Alibaba’s new AI tool has scared me a lot

By Shehryar Ahmed on
July 5, 2018
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Alibaba has launched a new AI tool that can write up to 20,000 words of copy (advertising content) within a second. Being a content and copywriter, I don’t think I’ve ever been intimidated by the introduction of a new technology but this new tool has scared me a lot. The tool has reportedly passed the Turing test as well, which is an evaluation of how close a machine’s work is to the work of an actual human.

One click is all you need to instruct the tool to generate copy that is “promotional, functional, fun, poetic or heartwarming”. For now, the tool will be utilized to write copy for Alibaba’s version of Amazon, i.e. Taobao and Tmall. Yikes, what’s left for us humans to do then? Fortunately, the tool only generates copy; final selection of words and phrases is done by actual people.

Speaking to a media firm, a spokeswoman of Alibaba said, “All the content produced by the AI Copywriter is the result of applying deep learning models, trained with large volumes of quality content created by humans”.

She further added, “Human creativity is the cornerstone for the machine, which isn’t able to replace the creativity of people. AI for marketing … allows people to devote more energy to richly creative work”.

Alibaba claims that the tool is being used by small and medium-sized enterprises regularly. Further reports claim that Fashion firm Espirit has used the tool to rephrase their existing copy. To assure people though, the Chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma said that humans should work with machines and consider them as “partners” instead of opponents.

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