AI bots cannot report this column. But they can improve it.
Test 3: Adding context
Wordtune Spices also excelled at fleshing out paragraphs with additional context. By pressing the + button, you can add color and background information to a piece of text by inserting historical data, a joke and an example to prove your point.
For example, I took this paragraph from my column last week:
First, it helps to know why companies want email addresses. For advertisers, web publishers, and app makers, your email isn’t just important for contacting you. It acts as a digital breadcrumb for companies to link your activity across sites and apps to deliver relevant ads to you.
In Wordtune Spices, I clicked the + button to add an example, historical fact, and joke. (Changes in bold.)
First, it helps to know why companies want email addresses. For advertisers, web publishers, and app makers, your email isn’t just important for contacting you. For example, by tracking your purchases, companies can recommend products or services that interest you. The first email marketing explosion was sent out in 1978 by a man named Gary Thuerk who worked for Digital Equipment Corp. And with that, Gary Thuerk was sent down in history as the world’s first “Spam Lord”!
After doing some research, I was impressed to learn that 1978 was indeed the first time email was used for marketing. The example of using email receipts to serve targeted ads was also accurate. The joke wasn’t very funny, but it cleared things up.
Test 4: Finish this column
Finally, I pasted this whole column into each writing assistant to see if they could come up with a kick or some clever conclusion to wrap it all up.
ChatGPT was the only one of the three that could read the entire text to generate a plausible conclusion:
With AI writing assistants like ChatGPT, Wordtune Spices and Rytr, we have a powerful tool to improve our writing – but only if we use it responsibly.
Wordtune Spices produced an unusable takeaway:
With the help of writing assistants, I was able to end this column with a well-crafted conclusion that connects all the points I discussed.
Rytr did, uh, something:
National Football League coaches earn an average of $2,000,000 a year.
AI21 Labs, the Israeli startup that developed Wordtune Spices, said the current AI writing technology required more guidance from the user than the prompt I gave the tools. Rytr said its users could use a feedback tool to train its AI if something goes wrong. OpenAI declined to comment.
All this shows that artificial intelligence can be an effective tool to improve our work. I was surprised by some of the results – in particular, that Wordtune Spices could add accurate and relevant background information. I may occasionally use the tool for suggestions on fleshing out paragraphs with historical data, although I will then fact-check before publishing.
And in general, the AI bots were useful for refining prose and cleaning up clunky, ungrammatical sentences.
What the bots couldn’t do, however, was research or reports to show their strengths and weaknesses. This requires reflection.