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Can Technology Replace Academic Writers?

May 14, 2018 No Comments

Featured article by Sarah Tremblay, Independent Technology Author

With the advent of robotics and technology taking the place of more and more bottom-tier jobs and services, the question naturally arises of whether or not writing and editing will suffer the same fate. There are arguments on both sides, as people can’t decide whether or not it would be a good thing to have happen, or even if it would be possible. Having academic writing in the hands of robots would admittedly be different for many reason, but with the abilities of robots still being discovered, we may not know for a while whether or not things are feasible in the way that people believe.

Pros

Having academic writing handled by robots and other technological devices would definitely iron out some of the creases that people report – since so much goes into academic writing, including proper citation styles, and different methods of formatting. AI could handle these much more effectively than humans sometimes can, because of the lack of human error in their work.

 AI could also replace human writers in academic writing because it is a lot faster than humans ever could be. The research and writing of an essay is something that takes time; an AI could do it far faster, and more accurately. This could not only free people up for doing other writing work, but could also remove some of the potential for missing deadlines, and for problems with writing. Even if people never do fully embrace AI for any academic writing, it could be used for people who have very short deadlines, as it can churn out work in a short space of time.

Academic writing is something that does follow a lot of conventions, and so many sites use pre-written essays to give to people who want them. AI could be used quite effectively to create pre-written essays, which could then be sold out to people who need them. Using AI would mean that more essays could be created in a shorter space of time. This would mean that people would benefit from an essay which was not too old, and which not many people had had before them.

Cons

Anybody who has used spellcheck, or had it change something that shouldn’t be changed, knows at least one of the reasons why AI will most likely never be used for academic writing. AI is very useful, but it is limited in the extreme by not being able to understand what it is that the writer wants. A lot of academic writing is made up of things which are rote, and are always the same, and AI can be very useful for creating them, but the act of writing itself needs the input of a brain which is capable of thinking and being creative.

AI is being used in some forms of content, but academic writing will most likely not be one of those forms. Content which is entirely basic and formulaic can be handled by AI with a lot of ease, but other forms of writing, which depend on independent thought and experiences, are not so easily replicated. Particularly if the academic writing is something which is highly dependent on the individual experiences of whoever is writing, then that writing has to be done by a human, as a machine can only replicate facts which it already has.

AI is not going to replace humans in academic writing because they are best at simply providing support and formatting. It takes a human to really provide the heart and feeling that people really connect with when they read something. A machine can’t provide that, since it can only replicate what it has been told. Machines need to have information implanted in them before they can act on it. An AI can be taught to research, and increasingly we are finding ways to improve upon machine learning, but there is a difference between machine and humans which will never be breached.

Machines can grasp huge amounts of information, and apply it properly, but they still lack something which humans can always bring to the table: intuition. While a machine can give you an essay which is technically correct in every sense, it takes humans to really give it that personal touch which can help people to react to it, and to connect with it in ways they otherwise wouldn’t.

Wrap-up

There are so many sites out there such as topwriterlist.com because academic writing is in such high demand. This could make an AI seem very useful to people, as it could help the sites to churn out more content in a shorter space of time, but the essays would definitely suffer if that happened. Essays and writing in general is a lot more than just putting words in the correct order – they require the thought and input of a mind which can adapt to new circumstances, and which can put emotion into their words – something a computer can’t do.

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