AI has become the MSG of software

I’m not against AI. AI is amazing. I know this because I work for an AI company, and I’ve seen the impact it delivers to businesses of all sizes. AI is changing things for good and it will continue to do so.

I’m also not afraid of AI taking my job someday (I know it will eventually happen, and I’m fine

 with it. But that discussion is for another day). But, it is frustrating when I come across apps that come up with AI use cases that add no real value to end users.

I came across a tweet from a growing developer blogging platform about their latest AI feature. A writing assistant that helps users write content. Do you realize how dangerous that is, for the company and the users?

Let me explain. The whole idea of a blogging platform is for people to share their ideas on various topics, and learn from one another. It is a medium for learning from different people. If the majority uses AI-generated content for views and likes, then what benefit does it add for a reader like you and me? Instead of reading content from many individuals, we’ll be reading content that is created with a help of a single AI engine.

Why do I need a blogging platform for this? I can sign up for my own ChatGPT account and ask it to generate personalized blog content on any topic I want. It’s going to be the same. Why do I even have to visit the blogging platform then?

Another area I’m worried about is the signal-to-noise ratio of content. Introducing an AI-powered writing assistant removes the barrier to creativity altogether, resulting in a boatload of spam. The platform will see a thousand articles each day, all sounding very similar.

Lately, it looks like companies in the productivity and note-taking space are launching writing assistants only to compete with each other. But except for a few, most companies are not thinking about what value these features would add to the end users.

A writing assistant can help helpful in summarising or translating content and even in correcting grammar errors in content. But writing an entire piece of content? It doesn’t help the writer as well as the reader (should we even call them a writer? Or a writing orchestrator?)

Technology companies have a responsibility to make conscious decisions on how they’d want to use new technology. It should empower people to become better thinkers and creators. It shouldn’t provide them an option to outsource their thinking and creativity. I’m afraid of this scenario because I know we’re lazy and given a choice we wouldn’t think twice before taking up that option.