Digital content makes up the backbone of what you see on the Internet. From blog posts to videos to web pages and social media posts, almost everything you consume on the web can be considered content. Of course, all of this content has to come from somewhere, and until recently, that somewhere meant it came from content creators.
What is a Content Creator?
A content creator is just that: Someone who creates content. Anyone can be a content creator; however, the definition of content creator has taken a turn in the age of content monetization to mean someone who makes a career out of generating content for a specific audience. To be successful as a content creator, you have to know what you’re talking about, but being entertaining and engaging are also essential qualities.
This last bit is significant because your audience cares about content quality, and search engines also care about the quality of the content they index. The better your content comes across and the more relevance it has to your audience, the more visibility your personal or professional brand receives on the web. This leads to increased monetization opportunities, and many content creators go on to make careers out of keeping audiences engaged.
How Artificial Intelligence is Changing Content Development
Although digital content creation has primarily been human-driven over the past few decades, artificial intelligence (AI) has quickly become integrated with tools that can churn out content at lightning speed. AI chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and image-creation AI like Midjourney and Stable Diffusion have allowed content creators and everyday people alike to create blog posts and images quickly, and AI-generated audio can even mimic the voices of others, all with convincing quality.
Because of the convenience, cost-effectiveness, and time-savings, some content creators have turned to AI to create new content. If you’ve done any poking around on social media as of late, you’ve no doubt come across AI-generated content, and more and more keeps popping up daily.
This leads to the question: Should content creators use AI-generated content? If so, what does AI mean for the future of content creation on the web?
What AI Means for Content Creators and Audiences Going Forward
The debate surrounding AI-generated content has been fairly heated, with one side proclaiming AI will be the death of original digital content. At the same time, the other claims that AI technology will be a powerful tool that content creators can use to create even better content.
Both sides of this debate make good points, as AI can create written text that reads well and can be considered high-quality in some circumstances. Additionally, some AI-generated images can be indistinguishable from content trained graphic designers generate.
Google and others are experimenting with technology that claims to be able to detect AI-generated content, and we may be looking at a future in which suspected AI content will be tagged as such by search engines. This can get tricky for content creators who want to combine AI with original work.
However, one of the more significant issues is that AI generates digital content without awareness of the audience. In other words, AI content can’t capture content creators’ bond with
their audiences, possibly leading to a disconnect for creators who rely exclusively on AI content going forward. Putting out content for the sake of filling space is a surefire way to lose audiences.
AI Hallucinates Facts and Provides False Details
It’s also worth noting that AI technologies are not perfect. Image generation AI tools, for example, often have problems creating hands. Extra digits seem to get added to AI-generated images that include hands, or hands are represented as twisted and mangled out of proportion.
To complicate matters further, AI text generators are notorious for fabricating things out of thin air and then, in some cases, doubling down on errors when challenged. This poses concerns for content creators who rely on factual data to provide insight to their audiences.
Content marketing expert Andrew Rusnak, founder of Charlotte Content Marketing, says, “AI content has a lot of potential for content creation, but right now, it’s more beneficial for general research. It lacks the creative qualities innate to human beings, but it can save time for learning about new subjects.”
He continues, “We’re seeing among our clients and testing that [AI] requires too much oversight to be useful for large-scale content marketing campaigns and strategies. There’s also the SEO component at play, where search engines are changing how they find, evaluate, rank, and present digital content. That’s an ongoing evolution but will certainly impact content creators.”
Ethical Concerns for Content Creators Using AI
Another issue that has been raised for content creators considering the use of AI in their projects is the question of whether AI-generated content is ethical. And if it is ethical to create content using AI technologies, should content creators have an obligation to disclose the use of this technology?
Stanford University has created its Global Review of AI Community Ethics (GRACE) Journal to investigate these matters in a peer-reviewed environment. Both proponents and detractors of AI-generated digital content have voiced concerns about resolving ethical considerations in this space. Lawsuits have also been filed against the makers of several AI technologies as claims of plagiarism and copyright theft have been lobbed at makers of AI tools like ChatGPT and Stable Diffusion.
Content creators, meanwhile, are caught in the middle. On the one hand, the technology currently generates new content relatively effortlessly. On the other, creating AI content now could backfire if legislation is passed or restrictions are put in place.
Content creators need to generate new streams of text, audio, video, and images regularly, but they also rely on evergreen content to keep attracting new viewers. If the evergreen content is removed following changes in AI legislation and a content creator has come to rely solely on AI, these creators may jeopardize their careers.
Should Content Creators Use AI?
So, the bottom line is: Should content creators use AI? For now, most experts agree that using AI to generate content ideas is a perfectly acceptable use of the technology. Aside from that, using AI as a starting point to get a piece of content off the ground is also perfectly good.
The problem occurs when creators only use AI-generated content with no original thought put into content development. Taking the latter approach has the potential to harm your personal and professional brands and may lead to bigger headaches in the years to come. If you want to play it safe as a content creator, limit your use of AI and always put original thought into the content you generate for your audiences.