tools.

Talk to your AI like a person. Tell it who it is, he is. AI systems are becoming prompting experts.

(3) Adoption is (very) early but accelerating. There’s an opportunity to lead in this work.

The pervasiveness of AI creates tremendous opportunities, but also huge risks. For instance, AI can work in all Google software—Docs, Sheets, Slides, Gmail and Meets. What ownership does any writer or contributor have over communication that occurs on these platforms?

(4) The need for Generative AI usage policies is essential, surrounding issues like copyright and ownership.

We may not own what we make with AI. Copyright only protects material that is the product of human creativity. So be prepared to call your IP lawyer! Using AI raises many legal conundrums, including such issues as whether it’s legal/advisable for employees to generate external/internal content; and whether and how employees must disclose their use of AI for their final drafts/pieces of work for (external or internal) audiences?

Conference speakers had listeners’ (and their own) heads spinning when contemplating the legal, privacy, data and security risks involved with using AI.

(5) LLMs are just the foundation for what will follow, so that ChatGPT3.5 or 4.0 are “the least capable AI you will ever use.” How will democratic and responsible access come about?

(6) The Next Generation LLMs will be able to comb the internet, or reference local files through retrieval augmented generation (RAG); see and create images and video, hear, speak and compose music; be customized and fine-tuned for specific tasks and many other features; communicate with other LLMS.

Multi-modal LLMs will soon see, hear and speak.

MAII Chief Content Officer, Mike Kaput, says: “No amount of revising AI will make it human.” So why bother writing at all?

Because the humanity of our writing will still matter, as Roetzer says:

(7) AI-generated content will of course continue to flood the web, but Roetzer insists that authentic human content will take on far greater value. He says we must humanize our marketing: “Meet in-person, be unscripted, be human, as you are; Think also ‘editorials,’ ‘opinion pieces,’ ‘podcasts,’ and ‘live events.’”

He insists “there will always remain something uniquely human about writing and storytelling. . . A machine can’t replace human experience.”

And if we can maintain a seat at the table for everyone, we can choose to make the future of writing more intelligent and more human.

And now it’s your turn: How do you think the worlds of writing (business, journalism, academic, creative) can continue, given the arrival of AI? Please write in; I’d be delighted to hear from you.