How do you guys feel ethically about Artificial Intelligence (AI)-generated articles?
I know we are all trying to save a buck and make a buck …
What if it comes to the point that anyone can generate fully AI written articles that rank? I mean with the click of one button, rather than using an AI writer to only writing some sections as part of a mostly manual process.
Blessing or curse?
How would business owners react? will they be the most common users of AI writers later? Those who can't afford an SEO agency but are keen to get articles on their website?
21 👍🏽2175 💬🗨
Useless – wait till people realise AI content is just scrapped plagiarised content from what's already out there.
The content is king belief will never be full fill with ai
When I read through a fully AI generated article, it feels like I am swimming through molasses. A lot of common statements, no point made.
I am convinced that those who abuse Artificial Intelligence (AI) for content writing will get punished — not by Google directly, but by the readers who simply can't absorb all of that gunk and leave those pages after several paragraphs.
To me, AI is great for quickly creating a short text then making it one's own even if that means rewriting it completely. It can help kickstart the creative process; it cannot replace it.
All of that being said, I am not at all afraid of those who create AI copy for sales purpose.
I agree. I think AI are there today where spinners were a few years back. I think it will take a long time before (if ever) a machine cane replace a good human written content. But that's my opinion, and Iam in it for the long haul. And are betting on the good ol' hard work.
This. So much this! As a user it annoys me so much. Just endless waffle, normally with werid unusual large words inserted in. Just turns me off immediately, lose trust in in the entire website and bounce back.
I am launching our own saas platform for copywriting teams. I've managed an agency for over 10 years now so it's a tool to standardize our internal processes. Recently we added the AI text generation feature just because it's now all the rage.
That being said, to my personal disappointment, AI isn't capable yet of generating the level of quality my team puts out for clients.
Then again, some industries could be more tolerant for generated content. The ones I serve, it's hard to see a day when AI would generate even a remotely acceptable text.
Which industries don't work well for AI content in your view? Medical? Anything else?
Igor » Marc
It's hard to give a general statement with absolute certainty, especially I'd the text is intended to perform a microconversion as part of a larger leadgen system.
So industries where the conversion cycle is longer than say a month or two.
Real estate, investments, higher education, software, tech services, higher ticket home improvement services etc.
Basically, any use case where the profit per conversion is over a grand, I'd not rely on AI.
Ammon Johns 🎓
When I see one I'll let you know.
What I mostly see is articles rewritten from AI garbage into equally meaningless human garbage. It's not actual Artificial Intelligence (AI), just respinning scraped content from the web. That's not new. Neil Patel built half his career on that. 😃
For some stuff, machine generated content via algorithms is good. Look at a Google SERP. Places where you want a summary of other's info, but nothing original, meaningful, personal, or human.
So how far are we from a decent output from AI?
Ammon Johns 🎓 » Patil
Again, this is going to depend on the content type. We are still a long way from general purpose AI, which is where a machine can think even remotely like a living being. So anything that requires actual intelligence as we think of it is years and years away. What these current things do is simply use machine learning to build algorithms.
To give you a very rough idea, lets take all of the artistic 'origination' part out of the equation, and simply look at machine translation. All that the 'AI' of those need to do is understand already written content in one language and translate it, accounting for grammar and idioms. And machine translation SUCKS big time even now.
I would be amazed if we see actual AI capable of fooling the turing test, which simply takes writing like a human, the same as article writing does, in the next 10 years.
Dexter » Ammon Johns
Can you explain how Neil did that? Not arguing, just wanna know what I missed.
Ammon Johns 🎓 » Dexter
He's famous for repeated plagiarism. According to his own excuses of the many times he was caught doing it, he employs cheap writers to spew out content and gives it no personal oversight. Much like AI writing indeed.
He spent a ton of time and resources on 'repairing' the SERPs around his plagiarism, and you can find he 'created' I believe hundreds of individual articles and bits of content to bury the negative stuff under his own articles talking about plagiarism. 😃
Nobody is sure he's ever written any of his own articles, but one of the keys to his success is that for every article or content you see ranking, there's 99 others that sank without a trace and were removed, making it look like he's been very successful (because nobody sees the 99% failure rate).
If you say AI content is unethical then what is paying someone to write it?… Both are paid methods, used to game the algorithm!… I've tested Artificial Intelligence (AI) on all types of websites… For lead gen, fine!… For rank & rent, fine!… For local service based business website mixed with your own content, fine!… For lower end affliate/adsense, optimized with SEO Surfer or POP and mixed with your own content, fine!… For higher end sites, hire a quality writer!
Which tool do you use?
Holgate » Muzzaman
Jarvis/Conversion.io mainly but if your not going to be pumping out loads of content out, then there's some good deals on AppSumo… I've found Rytr and PepperType to be decent enough on there.
Marc ✍️ » Holgate
Clearly there must be some unethical uses for AI content. What would you say about a website in the medical space that answers questions about surgery, recovery etc?
In my view it's not a question if ethics applies, it's about coming together as an SEO community and webmasters to develop ideas/guidelines on how to best work with AI content.
My only gripe with it is that you have no idea to know if what it's spitting out is accurate. I can't put inaccurate info on my site and I would spend the same amount of time writing the article as I would fact-checking. No need to waste time, IMO. Maybe there's a better way to do it, but the AI driven sites I've seen so far all look like shit.
A lot of people are making a lot of money using Artificial Intelligence (AI) content. For lead gen and local service businesses it work well. Now many brain surgeons are reading the content closely. We set our content to a 5th grade level and that's basically who is reading it.
How can you tell it what level to set it to? What software you use?
Kornblau » Patricia
I imagine as it keeps getting better it'll still be a machine plus human combo. We use it in a few areas, testing it on a geo campaign right now. Still needs editing for it to make sense.
It is however super useful to get the creative juices spinning for things like headlines, titles, or angles to go down with marketing.
At the moment I wouldn't feel comfortable posting a pure AI article on any business website – but there are those doing it and making a killing.
Those business though most often are ones where the whole point is to click a call button rather than consuming the actual content (I.e a plumbers website, you're probably not going to the site to consume a 1,000 word article you just want to set up an appointment)
I don't think ethics has anything to do with it. And ai is not the problem. SEO users have been cramming the Internet with crap content ever since SEO began. I can't blame Google, but it has to get better. So do SEO users.
What about from a visitors perspective? Would visitors feel misled if the content is written from the business owners/team perspective but was actually generated by AI?
What about from a visitors perspective? Would visitors feel misled if the content is written from the business owners/team perspective but was actually generated by AI?
I suppose the assumption is always that content is generated by the website owner. So any AI content would be misleading in that way, if it's not significantly edited before publishing?
Kathy » Marc
I think that depends on what's being written. A product description would be fine. So would a service description.
But let's take the digital marketing industry as another example. Recently, a friend of mine started sharing some SEO blogs from a digital marketer that she thought was really good. She is a local business owner and only has a rudimentary understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). To me they were slightly off, enough to raise a red flag for me, but only enough that a real SEO would see it. So I checked out the website. They are your typical web designer who decided to offer SEO. Their SEO service page looks like a copy of those spammy SEO emails we get all the time, you know the kind that promise you so many backlinks in Forbes. And then I reversed engineered their clients' SEO. It was clear that have no idea what they are doing, but the consumer wouldn't know that! My friend was impressed BY THE BLOG! She was shocked when I showed her what I had uncovered. So now if the SEO they are doing is so bad, how is it their blogs are so good? And now I wonder if they are using ai because they are not doing what they are preaching that's for sure.
So to answer your question, I think if your content is written to establish yourself as an authority and you're using ai to write it, yes, I have a problem with that. It's too easy to fool your readers into thinking you're something you're not.
Damn. Now what are we going to do about it?
I like your example on product description vs article to establish personal/business authority.
From that, could we say, whenever a reader would deem the article to be written by a subject matter expert we should disclose that it was partly generated by AI?
Kathy » Marc
Fat chance getting anyone to admit it. 😉
update: just found out that one of the clients of that SEO mentioned above just suffered a big setback. Apparently Google caught onto their unnatural link building. So what goes around comes around. Meanwhile their blogs get the engagement signals though.
Maybe we'll see google's algorithms attempt to prioritize uniqueness. Ai content is anything but!!! They also need to apply their fake news filter to SEO blogs, pages and videos. 😜
Keith L Evans 🎓
It's more than a great article. It's amazing UX, stellar on-page SEO with brand trust.
Pros like me go beyond satisfying the query, you satisfy human feelings, then they want more and more.
I don think anyone disagree with what you said.
I took the post as only referring to the very specific task of writing text for content creation to be used along with everything else you mentioned.
I don't see any ethics issues with using tools like Al and Machine Learning to created works. Humans have been using tools to be more productive for thousands of years.
I have not personally used any of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Machine Learning (ML) tools to generate text. I have used other Ai ML tools. They are only as good as the person using them. It is no different than using a search engine. The better the query, the better the results. AI is no different.
The initial search engines had lots of issues, but got better over time. AI is no different. It is only a matter of time.
Ethical considerations are irrelevant IMO. I don't know why anyone would care.
Matt Diggity has talked about this recently and I concur with his take that AI writing is going to become a really significant issue and quickly. To my mind, if you are not experimenting with it now, you're running the risk of being left behind.
And it is kinda shit and you do need to hold its hand and edit. But a few years ago, it was completely unusable whereas now you need to fact check and rewrite a sentence here and there. With Generative Pretrained Transformer (GPT)-3 and a few other Natural Language Processing (NLP) models, It's coming on fast.
I wouldn't want to try and write an article/blog post with it but I work in real estate and with big websites. So, if I need to create – say- 3 paragraphs for 1000s of pages, Artificial Intelligence (AI) does it and it mostly does it fine. I need to cast an eye on the work and replace some of the figures it suggests with figures from our DB to make them current/accurate but it does a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of copy.
There's this idea that Google could flip an AI switch and punish sites that use it. They could do that. I've heard it said that while a human might not be able to tell the difference between AI and human-written content a machine could.
But what's the point to Google doing that as long as their users are well served?
So, I use AI writers and I'm leaning into this stuff more and more using APIs to standardise the instructions I give to the writers to get more uniform results. Not perfect but jeez, it's getting better by the month.
Ignore this at your peril. In one month it will be better than it is today. In a year, who knows?
I've been watching these so-called 'Artificial Intelligence (AI)' writing things for a few years now, and straight up, I have seen ZERO improvement in the past 4 years. None. Most of them are the exact same content spinning software from 6-8 years ago slapping the 'AI' moniker on themselves and no other notable changes.
Sure, a few use the open source or creative commons language models, but mostly only to replace a few words with synonyms, or put two scraped sentences together… And they still read like most of the spam emails from some Indian dude pretending to be a Texas girl wanting to sell me DA 40 links.
I had the news of AI writing software that newspapers were starting to use in my mind when I wrote the following paragraphs in 2013:
Because Content is not new. Content is not rare. There are already more pages of content online than you would ever have time to read in your lifetime. There are more hours of video on YouTube than you could ever watch. And the production rate is increasing.
We have clueless charlatans telling us all that Content Marketing is the new Search Engine Optimization (SEO), simultaneously proving both that they never knew what SEO actually was, and also that they still don't know what Marketing actually is.
We have thousands of webmasters believing they must produce more and more content, which means more and more content with less and less quality. A deluge of crap. A torrent of even more "10 things" posts that will only make it harder to make great content stand out, and be trusted.
That, is the great Content Marketing swindle.
The words "deluge of crap" linked to a brilliant slideshare from earlier that same year –
And the result is that this year, for the first time I can recall, several Googlers have spoken about thresholds to indexing. I'm seeing plenty more limitations on crawl prioritization too. That deluge of crap is starting to drown the smaller sites. Before AI gets smart enough to pass, the volume of crap will have stopped anyone but the biggest brands getting much indexed in a reasonable time.
For a little over 8 years now, more and more of the smaller to medium sites that come to me actually need to reduce content. Remove the dross and cruft. More results from less pages.
Mike » Ammon Johns
I agree with almost all of this but where we part company is the idea that there has been no improvement to Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the last four years. That just isn't my experience at all. Even two years ago, AI writers wrote complete gibberish. Now, while they often pull misleading information, at least the sentences were properly formed.
However where I completely agree is on your points about the lie of content marketing, the deluge of crap and how this forces Google's hand re. indexing priorities. This is important and anyone reading this thread should pay special attention to this point.
But I am still going to continue to use AI to speed up my processes. To be clear I do not use it to write articles nor does the content I use it to create need to be particularly original.
My main project at the moment is a market insights site. The AI is perfectly capable of pulling data from Government sources and putting that data into (humanly convincing) sentences.
If I wrote this myself it would take 10x longer and the end result would be pretty much the same. And this information is exactly the reason people visit my site, so they don't have to go to gov databases to find the same information.
And the AI information barely makes up 10% of content on the pages I am placing it on.
Given this use-case surely it makes sense?
There is perhaps sometimes a problem with the accuracy of information but I can get the AI to cite so I can check this. Also by citing data sources I can then return to what has been written and take those gov sources – connect to APIs etc to put that data into my DB – in effect using the AI as a jumping-off point for increased data in my back end.
But more than that. I think you don't believe that AI will ever be any good whereas fundamentally I think we've got a year or two before it's indistinguishable from any human writer/researcher.
Ammon Johns 🎓 » Mike
In the classic SEO way, let me say "it depends". 😃
I think that some AI writers are already barely distinguishable from some of the human content farms based mainly on offshore content creators for whom English is not their native tongue. However, that's hardly a good thing. For either party.
But that's a long, long way different to an Artificial Intelligence (AI) that can write like someone with even a modicum of actual skill or talent. I'm regarded as a fairly decent writer, at least for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and marketing style content, and no AI is going to write like I do (except in copying and synthesizing my previous works) in the next decade at least.
The science of AI is contentious. We already know that those trying to sell it have moved the goalposts, so that AI in general suddenly, in the last few years, doesn't mean the same as General AI. How convenient for the sales people, eh?
The reason for that is that nobody can yet say for certain that AI in the true sense is even possible. We've been living with human intelligence for tens of thousands of years, and we still don't understand that. Not really.
I'm hugely into psychology and neuroscience stuff, and we barely understand the brain at all. Not just in the biology, organic sense, but simply in the overall theory. Part of the drive in AI research has come from the fact that a wider section of the academic community are interested in what it may teach us about intelligence in general.
We know so incredibly little about it that we don't really know whether we are a decade away, a lifetime away, or whether we will never get there at all with the current thinking and approach.
But that is actual AI, where it has intelligence, and thus can have original thought, can make conclusions from evidence to predict or synthesize facts that were not known before.
Machine Learning, by contrast is simply algorithms. Not as advanced yet as any of those in use by Google themselves, even just on their Natural Language Processing, and we are here in an entire community of folks who mostly believe Google is dumb. If Google isn't classed as an AI, then for sure none of the writing software comes close.
Mike » Ammon Johns
I agree. General AI might never be a thing and we're not close to creating Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is in any way 'intelligent'.
As you say, it depends 😂. I approached this question from how I use this stuff in my own workflow. And for that, I'm not looking for intelligence, I am looking for a tool that will give me population demographics for a given city (and make comparisons and draw some conclusions) quickly because that's what my audience wants. It's not smarter than a person, it's really dumb but it gives me data faster than a researcher would.
This is simply a different thing to creating interesting shareable content that has a voice; a human perspective. No AI can do that. But it can give me a list of the major employers in a city and some insight into how they have contributed to the local economy. This kind of thing is important too, particularly when you are tasked with creating a snapshot that is really nothing more than an addendum to the bulk of content being created.
One of the things I currently do is use SPARQL to query Wikidata, gov datasets etc. with custom queries to glean insights that aren't published anywhere else. I view AI as a tool with regard to these kinds of endeavours.
And nothing to do with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) but I've just listened to the Russel Stewart lectures – 'Living with AI' and the point he drives home is what you are saying which is AI is stupid but very effective at optimising specific tasks. Of course, this is at its scariest when we are talking about pilotless drones like Kargus.
Skynet isn't the problem. The machines won't become sentient but they can get very good at repeating the same thing, millions of times over while getting better at it.
Buuut back to SEO. And there is a big but here. I just jumped on your Facebook page and read what you wrote about Query Rewriting and the Indexing Paradigm Shift where you cover, essentially, what you and I have been discussing for the last few days.
And yeah, you are a good writer. Kudos. And AI could never – maybe 100 years – write something like that – not the point. SEO isn't working very well for me at the moment and there's something in what you have said, as it applies to my situation specifically, that I need to learn from.
I just need some time to reflect.
Thank you my friend. Much appreciated.
Ammon Johns 🎓 » Mike
I always remember what my dear, late, father said: "To err is human, but a real clusterf*ck takes automation!" 😃
Mike » Ammon Johns
That's brilliant. Absolutely love it! Nail. On. Head. 😃
I use a few of these tools. The stuff you generate in one click is pure crap. You need to do it bit by bit making sure it's all correct, and readable. I can't see unedited AI articles ranking for anything and even if they did the reader would quickly realise it's mostly gibberish
The difference is going to be the difference between mass industrial production and organic breeding.
I can't think of major publications like New York times, Guardians etc using AI tool.
But, "will the general audience notice it? Will they prefer one over the other?" Is what makes the difference.
Tons of financial articles are already AI generated.
Albert » Travis
Yes, it's not only about technical material. It's also about unique style that major publications apply through generations of trained editors that makes them unique and authority in their field.
Yet again, when revenue is the purpose, it comes to the judgement of general audience.
Wow its unbelievable how many people think you don't need to think about ethics when working in SEO. We're literally at the front lines of creating and distributing knowledge.
1) Your AI writes a blog post that gives bad advice. Someone gets hurt. Not your fault?
2) I've had multiple writers cite wrong information and when I tracked it down, it came from AI generated content. When wrong info is cited over and over again, suddenly we've created an ecosystem of alternate facts. It's literally the proliferation of fake news in real time and not very good for humanity.
3) Artificial Intelligence (AI) is part of the continued corrosion of human intellect as we hand over our dumb minds to machines and slowly slip into "idiocracy" (Bill Maher fans?). It should be used as a tool for writers / editors, not a replacement. Unfortunately 99% of the time AI is used wrongly.
4) AI isn't creative and doesnt generate new insights that push the bounds of knowledge. It just curates info that already exists… unedited AI has very little social utility beyond making an SEO a quick buck. It's not improving the knowledge hive one iota.
I know most SEO users don't care – they just want money and don't care how they get it… but they should probably have a little more of a social conscience about what they do.
This is what the AI just said.
"Does artificial intelligence write great content?
I'm not sure if AI can write great content. In the future, may be able to help with writing and editing process by suggesting language that might work better than what I had initially thought of as well complementing my thoughts when it comes down ideas for posts or anything else where creativity needs some extra boost because let's face 'things – nobody has perfect originality!"
Kearo » Drew
1) Although I personally do feel responsible for the content I'm putting out there, I still don't think it's my fault if someone takes advice on the internet and gets hurt.
Because you shouldn't make important decisions based on anonymous advice on the web. If you do, it's your fault.
2). Unintentional fake news is a drop in the ocean nowadays. Your accidental mistake is nothing compared to the mainstream news propaganda machine.
3). All of the human progress is helping lazy people do their job easier. People want to get dumb. Who are we to judge?
4). > beyond making an SEO a quick buck.
Making a quick buck is the sole reason I do SEO.
People need to stop obsessing over AI content and trying to save money when it comes content 😟. Yeah, it might rank well, but it won't help with conversions no where near as much as a competent writer.
Content should be for people, not search engines.
it's a no go for me, paraphrasing articles manually gives slightly better control lol. others bring up good points about accuracy issues. many people like personal stories mixed in with facts, not me though but i'm not most people. ai has no idea where to joke etc. People may also like jokes
If an article is 90% plus AI content, should it be disclosed visibly that this article was mostly written by AI, but reviewed by a human? I understand this a way how Google could penalise us. However, from a visitor perspective, I'd appreciate the heads-up warning. And yes, it might make me look elsewhere for reliable advice