Chatbots Won’t Replace Great Storytelling
Updated: Feb 13
By Keryn McKinnon, Agency Director
Weaving words to create thought-provoking and compelling narrative is a centuries-old art.
Some people are better at it than others and for many, it is their life’s work. For journalists, authors, academics, researchers, content producers, lawyers, marketers and public relations strategists words are their profession.
So when a Silicon Valley startup develops a chatbot that can write poetry, essays and research and answer questions, write computer coding and pretty much mimic human intelligence, it is hardly surprising people are running scared.
In a number of jurisdictions across Australia, schools and universities have banned the use of ChatGPT and governments and private organisations alike are grappling with its implications.
But is the Chicken Little response really necessary?
Expert storytellers know that the best communications are developed when you truly understand the audience you are talking to. There are nuances that need to be considered; writing styles that cater to different target groups; and human-interest elements that can only really be told well when they have been lived and experienced.
For greatest impact, audiences must be able to relate to the words. Good writing must evoke emotion, encourage action, inspire, enthral and motivate. Good communicators do this best because they know who will be reading and reacting to their words.
They know that the tone of voice that is needed when writing newsletters to staff is different to what is needed when communicating with customers. Storytellers know how to draw details and insight from people to inform and construct great narratives that people want to read and share.
As pointed out in a recent Harvard Business Review article by the University of Pennsylvania’s Associate Professor Ethan Mollick, ChatGPT ‘literally does not know what it doesn’t know’.
Like technology advances before it, artificial intelligence like ChatGPT, has a place in the world. Global business giants such as Microsoft will ensure this, and the challenge is ours to adapt and work with it.
But it will not replace expert storytelling.