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Perspective: Content vs. Writing


Educators have been grappling with the impact of AI. For one, I am now tasked with discerning its use in student essays, and yet I must certify that AI was not used in writing letters of recommendation.


This prohibition is ironic because AI is useful in writing tasks that are repetitive or follow an anticipated format. While a human reviewer is still necessary, it reduces the time spent crafting the initial draft. Such uses, however, are limited and probably do not justify the amount of money and time spent to develop AI. Since profitability is essential, AI is being applied to areas where it is less effective.


What seems to get lost in the arguments about AI is the fundamental distinction between content and writing.


Much of the online world exists based on content. Anything written by an influencer and most clickbait can be written by AI, and most of us would never notice.


Where facts and information matter, writing comes in. Writers distinguish between relevant points and inconsequential details. They see salient patterns and reach conclusions based on gathered evidence and their own expertise. Human writers connect with a live audience, rather than simply count the number of clicks on an item. A writer cares about been read, but also cares about being understood and making a lasting impact.


Like any tool, AI works best when used for the tasks that suit it. So, let’s recognize that writing is different from content creation.


I’m Frances Jaeger, and that is my Perspective.

Frances Jaeger is an associate professor of Spanish at Northern Illinois University. Her research interests include Latin American contemporary poetry as well as Caribbean and Central American literature.