Editing with artificial intelligence

Futurists predict that many of the jobs we do today will cease to exist when human labour is replaced by artificial intelligence (AI). Is the occupation of professional editor likely to be one of them?

Much of what is written about AI or automation in the workplace is negative – particularly when it is accompanied by a hitlist of occupations that will be replaced by technology. Less attention is paid to the new jobs that will be created (many we can’t even imagine yet) or existing jobs that will be radically changed as technology enables us to work more efficiently, more creatively and more intelligently.

I’m always looking for ways to improve how I execute projects and manage my business. I’ve tested a number of tools to assist with reviewing and editing documents over the years – some that have been helpful, and others less so.

In previous articles I’ve talked about PerfectIt, which is easily the most impressive professional editing tool I’ve come across to date. By checking for common errors and inconsistencies within the text, PerfectIt helps an editor produce a more accurate and readable document.

At Red Pony, we often use PerfectIt at the beginning of a project to clean up the document before we review it, then again at the end as a final quality assurance step. It’s a great time-saver, enabling us to focus on areas where we add greater value, such as restructuring and rewriting unclear or ambiguous sentences – something PerfectIt simply cannot do.

You don’t have to be a professional editor to use software to improve your writing, and there are plenty of other automated editing tools aimed at a broader audience, including popular options Grammarly and Hemingway. While they can serve as a helpful guide by flagging possible improvements to text, they will always have their limitations. No matter how sophisticated AI becomes, it’s difficult to see how it will be able to account for the nuances that make good writing truly good – the combination of sentence length, word choice, use of local idioms – the various intangible elements that define a writer’s style.

These are things that require a human touch, and for which there is no replacement for the human editor. As McKinley found when she reviewed the Hemingway app in a previous post, not even Hemingway writes like Hemingway.

Image via Pixabay

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