We've been living in a post-LLM world for about 6 months now. Some are saying that the hype is dying down. Search trends for ChatGPT are dropping the same way that searches for NFTs dropped off (thankfully).
When thinking of topics when as I was starting out this newsletter a few months ago, one that was near the top of my list was this one: will AI kill factual writing? I was drawn to it because I thought that a lot of the prose around writing about technical topics could probably artificially generated, and be correct. Or at least, correct with minor edits required.
What I mean by factual writing is the human author coming up with the facts about something, and letting AI figure out how the present them nicely for the reader. Obviously I'm coming at this from a technical standpoint, but perhaps the same could apply to an investigative journalist writing a summary of their findings and having AI write the article.
Last week I learnt something new at work. I shared my findings with my team in Slack, and joked that I could probably get AI to write a blog post about it.
See for yourself. I put Bing into "More Creative" mode and entered this prompt:
Write a blog post in the style of Arun Stephens (arunstephens.com) about this: I wanted to find out which other repos reference
MyProduct.Business.Contracts.MyContractand the GitHub web UI wasn't cutting it. So I installed the
ghcommand line app, auth'd using
gh auth loginand then ran
gh api --paginate search/code?q=MyProduct.Business.Contracts.MyContract | jq .items.repository.full_name | sort | uniqGave me a sorted list of repos that mention that in the code!
I've put the result in its own post. It's not bad at all. It's probably something that I might have written. It's also correctly expanded the context as to why wanted to find references to that class. I would have not concentrated on it being "a specific contract" though, as the search could be much wider than that.
To be fair, this isn't a particularly complex thing to write about. It's also not particularly novel. There's also a very strong argument that the original Slack post was better because it was more concise. You definitely get to the answer quicker. Maybe it wasn't necessary to expand this into an explainer blog post at all.
Could AI kill factual writing?
It may well reduce it, but there will definitely be space for novel writing to continue. And I think, well, hope, that society will still value human-written content, even if the machine-generated kind may not be distinguishable from it.
So here's what Bing (which is GPT behind the scenes) turned my little Slack post into: