There is no shortage of hoopla and publicity and, well, curiosity, circling ChatGPT. ChatGPT is the fastest growing app in history, reaching 100 million monthly users just two months after launch.
Many businesses are taking an interest in ChatGPT following news stories that seem to lead businesses to believe that the platform can be used for creating content.
In this article, we’ll delve into what ChatGPT is, how it is used, and how it may offer use cases for content production. We’ll explore pros and cons of a business deploying ChatGPT for content creation.
What Is ChatGTP?
Before you can understand if your business should use ChatGPT, you need to understand what ChatGPT is.
ChatGPT, or Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer, is a chatbot that’s part of the OpenAI family. OpenAI offers a number of AI services, ChatGPT is one of them. We’ll break down the depth of ChatGPT’s function as we continue this article, but in short, understand that ChatGPT answers commands with text answers.
ChatGPT offers human dialogue in a conversational expression referred to as “natural language processing.” These expressions or answers are used for myriad purposes, including these oversimplified reasons:
- Appease curiosity (historical facts, mathematical problems, how-to instructions, etc.)
- Create a blog article
- Create website copy
- Craft headline/title options
Conversations between humans and ChatGPT are reviewed by AI trainers to help improve future conversations and results. In other words, all interactions with ChatGPT serve to evolve the AI system at scale.
ChatGPT doesn’t allow you to create image content, although many people confuse ChatGPT with an umbrella term for all generative AI products.
Here are a few examples of what a human may ask ChatGPT:
- “Explain quantum computing in simple terms.”
- “Got any creative ideas for a 10 year old’s birthday?”
ChatGPT will remember the conversation and adapt. The person can provide follow-up details relevant to the direction of the conversation. If ChatGPT deems a question or statement inappropriate, it will decline.
How to Sign up and Use ChatGPT
- You’ll need to create a free account with OpenAI.
- You’ll need to select ChatGPT and land on chat.openai.com.
- You may need to log in one more time with your OpenAI credentials.
- ChatGPT asks for your name and phone number for two-factor authentication purposes.
- ChatGPT offers a free version, but the company recently launched ChatGPT Plus. The Plus version is supposed to be fast, but also less apt to fail during peak times.
- You can log in directly to ChatGPT here.
Sometimes ChatGPT goes over capacity due to an overwhelming number of users. When this happens, you’ll receive an “at capacity right now” message.
The Plus version markets itself around lessening this result.
The ChatGPT Interface
Now that you’re inside of ChatGPT, let’s look at using the interface.
You’ll recognize some example inputs on the dashboard. But the main focus is on the bottom portion of the dashboard where you can input a command.
This is how you begin a conversation. This conversation will become its very own ecosystem and ChatGPT will remember details and evolve responses as you provide more input.
Let’s look over a few examples by creating a conversation. We’ll input, “how do I make cheesecake.”
The top red arrow directs our attention to the main topic. Everything under this is part of that conversation involving “how do I make cheesecake.”
As you’ll note, ChatGPT replies, giving us precise instructions on making a cheesecake.
Under the same conversation, let’s add a new command.
The command “is cheesecake bad for my health” remains within the original conversation frame titled, “how do I make cheesecake.” We could keep going, but we’re confident you’re getting the idea.
At this juncture, you’re probably wondering if ChatGPT is a good idea for your business. The answer is a mixed bag.
Potential ChatGPT Use Cases for Businesses
In this section, we’ll discuss ChatGPT’s potential use cases. This section should not be confused with recommending the deployment of ChatGPT for your business. Instead, we want to unravel ChatGPT’s possibilities and follow that up with a discussion on both the downsides and benefits to using ChatGPT for your ecommerce business.
There is a lot of publicity surrounding companies that use ChatGPT. For example, Buzzfeed announced it will use ChatGPT. The Buzzfeed/ChatGPT integration announcement garnered an outpouring of passionate responses, including a surge in Buzzfeed stock, discouraged content creators and anxious economists.
First and foremost, the devil is always in the details.
Buzzfeed isn’t announcing the deployment of ChatGPT to create long-form, impactful content. Instead, the company will use ChatGPT to create quizzes. In fact, the company clarified it will remain focused on human-generated journalism.
BuzzFeed to Use ChatGPT Creator OpenAI to Help Come Up With Some of Its Content — WSJ
BuzzFeed to Use AI to Create More Comprehensive Quizzes, Interactive Content, CEO Peretti Says
BuzzFeed Remains Focused on Human-Generated Journalism in Its Newsroom. Spokeswoman Says$BZFD
— *Walter Bloomberg (@DeItaone) January 26, 2023
This is an important element because after hearing the Buzzfeed news, businesses began asking if they could deploy ChatGPT for content marketing efforts. But Buzzfeed doesn’t offer us a relevant working example for using ChatGPT for content marketing.
That said, Buzzfeed laid off dozens of employees (12% of total staff), leading many people down the rabbit hole of believing that ChatGPT will cannibalize workers.
Users also reacted, mostly in an acerbic tone, to the news, believing the maneuver shows the company no longer values its readers.
Why the hell should anyone visit a website that thinks so little of its audience that they’re willing to put out content they couldn’t even be bothered to create themselves? If a robot can write Buzzfeed articles, what value is there by not going straight to the robot instead? https://t.co/aBInUrUvkZ
Why the hell should anyone visit a website that thinks so little of its audience that they're willing to put out content they couldn't even be bothered to create themselves? If a robot can write Buzzfeed articles, what value is there by not going straight to the robot instead? https://t.co/aBInUrUvkZ
— Velodus✨ (@velodus) January 26, 2023
But as mentioned earlier, investors rallied around Buzzfeed which helped skyrocket the stock. Investors are putting their money into ChatGPT as a viable AI solution that could help businesses thrive.
So then, will ChatGPT help businesses?
The answer is yes, ChatGPT will offer businesses use-cases. The reason we unraveled the Buzzfeed/ChatGPT story, however, was to show that ChatGPT may not offer a sweeping content production solution. And that ChatGPT news headlines are often not that accurate and sometimes lean toward salacious, even fear-mongering (depending if you’re a content creator or a business that needs content created).
Investors have a large stake in ChatGPT and believe it will become widely used by businesses. Beyond that, there are numerous other indicators that provide us with further evidence that ChatGPT and the likes will remain with us going forward.
Google is launching Muse, a text to image generative AI platform. Moreover, Google may deploy a ChatGPT-style homepage. Google recently launched Bard to beta-testers, including 9Rooftops.
Google Search feels a bit, well, insecure over the effectiveness of ChatGPT’s interactions and results. In fact, the new tech war almost certainly exists between Google and generative AI platforms like ChatGPT. For the first time in its history, Google has lost a little control of the market.
This leads us to point 1:
ChatGPT is a search-type experience.
We keep hearing that ChatGPT creates content, but in reality, it helps inform people. ChatGPT provides instructions to bake a cheesecake without visiting a massive recipe site’s page (we all know what we mean here).
In this use case, ChatGPT and platforms like it are here to stay.
But things aren’t that simple. Let’s look at point 2:
Will ChatGPT be a viable content marketing solution?
On the outside, it seemed they were replacing all writers with robot AI solutions; our Blade Runner demise all but certain.
But upon a more astute look, we understand that Buzzfeed is deploying ChatGPT for the specific use case of creating quizzes.
Did Buzzfeed need highly-educated journalists creating quizzes?
Let’s consider the ramifications of creating content using ChatGPT.
There are no sources.
ChatGPT becomes the source. Because of this, ChatGPT becomes a less viable and almost entirely inept solution for creating content. Google’s algorithm notoriously seeks sources in content as a way to counter fake news or misinformation, particularly in financial, medical and health news.
Remember, in ChatGPT’s dashboard, the interface warns you that ChatGPT results may be biased or inaccurate.
A human created ChatGPT even when we fail to acknowledge that. While there’s a lot of content that a bias helps, we probably don’t want that bias derived from a computer machine that’s never experienced the event. Also, ChatGPT won’t tell you it’s creating a bias.
Google’s Helpful Content Search Update hints at lessened SEO effectiveness.
Warning: We’re about to go down a bit of a rabbit hole.
We’ve discussed Buzzfeed ad nauseum, and for good reason.
But left out of the Buzzfeed hoopla was a working example of ChatGPT and SEO.
In January, media website CNET became embroiled in a polarizing ChatGPT scandal. At the heart of the scandal was a disclosure located on the bottom of many CNET articles reading, “THIS ARTICLE WAS GENERATED USING AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGY.”
Ah yes, CNET, in some fashion, is using ChatGPT to create content. And this has been going on since November of 2022. The content, oddly, was financial-based. We say “oddly” given that Google Search algorithms are often aligned by marketers with having a heavier oversight on financial news.
Now things get even trickier. In 2022, Google’s face of search, John Mueller, said that content generated through automation is against Google’s policy and could lead to a dreaded search penalty.
“For us these would, essentially, still fall into the category of automatically generated content which is something we’ve had in the Webmaster Guidelines since almost the beginning.
And people have been automatically generating content in lots of different ways. And for us, if you’re using machine learning tools to generate your content, it’s essentially the same as if you’re just shuffling words around, or looking up synonyms, or doing the translation tricks that people used to do. Those kind of things.
My suspicion is maybe the quality of content is a little bit better than the really old school tools, but for us it’s still automatically generated content, and that means for us it’s still against the Webmaster Guidelines. So we would consider that to be spam.” He stated.
More compelling, Mueller goes on to say that he “can’t claim” that Google can detect AI-generated content.
Translation, Google is working toward AI-generated content detection. But Google also launched Bard, a system that does the same thing as ChatGPT (we’ll get to it).
Let’s dive deeper.
During the summer of 2022, Google quietly released a new search update. The search update was appropriately titled, Helpful Content Update.
The name says it all. As a follow up in September of 2022, Google released a more major “core update.”
Google released information on Helpful Content Update. They conveyed that the central point of the update was to ensure that content found in the top rankings of their search was indeed, helpful to users. Said another way, Google wanted to eliminate content written for the sole purpose of search engine rankings.
You can read about Helpful Content Update straight from the source — here.
And when you do, you’ll notice a few standout points found underneath “avoid creating content for search engines first.”
- Is the content primarily to attract people from search engines, rather than made for humans?
- Are you producing lots of content on different topics in hopes that some of it might perform well in search results?
- Are you using extensive automation to produce content on many topics?
That third point is everything we need to know to conclude that Google’s search efforts are looking to thwart massive AI-generated content schemes.
Now, let’s take a second and clarify a major point.
Content farms have existed prior to ChatGPT. Humans have been at the heart of efforts to create massive amounts of worthless, redundant content for two decades. We can’t blame it all on ChatGPT, which is brand new and likely doesn’t account for even 2% of such inefficacious content.
Now, let’s get back to CNET.
The backlash from the CNET/ChatGPT discovery was harsh, widespread and, at times, aggressive. So much so that last month, CNET came out with a response (we assume human written) which declared that they were “experimenting” and they were using an internal AI content generator, not ChatGPT, to produce some recent longer-form content.
Staff at Futurism immediately detected that CNET articles contained grammar errors and cases of egregious plagiarism. The Washington Post called CNET’s AI-generated content strategy a “journalistic disaster.”
Recall earlier, ChatGPT’s interface offers a warning to users which includes its potential to create erroneous results. Moreover, Google became aware of CNET, and the financial website Bankrate, utilizing automated content generation.
“CNET and Bankrate gained a ton of unnecessary attention for their AI Content disclosure to the point that Google issued a statement,” Jake Gronsky, CNET’s parent company, Red Ventures, director of search engine optimization, stated in a Slack conversation. He went on, fearing Google might update its algorithm to deliver search penalties.
Without deep diving too much, here’s an example of one CNET AI-generated article. The image below, pulled from AHREFS, shows its downswing in SEO. We can’t validate the relationship between less SEO traffic and AI-generated content, but we do have to consider it.
Additionally, when we look at the article’s header, we notice two important facets:
- The article has a human editor. Human editors cost money.
- The article was updated on January 12th, 2023, months after AI generated it. This hints at efforts made to correct the article and those efforts are likely human. Say it with us, “humans cost money.”
Given the extent of human intervention evidenced above, we can clearly see that AI content generation isn’t a succinct, cut and dry effort. Additionally, AI content generation likely still includes human intervention.
CNET’s response to using AI content generation includes labeling it an experiment. So we might expect less human generation in the future.
What About Google Bard?
Alas, we’ve arrived.
Google Bard launched in mid-March of 2023 to beta testers to decent fanfare. For many, Bard’s interface and function appear similar enough to ChatGPT to avert overstimulating our complex brain power.
However, there are notable differences that may speak to the future of AI and its relationship to search.
Below are three health-oriented questions posed to both Bard and ChatGPT.
Google flat out refuses to give an answer. This non-response tows a similar line to Google’s Search algorithm, specifically the infamous 2018 Google Medic, which sought to discourage sourceless health claims.
ChatGPT, on the other hand, answered each question with striking detail.
Additionally, Google Bard, unlike ChatGPT, returns an option to “Google It” which drops down Web Search sources for further exploration.
There are a couple of prominent takeaways in this.
The Cultural Distinction
First, Google may pursue a future that either avoids specific topics that could affect someone’s personal life, such as health. Google may also continue to amplify cited sources. ChatGPT shows little sign at doing either, although they do offer disclaimers for some results. As a result, generative AI likely continues a polarizing social discourse regarding which information people should see and who should speak to that information.
The Technical Distinction
Second, Google Bard leverages Internet search for it’s results whereas ChatGPT is trained on text data.
- ChatGPT isn’t going away.
- Google search algorithms continue to look for ways to decipher, and potentially penalize, AI-generated content.
- AI content generation may help a business write foundational aspects of content, however, business owners should ensure fact and bias checking through an editorial process.
- Businesses will still need a human to craft impactful content, even if generative AI helps along the way.
- ChatGPT and Google Bard offer technically distinct differences that help us see a future where content sources and governance remain a polarizing issue.
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