Have I Become Obsolete? (and other fun)

Have you ever got a link in your email or WhatsApp and got the shock of your life? I did the other day.

A friend of mine linked me to an AI-powered natural language application to Talk To Transformer.

What's that you ask?

It's a machine that completes text for you based on a few lines of input.

Just like The Simpsons archvillain Mr. Burns ordering a thousand monkeys to write the best novel in history, this AI called GPT-2 works on kind of the same principle. It scours the internet as its source, completing sentences, paragraphs, and perhaps one day, entire books as it learns what you need it to say.

It predicts the next word one might have said, much like a predictive text application in your smartphone.

Despite the occasional "Sorry honey, running late for yogurt tonight", machine generated language is not new. Last year, Facebook's own AI developed its own internal language without user intervention.

Australia's very own ReporterMate, an AI-driven journalism program, spat out this article about political donations prior to the Federal Election for The Guardian. The Associated Press also uses AI to help assist reporters with articles.

So it's off to the trash heap for me! Well, not quite.

There may be a time when a machine will write better than I could ever hope to.

I don't think that time is now.

Humans using machines as tools or extensions of ourselves will become more complex and more useful. Perhaps language generators such as these will automate some tasks such as modifying legal boilerplate or updating business information.

I'm not running scared yet; but I am fascinated to see what lies ahead.

As for what Talk To Transformer came up with as an alternative to this post, see below.


My First Piece, All Over Again

When I first started out in journalism, my first ever piece was published in Buzz Magazine, the "biggest" street press in South-East Australia (it asked you to take out a ruler and measure.) I remember holding it in my hands, proud as a father taking home his newborn. Of course, as time marched on, the afterglow of publication dimmed. (When you're an editor, you sell the dark lightbulb for ad space.)

I'm chuffed to say I experienced it again over the weekend, as Pascall published a social post I helped create (the post ideas and action copy) for their Better Together campaign. It was a lot of fun to make with the entire Online Circle Digital team - I'm so grateful for my time there and how it turned out! See it below:

Rely on friends to warm up your winter moments. Get cosy with our delicious duo - Pascall Marshmallows and Cadbury Hot Chocolate! #Pascall #Cadbury #lollies #NewZealand #BetterTogether

12 Likes, 1 Comments - Pascall (@pascalllollies) on Instagram: "Rely on friends to warm up your winter moments. Get cosy with our delicious duo - Pascall..."

Drawing Attention: Script for Animated Ad!

Just a short note to showcase this awesome new ad for my friends (and by my friends) at the Animation Company.

Sam and the Animation Company are one of my dearest clients, and I was lucky enough to help write the script for this short attention grabber. I was especially proud of the tagline I came up with - keep an ear out for it!

The Animation Company is a Sydney based corporate and business oriented animation studio. They're always creating engaging, informative and attention-grabbing animation in both 2D and 3D.

To find out more about the Animation Company (with website copy by me!), click here.