Are Writers Going to be Obsolete?

Google RobotI recently wrote an article for another site that I work for (you can see it HERE if you want) about a new patent Google was approved for.  The patent is for a technology that analyzes a person’s writing style, and ‘learns’ to mimic them.  The technology will likely be used to create some sort of auto writing bot that will not just automatically post content to a site, but actually find topics that will fit in with the site, and write them in a way which sounds like the actual owner of the site.

While I’d certainly like to be able to confidently say that no robot will ever be able to accurately write as well as a person can, I don’t think that is necessarily true.  100 years ago, nobody would have believed that a robot (computer) could play chess as well as a human, or do any number of other things, which we see them doing all the time today.  In addition, with the deep pockets and genius brains that Google brings to the table, it almost seems likely that they will be successful in creating a virtual writer.

Of course, the program would have to have existing content to analyze, but there is no shortage of that out there already.  If I owned the technology, I could just have it review all my existing work and then tell it to start churning out the same quality content that I spend hours on every day.

Obviously it is WAY too early to tell how this will affect the writing industry at this point.  It seems that the main uses of it will be for short messages like Facebook status update, Twitter posts and things like that.  The fact is, however, that if it can do that well, there is no reason why it can’t write a longer article.  And from there, it is just a short step to writing entire books.

Any functional program from this will be at least a few years down the road, I’m sure, but it is definitely something to think about.  What are your thoughts on this patent that Google just got?  Please, share with everyone in the comments below (unless you’re a robot!)

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Comments

  1. says

    I am so sad by reading this article. However, I hope that this software will never write as well as a human being and can never replace editors like us. I am and always will be against cyber slavery.

  2. says

    The robot can “mimic” but it certainly cannot come up with new content all by itself – especially when most people must LEARN first.

    The robot will be limited by the existing content. It’s the only thing it can pull from. But the thinking process is a different thing entirely.

    A robot playing chess was “computed” by a human first to understand the many moves available to win a game… but that’s totally different than walking outside and measuring the side of a building and calculating how it’s sinking into the ground every year.

    Obviously, the robot is a computer and can compute, but unless it’s provided with information to calculate – it can’t come up with new topics all by itself. That’s where humans have the upper hand!
    Bonnie Gean recently posted…Are Your Online Passwords Safe from Hackers?My Profile

  3. says

    Isn’t this what Google penalized a lot of scummy marketers for doing? My question is, who will be using this bot to reproduce content and why?

    I agree with Bonnie. The human mind cannot be replicated and science has yet to answer all their many questions about how the brain functions. And as we know, the brain adapts and reboots depending upon the situation and stressors that are placed on it. It’s not something you can fully understand.

    They might use a robot but it’ll just be mimicing what has already been done. And isn’t humans who program computers? LOL
    Cynthia Dixon recently posted…My experience with creating an eCourseMy Profile

    • says

      Yeah, I thought it was kind of ironic when I first heard about it. Google has long said that ‘spinning’ or anything like that where a person is not behind the creation of content is a bad thing. Then they go out and get this patent.

      You never know what Google will do though, it is kind of scary!

      Michael

  4. says

    I wouldn’t want a robot to create content based on my old writing. I would like to think that my writing skills have improved over time. So, the content I wrote a year ago doesn’t represent the style and content of what I write now.

    Also, one of the companies I write for has a program that provides content, format and title for the blogs you provide the client. You click until you find one you want to do and then plug in some facts. Perhaps, this program would be similar.
    Chrislyn Pepper recently posted…Business Blog: How Often Should You Post?My Profile

  5. says

    Ehhhh, gotta believe any program that’s function is “produce more of same” isn’t All That. You telling me a komm-pooter could produce another ‘Electric Kool-Aid…’ Tome Wolfe novel off a sampling like THAT? Maybe SEO can pick up enough from a couple Hunter S. Thompson ‘Fear ands…’ but I’m of opinion there’s a valid difference between tactical processes in a superstar computer for chess and the waaaaaay out there (vs. merely same) sumthin’ else of creative creative Somerhing Else isn’t an ‘in my lifetime’ deal, and I don’t care beyond that limitation.
    GlennS. recently posted…Apres ‘Black Friday’, I’ll Cash the CheckMy Profile

    • says

      Yeah. I don’t really think it will be a big problem for ‘real’ writers. It could cut out a lot of the lower end writers though, at least for the short term.

      We’ll see…Google might not even actually make anything with this.

      Michael

  6. Stephen Nielsen says

    I believe computers will be able to write articles and shallow, tabloid entertainment, but a computer producing literature? I can’t imagine it. Unless humans actually merge with computers (a real and unsettling possibility), even the fastest, most complex, sentient super computers will never know the human condition and never truly grasp human humor or emotions. Somehow calculating the writing style of Dostoyevsky, for example, might be possible. But I just can’t imagine any computer fooling a truly literate human being into believing that a lost manuscript by Dostoyevsky had been found.

  7. says

    The thought of human creativity being replaced by a computerized mechanism is unsettling, but I supposed anything is possible in this technological age. Sounds like a good idea for a screenplay or novel (LOL).

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