I first ventured into Generative AI in 2021, using Copysmith.ai to create story ideas, headlines, and social media content. Even then, the speed and quality of the output were stunning. More powerful platforms GTP-3 and ChatGPT followed, raising questions about whether generative AIs could automate creativity.
Experimentation with subsequent tools showed incredible potential to elevate creative work. Creativity requires original thought, an aesthetic, a human connection. In this light, using generative AI tools cannot be about expediting or automating output. It changes how we now develop creative output.
As the graphic above suggests, the path requires multiple steps and a combination of agents. For instance, you can initiate a writing project using AudioPen, which converts a spontaneous stream of recorded thoughts into a digestible written summary. Then, you can transition that summary into ChatGPT, and with several prompts, have a refined outline or starter copy. Once a first draft is developed, you can test editorial suggestions from Lex. And finally, Grammarly assists in stylistic enhancements.
In this process, we don’t prompt the machines for answers. The mix of tools, along with the interactions that take place, prompt us to improve how we develop and expand our thoughts. The creative process has changed.
Generating machine-driven interpretations from a diverse mix of agents diverges from preliminary assumptions. They’re catalysts that challenge how to think and rethink the best ways to express and expand a piece of writing.
The prevailing practice is to prompt machines to produce a desired output. But the real insight, or the reversal in thinking, is that bundles of generative AIs can prompt and challenge us to become more effective and thoughtful communicators.
This shift in perspective is one of several we’ve explored in our pilots. Embracing the present, rather than resisting it, can pave the way for growth and a fresh understanding.
So how might each of us alter our view on these remarkable tools to enhance our communication ability?
Curiosity over skepticism. We’re naturally skeptical about new technologies and the prospect that creativity can be automated. To understand generative AI’s potential, we must embrace new opportunities rather than be fearful they will take our place. Prompting AIs requires subject matter expertise, creativity, and language skills — all attributes of competent communicators.
Experience over supposition. Communicators must embrace active learning. Using the tools regularly allows us to determine value, see hidden potential and navigate limitations. Working knowledge allows us to comprehend their transformative influence more vividly and profoundly—experience is the only route to this understanding. Simply dabbling with “the platform of the moment” won’t suffice.
Language over code. Generative AI requires excellent communication skills over technical acumen. These, after all, are built on language models. The most valuable skill for using them is mastery of clear, communicative, persuasive prose. The pre-eminent science and technology reporter Steven Johnson recently noted, “You have to be able to craft sentences and think about what’s in the virtual mind of the entity you’re trying to persuade to do something. Right now, we’re in this weird period. It’s a wonderful time to be a writer.”
Elevate over automate. How we relate to technology has undergone a captivating transformation. Machines are no longer aids for our thinking; they have become instrumental in fundamentally reshaping how we think. In this context, AI becomes more than a collaborator in intellect; it challenges us to question our assumptions (through tools like Perplexity and Opinionate.io), examine varied viewpoints (with resources like GPT Persona), and spark creative leaps (using platforms like Sudowrite). By redefining our interaction with technology in this manner, we unlock immense new potential for creativity and insight.
Despite the natural apprehension that comes with such a significant shift from convention, it’s crucial for everyone— both individuals and organizations — to keep an open mind. Fostering a mindset of meaningful engagement will enable us to benefit from the generative AI revolution.
No distinct leaders or followers exist, only those who act and learn. We’re all novices, and to continue being effective communicators, we must embrace this transformation, leaning into an evolving array of possibilities with our eyes (and minds) wide open.