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Would a free artificial intelligence (AI) system
meet your writing and editing needs?


The short answer: It depends. 

AI systems such as Grammarly and ChatGPT can do impressive things in the realm of text editing and content creation. For low-stakes writing contexts, the limitations of these "bots" might not matter. But there are limitations—potentially serious ones—which are worth considering if the quality of your writing matters.

Since the launch of ChatGPT in 2022, much has been written about its foibles and flaws. This article in The Atlantic and this one in The New York Times are worth a read. Ask ChatGPT itself to tell you the disadvantages of relying on AI to generate or proofread written content, and it will instantly "confess" to difficulties with context, style, and tone, as well as a potential to make mistakes. The bot will generally conclude with the claim that "Combining the strengths of AI with human judgment is often the most effective approach for producing high-quality written content" (or something like that). Not a bad strategy. But if you happen to lack confidence in your own ability to catch AI's goofs, or to inject some soul into the algorithm's generic prose, you'd probably be better served by a living, breathing collaborator—for now, anyway. 


Will AI's abilities to mimic human thought and behaviour continue to improve? Most certainly, it appears. For a gripping—and, by turns, horrifying—presentation on the wider implications of artificial intelligence, check out this talk by the co-founders of the Center for Humane Technology.  

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