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  • Julie Levitch

Do You "Believe" in ChatGPT?

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

As grunge music began to wane in the mid 1990s, bubblegum pop filled the airwaves. The distortion-filled, down-tuned, and riff-based songs of Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains were replaced with the fluffy, synthesized hits of Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, and N’Sync. And this dramatic shift in music wasn’t solely driven by teen pop stars. It also reopened the door for pop legend Cher.

Although Cher first rose to fame as one half of the folk-rock duo “Sonny & Cher,” she hit superstar status for continuing to reinvent herself decade after decade, first as a solo singer and then as an actress. Never afraid to boldly experiment, she went out on a limb in 1998 with “Believe,” her 22nd studio album, using the pioneering audio processing software, Auto-Tune.

Available as a plug-in for digital audio workstations. Auto-Tune was originally intended to detect pitch and correct off-key inaccuracies in vocal tracks. Yet the producers of “Believe” leveraged the software’s most extreme settings to create unnaturally rapid corrections to distort Cher’s voice and remove the natural slide between pitches in her singing. The end-product was an electro-pop hit that topped record charts in over 23 countries and sold more than 11 million copies—making it one of the best-selling singles in music history.

With the song’s success, the use of Auto-Tune skyrocketed in the music industry, opening up countless possibilities in pop, as well as R&B and hip-hop. No longer thought of as a tool to correct poor vocals, the technology was, and continues to be used widely, to augment artistic expression. While many music critics and musicians have lambasted artists who leverage Auto-Tune in their recordings, questioning their ability to sing on key, others simply consider it just another instrument, not unlike a synthesizer, drum machine, or electric guitar.

Does the debate over Auto-Tune sound familiar? It’s not unlike the one we B2B content marketers are currently having over the use of ChatGPT and other chatbots used to create AI-written text. In both cases, the introduction of a new technology is challenging the status quo, producing unique opportunities and risks.

Could human writing be replaced by bots? Will writers still have jobs in five years? You only need to peruse your LinkedIn feed to see how the debate is playing out in real time.

The fact is that ChatGPT has experienced an instantaneous rise in popularity with content marketing being an obvious use case. As any company knows, writing content can be both expensive and time consuming. So I get it; it’s tempting to consider the possibilities of replacing six-figure writers with a free tool.

But like Auto-Tune, ChatGPT was designed as a tool to augment human intelligence and creativity—not replace it. A bot will never have the ability to connect all the dots to create a perfectly-constructed customer story or build a compelling, thought-provoking narrative for a new product. That takes the power of the human brain and skilled writing—and always will.

Yet, that doesn't mean there's no use for bots. Writers can learn to lean on them to gain efficiencies. And some of us may even reinvent ourselves like Cher did with “Believe”, by creating novel ways to use emerging AI technologies to strengthen content marketing strategies and even create new business opportunities.

In other words, the content writers who are experienced and confident in their abilities, know the true value of what they bring to a company. This can’t be replaced by a bot. So, let’s think of these new technologies for what they really are—tools, not takeovers. And by doing so, we writers, and the companies we work for, will discover a bounty of new opportunities and create even better content.

Song of the Day: Believe, Cher

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