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Writing texts with AI: What can ChatGPT et al. really do?

AIs like ChatGPT have caused quite a stir in the industry. But can an AI really write good texts? What are its limits, and how can you use it as a supporting tool for your writing process?


OpenAI took just five days to inspire one million users in early December 2022, and ChatGPT is the name of an artificial intelligence that has caused a worldwide sensation in just the last few weeks. The chatbot has an answer to all questions, masters HTML codes as well as poetry, can write 1000 words within a minute – and has inspired fears that it will soon make authors unemployable and Textbroker superfluous as a platform.


Without wanting to promise too much: these fears are unfounded. The AI does write texts, even good texts in places, but human skills are still indispensable. In our new blog series, you can find out what ChatGPT does and doesn’t do and how you can use the AI to support your text creation.



How does ChatGPT actually work?


ChatGPT is a “Generative Pre-trained Transformer” in its third version, developed in 2015 by OpenAI, a consortium of several tech companies. ChatGPT is a form of artificial intelligence based on so-called Large Language Models. In short, the algorithm behind the AI is presented with enormous amounts of text. From the raw material, the algorithm derives correlations between individual words, recognises statistical frequencies, and creates equations with several billion variables.


The equations describe which words occur in which contexts, but OpenAI has not yet published the exact technical details of ChatGPT functions.


Unlike earlier language models, ChatGPT has a kind of short-term memory. The language model can write longer texts, conduct dialogues with users and summarise, expand, shorten or transform already created texts into lists. The AI is suitable as a source of inspiration, can shorten routine work and save freelancers time. Nevertheless, there are also a number of disadvantages that you should be aware of.



Why does everyone want to write AI texts now?


“Yes, fab, I’ll have the texts created by the AI, need less time with it and ergo earn more money! AI – bring it on!” is probably what many authors think right away. (Small note: the authors of this article felt the same way.) But experience with the tool quickly shows that this is not quite the case.


But first things first. The big issues in the world of content creation are whether an AI can write texts in such a way that they meet the demands of the target group, are correct in terms of content and generally appear as if they were written by a human hand. The answer to these questions is – as of today (February 2023) – sort of! But perhaps the biggest question for both sides, freelancers and clients, is this: is it unique content if I don’t actually write the text myself?


The facts are scarce. There is still no legal regulation that prohibits, restricts or actively allows the use of ChatGPT in the creation of texts. But it is also a fact that while artificial intelligence may be usable for short product descriptions, for example, it is quite different for complex texts that are supposed to convey opinions, contexts and experiences.


The reason for this is simple: artificial intelligence has no opinion of its own. Its experience comes from a database, and contexts sometimes reveal themselves to the tool in a very unique way. A small practical example: A text about pet food was required, and the product description was to say: “From free range hunting, may contain buckshot.” ChatGPT conjured up a text version from this, which praised the high buckshot content and, thus, the excellent nutritional value of the product.


There is also the question of copyright, which many clients respect. As long as the legal situation remains unclear, caution is still the order of the day. So, in relation to text creation, it is fair to say: many want AI because it is new and, at the moment, ChatGPT offers useful support for good craftsmanship for those who want to use it. It cannot replace authors.




Can AI write good texts?


The tool can easily manage short product descriptions or purely fact-based texts that sound plausible. The AI quickly manages the task “Write a text about sunflowers”. However, no tool in the world can currently replace a high-quality blog post, a field report, an opinion – in short, the process from the idea to the finished text. Indeed, it is the synergy of human and machine that produces positively surprising results.

So, if you are an author who is open to new things, you are welcome to try it out. Textbroker positions itself clearly here: AI may be used as a support and – with due caution – as a subordinate tool, provided the client’s briefing authorises its use. The submission of texts that contain passages written by an AI, and where the AI was more than merely a supporting tool, is prohibited – unless the client specifically authorises this. Those who do not want to use AI do not have to. And anyone who wonders whether they are plagiarising when they use AI: your experienced colleagues at Textbroker, along with the copy check as a system-side control, will reliably detect plagiarism. In addition, it is the responsibility of each individual to produce unique content.

Where clients position themselves against AI, handcrafted text is an absolute USP. As an author, you can be sure that clear instruction on the author accounts home page, in briefings or in team messages will let you know exactly to what extent you are allowed to use AI or not.



The advantages and disadvantages of artificial intelligence


With ChatGPT, the advantages and the corresponding disadvantages are close together – the perfect template for a direct comparison.


Advantage: ChatGPT can replicate natural language. The machine learning model can read and write like a human without using prefabricated sentence building blocks. The AI draws on a huge combination of different data sets and therefore has extensive “knowledge” – and can reproduce this correctly, for the most part, both grammatically and semantically.


Disadvantage: ChatGPT is, on balance, “stupid”. This is because the AI does not understand what it is outputting. Rather, all responses are generated according to general statistical patterns from existing training data.


Advantage: ChatGPT mostly prevents the output of racist or sexist responses. In this respect, OpenAI has trained the AI much better than previous language models.


Disadvantage: AI still has problems with bias. A trial was started on Twitter. The AI was supposed to describe an algorithm that indicated which children’s lives should be saved based on skin colour and gender. ChatGPT had a clear answer: all children should be saved – except male PoC (People of Colour).


Advantage: ChatGPT can summarise complex issues extremely quickly and provide answers to all questions.


Disadvantage: Professor Martin Vechev of ETH Zurich puts it in a nutshell in an interview with the NZZ: “The problem is that this programme says the wrong things with great [sic] self-confidence.” In fact, ChatGPT is a master at spitting out completely nonsensical answers in a serious manner.


Advantage: ChatGPT reduces research time. Yes, really: the authors of this post really appreciate AI for this.


Disadvantage: ChatGPT does not yet surf the internet in real-time (as of February 2023). The entire “knowledge” is limited to data sets from up to 2021. The database is enormous – but there is much more and, above all, more up-to-date information on the internet. ChatGPT is not able to provide sources for the information provided. Whether a piece of information is correct or incorrect must always be determined by the user. This is because ChatGPT is primarily a text generator, which is supposed to deliver well-readable, statistically logical answers. ChatGPT is not a research tool in the strictest sense.



Writing AI texts: What are the arguments against it?


When prompted, ChatGPT writes the following about this: “A major disadvantage of AI in generating texts is that it tends not to have an understanding of context and moods yet. Humans have an intrinsic ability to recognise feelings, meanings, motives and interpersonal interactions, but this interest cannot currently be matched. Therefore, AI can produce a product that is coherent but without the ability to interpret. Another disadvantage is that AI is not only difficult to programme but also very expensive.”

This above example shows the pitfalls very clearly: The text is good, the wording is of high quality, the content is coherent, and a disarming honesty regarding monetary matters rounds off the paragraph. At the same time, the issues with AI show themselves here – is it actually right in what it claims?

Because the tool is often not capable of complex interrelationships. Nor can it feel them. Terms with several meanings can be interpreted correctly by ChatGPT, but that isn’t always the case. A practical example: Short CVs on prominent personalities were to be created for a client, and one text was to be about a politician. Instead, ChatGTP invented a conductor of the same name and praised his creative work in the highest terms; the conductor probably received several awards for his life’s achievements. If only he had existed.

Writers who try out AI support know: there are three important things to keep in mind when writing copy:

  • Fact check,
  • Fact check; and
  • Fact check. itself clearly states on its own site:



Use good judgment when sharing outputs, and attribute them to your name or company.

Requests submitted to our models may be used to train and improve future models. Learn more.

Our default models’ training data cuts off in 2021, so they may not have knowledge of current events.” (Source:


So, anyone who uses AI and passes on content created without checking it is making a big mistake. To be fair and necessary, OpenAI publishes a Sharing & Publication Policy to “mitigate the potential risks of AI-generated content”.


So, as always, you have to know what you’re doing. As freelancers, we are currently moving into a field that is overwhelming itself and keeping yourself fully informed is mandatory. Textbroker offers the best possible support for this, and more informative articles and blog posts are planned.




How can we use AI in writing?


ChatGPT (and, of course, any other paid-for tool based on the Generative Pre-trained Transformer language model) is ideally suited to make life easier for authors. But let’s be clear about this: pure AI texts fulfil neither Textbroker’s nor our clients’ requirements for high-quality content!


Important Note from the Textbroker Editors:

The briefing will clearly specify whether AI usage is permitted or not! If the client selected the option “100% Human (no AI usage allowed)”, the text has to be written from scratch by a human. If the briefing specifies “AI + Human”, however, an AI can be used to assist – but you as the human must perform a post-editing, and the text must conform to the requested star level. In some cases, the client may provide customised instructions regarding the permitted AI usage. This applies to all listed types of applications.


Where its use is permitted, the AI offers many advantages to us authors, such as:

  • Brainstorming
  • Basic research for new topics
  • Creating text structures
  • Optimising texts
  • W-questions and lists
  • Glossaries and FAQs
  • SEO and keyword research

Idea generation


If you have already written numerous texts for a client on a particular topic, you will know the problem: at some point, even the most creative freelancers run out of ideas. ChatGPT is ideal for generating new ideas. If only because the AI draws on information that you may not have had on your radar.



Basic research


Whether you’re working in managed teams or self-service, sometimes you get assignments whose topics don’t mean anything to you. “Air Gap – data theft without internet connection”, “nearshoring” or “bitumen pumps”: many content jobs with good per-word rates revolve around absolutely specialised knowledge. If you have no idea how to get started on a topic, AI provides you with a quick, compact and clear foundation of understanding on which you can build your further research.



Text structure creation


A good text structure is a must, especially for longer blog articles or guidebooks, as it helps the readers of your texts find their way around. Where this is permitted by the briefing, ChatGPT can be used to structure your texts and will convert HTML codes for you if necessary. ChatGPT is anything but perfect in this area, but it is definitely worth trying out!



Text optimisation


Have you created a product description and now need a call-to-action that rounds off your work in a promotional way? Or do you lack inspiration for the perfect meta description? Optimising existing texts is one of the AI’s strengths. Depending on the input used (“Write transactional new:” or “Write a call-to-action for:”), you can optimise, add to, or shorten just about anything in your text. However, the same principle applies: This is only permissible if the client authorizes AI usage in the briefing.



W-questions and lists


“Create 5 questions about this text: [your text]” or “A list of 10 points about [your topic]” – the AI is really good at pulling the essence out of a text or term and turning it into W-questions or bullet point lists. The results are not 1:1 usable, of course, because ChatGPT tends to repeat words. But as a foundation and with a little human creativity in the follow-up, this function is a real added value for orders, where such AI usage is permitted.”



Glossaries and FAQs


Glossaries and FAQs are in vogue – and can certainly take a lot of time to create. ChatGPT offers you an enormous advantage for both tasks: the tool gets to the point in one or two sentences. You enter the desired question or a term and receive an answer in a few seconds. But beware: sometimes, the AI is completely wrong. Even with glossaries and FAQs, you can’t use them without a careful fact-check first. Also, make sure that you smooth out the sentences. After all, who wants to read FAQs where every answer starts with the same words?



SEO and keyword research


ChatGPT by Open AI is not connected to any network. Accordingly, this language model is only conditionally suitable for keyword research, although the AI is quite capable of creating a basic text around terms provided by a user. Furthermore, the tool is not able to reliably accommodate a certain density of keywords – but it at least points you in the right direction. In addition, ChatGPT can provide you with relevant keywords for every conceivable topic. In other words, the AI provides a certain degree of relevance. However, the actual optimisation of the text remains in your hands.




Writing texts with AI: a summary of the AI


Here’s an AI-created text – an unedited first attempt: (text-davinci-033, Temperature 1):


Input: “Chat GPT: What can the AI do when it comes to professional text writing? Write a summary conclusion and use the keyword “AI text writing” three times, inflections and stop words are allowed.”


Here’s what the AI delivers (we’ve marked errors and areas for improvement in italics):


“Thanks to the use of AIs, texts can be created in the shortest possible time and with the highest quality. The way AIs work is to generate appropriate paragraphs and sentences based on existing texts – leading to a completely new concept of text writing. This means that AI text writing can be more efficient and cost-effective than conventional writing methods. In addition, texts can be reliably produced at an unexpectedly high level of quality. All in all, it can be said that AI text writing is an attractive solution for anyone who needs excellent texts and wants to protect themselves from the appropriate investment budget.”


Something to keep in mind!


Want to learn more? Then keep your eyes peeled, as this is just the first part of a series of posts about AI!




About the authors:

5-star authors MaMe82 and JBO know exactly what they are talking about when it comes to the use of AI. They can explain what you have to pay attention to when you write texts with the help of AI – from freelancer to freelancer!


Whether you use AI to help you or not, do you love writing? Then register as an author with Textbroker!

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