Can you (and should you) use bots to write your blog articles?

8 minute read

Can you (and should you) use bots to write your blog articles?

Everyone who uses the internet interacts with bots on a near daily basis. Also referred to as artificial intelligence, bots chat with us on apps, leave comments on articles and videos and create social media posts. Often these instances are simple to identify due to repetitive and non-topical posts, but the technology and "humanity" is definitely improving rapidly. Artificial intelligence is also being used more and more to create long-form copyrighting including articles, blogs and even books.

We know that bots have the ability to put words together coherently and are often programmed to present a certain style of dialogue and opinion. There are even cases of bots interacting with each other (to comic effect) on message boards and communities such as Reddit. In one instance, two bots argued about whether or not they were real people.

The industry of developing smarter AI is growing exponentially. In 2021, over $93 billion was brought into the field from private equity sources alone. It is expected that by 2024, investments will top $500 billion. 

 

Bots Are Already Writing Articles

Mostly likely, you have read numerous news articles written by AI without even realizing it. This is often called robot or algorithmic journalism.

For almost a decade, the Associated Press has used an automated system that creates articles entirely on its own. The AP assigned a bot to cover the quarterly earnings of companies, which are the perfect assignment for a computer, because they are usually simple and don’t require any creative syntax.

The AP is nowhere near the only journalistic outlet using a Natural Language Generation program. A 2019 report revealed that out of over 70 news organizations around the globe, nearly four in ten were implementing plans to use artificial intelligence in their reporting. The Los Angeles Times has a bot that writes breaking news about earthquakes. Wired even published an obituary for Marvin Minsky, the artificial intelligence pioneer, which was written by a bot. 

Bots have also become prevalent in wikis and online encyclopedias. Swedish physicist Sverker Johansson created a computer program called Lsjbot to write Wikipedia articles. The bot has written a total of 9.5 million articles. However, it should be noted that hundreds of thousands of the entries created by the AI have been removed due to lacking documentation, averaging at times up to 5,000 deletions a day.

Currently there are a rapidly growing number of companies that offer artificial intelligence writing to create marketing copy and articles. The most visible of these is Jasper AI. While mostly dedicated to shorter copy for marketing such as online blogs and social media, the company does promote its potential to write in longer form such as novels. They also offer the service in over 25 languages.

 

But writing is not data. It is a means of expression, which implies that you have something to express. A non-sentient computer program has nothing to express, quite apart from the fact that it has no experience of the world to tell it that fires don’t happen underwater. - Steven Pool, The Guardian

Are Bots Going To Replace Journalists?

With the number of bots already writing articles growing so quickly, you’re probably wondering if journalists are going to be replaced by computers. The answer, for the time being, is no.

First of all, artificial intelligence is not yet able to produce complex news stories. There are ten companies, including CitiGroup and Wells Fargo, for which the AP’s bot cannot write quarterly earnings reports, because the reports are just too nuanced for the computer to handle.

In 2020, it was reported that MSN replaced about 50 contract journalists with artificial intelligence to curate news stories. Many commentators have warned that this is a slippery slope, but most of the work the bots are doing are simple editorial tasks. Experts agree that the actual writing and gathering of news from sources will continue to be done by a human being.

So bots must stick to the basics, at least for now. And this is beneficial, not detrimental to human journalists. If a newspaper puts a bot in charge of writing simple, somewhat boring stories like quarterly earnings, box scores, and weather reports, the human journalists are freed up to concentrate on more interesting, creative and nuanced stories. 

For example, while the Associated Press’s artificial intelligence wrote the basic story on Apple’s quarterly earnings, reporter Brandon Bailey was free to craft a more complex story which put the company’s earnings in context and included quotes from Apple executives.

By no means do the current limitations of bots take away the possibility of them replacing human journalists some time in the future. When AP’s bot first began writing articles, every story was examined by an editor, who would correct and record errors in order to improve the program. Three months later, the AP started publishing the artificial intelligence stories without human intervention.

Artificial intelligence is always improving and, as said earlier, it's a booming economy with billions of dollars flowing into research and development through investments. 

Can Bots Be Used For Writing Blogs?

So what can bots offer to the blogosphere? Can you (and should you) use artificial intelligence to write your blog articles?

Depending on the type of content you produce, bots may or may not work for your blog. Bots can relieve you of a lot of grunt work, but they don’t yet have the creativity of humans and blogging usually requires flair. So, in most cases, bots aren’t a great option for those starting a blog. But if you have a lot of data like sports scores, weather or company information, then machine learning and artificial intelligence may be a boon because it can create human-like reporting at scale. 

Then again, with the right amount of human input, computers are capable of producing almost anything. A number of books and novels have been created by artificial intelligence, to varying degrees of success.  Japanese researchers produced a short novel that was written almost entirely by a computer and was very well received. Google reportedly used romance novels to train its AI. 

There are already some artificial intelligence writing platforms that are available for anyone to use. We already mentioned Jasper AI, but others such as Automated Insights, the company that the AP works with, offer free trials of their software to anyone. Another similar option is Narrative Science.

One approach is to use the bot created content as a starting point for your blog. Allowing the bot to create the basic structure and then polishing it to your specific needs and adding that personal human touch. It allows you to shift some of the work, but still have a human created, organic article.

Artificial intelligence gets better every day, so you never know who might be the author of what you are reading. The possibilities are endless as the technology improves and you may be surprised at what you find. There are even bots that write poetry.

 

FAQs

Can bots write articles?

Yes, bots can now write articles. Bots chat with us on apps, leave comments on articles and videos, and write social media posts.

Are bots going to replace journalists?

The answer, for the time being, is no. First of all, bots are not yet able to produce complex news stories. However artificial intelligence is being used more in news creation every day.

Can bots be used for writing blogs?

Bots can be used to write blog articles, but the quality will not be the same as using a real human to do it. Bots may be able to relieve you of a lot of grunt work, but they don't yet have the creativity that humans have, and blogging usually requires creativity and flair. You might consider artificial intelligence written articles as the jumping off point for you to shape into your own blog entry.