My husband walked through the door and declared I would soon be unemployed. He’d read an article about the future of blogging. Apparently human bloggers will no longer be required because computers are becoming so intelligent they’ll soon be able to write blogs on our behalf. I raised my eyebrows, “Really?”.
My love of language was sparked at an early age; when my older sister started at high school she used to teach me French at the weekends and on holidays. I learnt the words parrot fashion and loved it so much, when I eventually started secondary school, I ended up teaching the rest of the class the vocabulary for places in town and the contents of my pencil case! I guess that’s where my obsession with stationery may have begun too.
At university I studied french and business, spending a year living and working abroad. My time in France highlighted just how important effective communication is, and in particular, how one size does not fit all.
A memorable assignment from my degree was about the accuracy of online translation engines. It was at the time when free online translation sites like Babelfish were emerging. The assignment asked us to analyse the accuracy, efficiency and reliability of these sites.
My answer was a resounding ‘No’.
Whilst the reliability of online translation sites has improved massively over the years, the conclusion I reached still stands today: I don’t believe computers can write to the same standard as humans.
There are three reasons why:
Feed a computer with facts, statistics and information and yes, it probably could produce a coherent piece of writing. Their effectiveness at analysing and summarising data is not up for debate. However, as my investigation into online translation engines proved, a machine will never truly understand the context and appropriateness for the intended audience like a person can. Information is always open to interpretation so understanding your audience and reading around your subject is essential to getting your point across.
I’ve been listening to the soundtrack from La La Land whilst writing this. Every song evokes a memory of watching the film, the crescendos leaving a lump in my throat and the upbeat tracks bringing a smile to my face as I recall scenes from the movie. Think back to when a blog left you with similar feelings and how connected to the author you felt. Could a computer really bring that same level of emotional intelligence to a piece of writing?
Every one of us has a memory bank full of personal experiences and stories to share. Drawing on these experiences is key to capturing and engaging your audience. We don’t need to receive a ‘file upload ‘to call on our memories and pass them on to our reader. Only people can create messages that resonate with the people we want to relate to. Telling stories captures both the heart and mind of your reader, and if you’re blogging for business, that could signal the start of a lasting relationship.
So readers, over to you... Can you see a time when bloggers will be redundant and computers rule the blogosphere, or are real life bloggers here to stay?