Indicia Staff
Indicia Staff 18 July 2018

What does Alibaba’s A.I. Copywriter mean for you?

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba launched an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that can produce up to 20,000 lines of copy every second. What does this mean for the future?

Indicia Staff
Indicia Staff 18 July 2018
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Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba launched an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that can produce up to 20,000 lines of copy every second. What does this mean for the future?

Copywriting is an indispensible skill for any brand – a strong, consistent tone of voice can captivate consumers and set you apart from the crowd.

Up until now, that tone of voice has always come from a copywriter, who learns your brand guidelines inside out and deliberates over every headline and comma.

But the world’s largest B2B e-commerce site, Alibaba, has recently employed a new kind of copywriter: an A.I. tool.

It’s so ‘human-like’ that it’s passed the Turing Test – meaning people have been unable to distinguish its copy from that written by humans. And it can produce up to 20,000 lines of copy every second.

Not only this, you can programme it with the kind of TOV you’re after. No ‘one-size-fits-all’, the tool can write copy that’s promotional, functional, fun, poetic or heart-warming.

Time will tell but they say it’s a success. So are Alibaba simply trying to get rid of their copywriters? If this catches on, will there be no place for human copywriters in the future?

We think not.

You see, for every exciting TV commercial and OOH billboard, there are lots more mundane jobs. You know, like writing the more technical furniture like specs and terms and conditions.

A company the size of Alibaba sell thousands and thousands of product lines, all of which require products descriptions. It’s a rather repetitive task, especially considering how similar some of their products are. Now, an A.I. bot can whizz through those product descriptions in no time.

The future of copy

In this sense, A.I. tools can be seen as complementary to copywriters rather than job-stealing super-powers. Taking charge of a company’s more everyday copywriting requirements could free up your busy copywriters’ time to focus on more interesting copy jobs and ideation that takes your business to the next level.

And though an A.I. bot might write a multitude of copy options, who’s to say a human shouldn’t choose which makes the final cut?

In the future, copywriters could begin to fill the role of copy-curators, using their wealth of knowledge and experience to select the best A.I. generated lines and check they work well in context.

Who knows how A.I. copywriting will progress. But the signs point to your brand’s copy improving, becoming more collaborative if humans work hand in hand with A.I. and produced faster.

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