The new year is off to a dynamic start with a confluence of macroeconomic factors at play, much hullabaloo at major tech companies, and, now, the emergence of new generative AI tools that we could have used to write this blog post (but didn't, we promise).
Tools like ChatGPT, DALL-E, and the dozen or so other AI products that launched in 2022 represent the dawn of a new era for AI. They leverage a type of machine learning called a large learning model (LLM), which is not trained on doing specific tasks but rather on large amounts of data that can predict the next word in a sentence. The more data you feed it, the more the technology can execute different tasks like writing a blog post, summarising academic research, generating actual computer code, and much more. These tools, when prompted, are capable of producing answers that are practically indistinguishable from those written by actual human beings, which, while definitely impressive, is raising questions about the implications of this technology and its potential uses in the years ahead.
Specifically for publishers, the implications are truly dizzying to consider. One thing is clear—AI will bring about massive, fundamental changes to the way content is conceptualized, produced, and discussed.
AI coming for your job? Not so fast...
Addressing the elephant in the room, much media attention has been paid to concerns that these new AI tools could stand to take over jobs in advertising and marketing, journalism, and law, among other fields. Because they can write faster than humans do without needing to spend hours researching, interviewing, or consulting subject-matter experts, these concerns are understandable.
But the reality is that these tools are still quite immature. While they can churn out some decent content, it’s rarely completely accurate or polished. It also might not have the level of detail or nuance you’d see in content authored by an actual human.
There are other challenges to consider. These tools are engineered to not generate text on “negative” topics such as graphic violence or any content that could be harmful. They are also not aware of any current events that occurred in 2022 and after, meaning that they're still catching up to real-time knowledge of current events. Lastly, they have built-in biases so that their output is helpful, a complication for any site that wants to write or report with neutrality in mind.
How to use new AI tools to aid—not replace—content generation
For these reasons, industry thought leaders have recommended that businesses use these tools not to completely take over writing all their content, but to help with topic ideation, pitches, and first drafts. Then, a human should step in to further flesh out, write and edit the piece. And because tools like ChatGPT can answer virtually any question asked of them, content creators could also use them to understand which search terms are most popular and then plan their editorial strategies accordingly.
The obvious follow-up implication is that with more content comes more comments—which require more moderation. It would be near-impossible to manually wade through comments if you significantly increase the number of blog posts or articles you publish using these new AI tools. And since so many more publishers are using AI and automation to drive editorial coverage and revenue as we shared in this blog post last month, it’s a no-brainer that you should also use both to moderate your comments.
Here at Disqus, we like AI and look forward to seeing how tools like ChatGPT help, not harm, publishers along with all Internet users and monetizers. For example, our AI-informed advanced moderation suite flags users and comments before they become problems so you cultivate higher-quality conversations without the burden of manual moderation. Essentially, our automated tools do the same thing for you that ChatGPT aims to: Help your team focus on higher-value tasks with their newly freed time.
If you’re planning to trial tools like ChatGPT on your site this year, make sure you have the right platforms, processes, and people in place to properly manage the deluge of user conversations you’re likely to spark with an increased publication cadence. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help.