Will AI replace human editors?

will ai replace editors

Pundits – human and otherwise – are all talking about the potential of AI technologies and their implications for various industries. In this context, one question that often arises is whether AI will ever replace human editors. Our perspective on this is straightforward: it’s highly unlikely.

 Here’s our view: artificial intelligence will be replaced by augmented intelligence. Like the mythical centaur, we will ride on the back of powerful AI systems that will augment us and build on our experience. Here are some more thoughts on the rise of AI.

AI will become more powerful and sophisticated

AI will continue to evolve and become more and more sophisticated. However, the essence of complex communication is distinctly human. The process of writing will always require a human touch. Just as educational technology can’t replace teachers and medical technology can’t replace midwives, writing will always require a human editor.

Crucial role of human editors 

The relationship between human editors and AI is not one of replacement but of collaboration and competition. Human editors will always play a crucial, if not superior, role alongside AI editing tools. We have adapted to and embraced different writing mediums and tools, from bone and clay to inks, the printing press, typewriters, computers, to word processors. AI is just the next step in this evolution. 

‘AI plus’ approach

The appeal of efficiencies and consistency offered by AI cannot be denied. Assigning AI narrowly defined workflows saves cost and time. This in turn will allow editors to engage more closely with the essence and content of a text, leading to deeper, more meaningful editing. The process needs to be guided by the ‘ultimate supercomputer’: the human brain. Human editors have a superior ability to digest all the rules and apply standards, exceptions, and nuances that define writing. 

Therefore, even if clients could use AI alone to edit their texts, many will prefer to hire human editors, who can instruct the AI and provide the complex editorial refinement that only humans can deliver. By working with the AI, human editors can write better and faster.

The Centaur approach is already evident in other industries around us. For instance, platforms like Etsy use technology to bring the artistic creations of numerous micro-businesses to a wider audience. Despite the availability of ready-made, off-the-shelf items, the bespoke market continues to grow, often incorporating Internet of Things and AI technologies. We value the expertise of other humans and the authenticity they bring to things. 

To conclude, I asked ChatGPT, an AI language model, a series of questions about its role in copyediting. Its responses affirrmed that while it can assist with writing, answering questions, and generating text, it is not a professional copyeditor. 

 AI tools can assist us with writing, answering questions, and generating text, but they are no match for a professional copy editor. AI can help streamline the editing process and improve the overall quality of written content, but it lacks the human creativity, intuition, and critical thinking necessary for professional copyediting. 

In short, while AI will continue to evolve and assist us in various ways, it is unlikely to replace the unique value that human editors bring to the table.

If you’re looking for an editor to add the human touch to your next piece, email us

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