Whenever AI finally becomes self-aware, there's a chance that it might wonder why, instead of colonising galaxies or building terminators, it spent most of its time writing AI generated content for Facebook posts.
Maybe the future does have terminators in it. But it also looks like these terminators will also be really good at writing blogs. So in this short article I'm going to talk about three apps which seem to have been created by teams of technically proficient sorcerers.
The first one is copysmith.io. This is not an affiliate link. I don't want these people to know where I live. Also, I'm in two minds as to whether to mention it at all because of the effect this kind of software will have on journalists and writers.
Here is what this AI content generator did when I asked it to write me some copy about the Hero's journey:
"The Hero's Journey is an archetype that has been used for centuries, from ancient myths and legends to today's blockbuster movies. Structuring your story using the Hero's Journey framework helps you create a story that engages your audience and takes them on an emotional rollercoaster of ups and downs. It also gives your audience a sense of completion when they finish reading, watching or listening to your story. "
Pretty good, I think. What do you think? It took ten seconds for it to do a page of stuff like this. That's the time it takes to sit in a chair, if you do it slowly.
Reuters, the news agency, have created their own version of an app along the same lines, to create AI copy from financial reports etc. It is called Lynx, which is obviously an AI generated brand name because who would call your most cutting edge piece of software after a deodorant?
Should copywriters be worried? You still need someone who knows what they are doing to work it up properly. For now, at least. This particular app has a specific bent - it's good at writing calls to action, but who wants to read calls to action all the time? I would like some calls to inaction, sometimes.
Next, I am going to see how the Anglo Saxon epic 'Beowulf' would have turned out, if written by Mark Zuckerberg. (Zuckerberg means 'sugar mountain' in German. I love it when peoples' names reflect their jobs.)
Anyway. The future seems to have arrived already.
The second app is called 'Things'. Now this is something useful. If you find yourself writing to-do lists on old envelopes, on your hand, on napkins... this could be a good option. A centralised area of to-do joy! Or, a place where to-do's go to die, which can also be handy.
You can find Things 3 on the App Store etc. It's a central place for all your 'to-do' lists, you can also create projects in which there are different lists. Whatever. It's got plenty little clever things about it which you can read on their website. It's only for Mac, but there are other options if you're pc (like Todoist.) There's lots you can do with it, but there's one thing in particular I like.
If you switch their cloud option on, you get a unique email address and you can forward an email to your 'Things' app. Then you can create a 'to-do' action for that forwarded email, and there's a wee button which links back to the original email. This is excellent if you're trying for inbox zero, a way to create action items straight away out of your inbox - and you can do it from your different email accounts.
The third app is called "Airr". This is a podcast player, but if you hear something you like, you can press a button on it, and it saves an 'airr quote', the last 30 seconds or a minute from when you pushed aforementioned button. And if it's a well known podcast, they also give you a transcript. It's handy for keeping a log of anything interesting you come across for your own writing.
So when Peter Thiel emerges blinking into the New Zealand sun in about thirty year's time after AI recognises itself in a mirror for the first time, at least we can take some solace that his to-do list will be in really, really good shape. He will also have a good thirty years of AI generated copy under his belt with which to restart civilisation. Which will turn out to be very useful for whichever tasks the Great Algorithm decides he will spend the rest of his cryogenically enhanced existence doing (Palantir Motel - AI Overlord Friendly - Free Wifi.)