AI vs. Human Creativity : The Battle for Literature and Culture
The world of work as we know it is undergoing a seismic shift. According to the World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs Report 2023, an astonishing 1 in 4 jobs will change in light of the unprecedented global upheaval caused by current geo-political tensions, economic instability, climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and technological revolution. Central to this whirlwind of change is the recent advancement of artificial intelligence which threatens to render numerous tasks and roles all but obsolete. Is AI coming for your job.
- Reshaped Roles in Literature and Culture
- The Jobs of the Future
- The Human Advantage
- Future-proofing Your Career
Reshaped Roles in Literature and Culture
For many, the study of literature and culture calls to mind images of dusty, cob-webbed classics, seemingly distant from this modern age of automation. However, AI technologies have already significantly disrupted existing careers in relevant fields. Let’s take a closer look at how technological transformation is reshaping key current roles, and where there are gaps that AI cannot fill:
Content Creators: According to a recent LinkedIn report, content creation represents a true ‘job on the rise’ with creative freelancers skilled in writing, editing, script and screenwriting experiencing a massive 69% growth in the UK in 2020. Enter generative AI (GAI) tools like OpenAI's ChatGPT, Google's Bard and Midjourney revolutionising the game! While AI can churn out copy in a flash, it can't capture the essence of brand identity and social and cultural context like human copywriters. Talented authors, bloggers, screenwriters, and scriptwriters will continue to excel in crafting engaging narratives, exploring complex themes, and evoking genuine emotions that AI simply can't replicate.
Educators and academics: A recent research paper by a group of esteemed professors from NYU, Princeton and UPenn, titled "How Will Language Modelers like ChatGPT Affect Occupations and Industries?" reveals that post-secondary teachers in English language and literature are among the most impacted by AI advancement. Notably, the use of AI a poses challenges to existing thinking around academic integrity and plagiarism. Despite the impact of technology in education, skilled human educators will remain vital to inspiring their learners and fostering critical thinking, interpretation, and analytical skills development.
Publishing: While self-published, entirely AI-generated books and articles certainly pose a potential threat to literary quality and authenticity, algorithms can benefit the publishing industry with contributions to content curation, content translations, personalised marketing and content recommendation systems.
Editing: Editors will need to harness AI tools for efficient manuscript evaluation and streamlined production processes. Algorithms automate nitty-gritty proofreading, grammar and spellchecking, freeing up editors to focus on the more nuanced tasks of discerning contextual meaning and improving style, coherence and tone while preserving the integrity of the written work.
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The Jobs of the Future
The emergence of AI-powered technologies will not only change current jobs, but necessitate the development of entirely new roles which only highly skilled people can fill. Potential jobs of the future for literature and culture graduates and professionals include:
Storytelling Consultant: With the emergence of immersive technologies like virtual and augmented reality, storytelling consultants will blend traditional narrative techniques with interactive and immersive experiences, captivating audiences in new ways.
Data-Driven Cultural Analyst: As data becomes the Holy Grail for understanding audience preferences, data-driven cultural analysts will decode insights, helping organisations tailor their offerings to meet the ever-evolving demands of the masses.
Digital Curator: In the age of information overload, digital curators will emerge as the guides, organising and presenting content in innovative and captivating ways as they lead users through the vast digital landscape.
Content Moderator 2.0: As platforms face extreme content abundance, human intervention will be crucial in developing new strategies and governance frameworks for navigating through a sea of false and misleading content, ensuring accuracy and ethical content dissemination.
Future-proofing Your Career
In order to remain relevant and prepare for the jobs of tomorrow in the literature and culture industry, professionals must pro-actively focus on upskilling in precisely the ways which will make them irreplaceable by technology. Tech savvy is not enough. We must take a long-term view of our career development and actively seek out ways to leverage our human advantage.
Employers today prioritise analytical and creative thinking skills above all others, and these skills are only predicted to grow in importance in these technologically turbulent times (WEF, 2023). Pursuing postgraduate education offers one potential strategic move to develop and enhance these skills in a demonstrable, credible way.
UH Online’s MA in Literature and Culture programme encourages students to develop a critical understanding of literature and related forms of cultural expression within the context of both timeless literary themes and contemporary debates. Central to this online Masters degree is challenging students to develop robust research abilities, with 100% of the research impact in Language and Literature research from UH ranked as world-leading or internationally excellent (3/4*) (Research Excellence Framework, 2021).
The Human Advantage
While AI has undoubtedly sent shockwaves through countless industries, the human elements of creativity and critical thinking inherent in literature and culture careers shield them from complete automation. AI simply cannot fully imitate the depth of human creativity, which gives us an increasingly valuable competitive advantage. According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review,
“one plausible effect of being swamped with synthetic creative outputs is that people will begin to value authentic creativity more again and may be willing to pay a premium for it”
As even the official description of GPT4 admits, GAI, though impressive, has its limitations and may “hallucinate” facts and makes reasoning errors, highlighting how trusted, reliable human sources capable of high-level research and reasoning are likely to become invaluable.
AI is inevitably reshaping the world of work, even in the realm of literature and culture. Luckily, this field demands irreplicable, uniquely human skills which will only become more necessary and more sought-after as the impact of AI continues to grow. Thriving in this context requires proactive efforts to future-proof careers and leverage our competitive human advantage through upskilling in creativity, high-level research, critical thinking, and interpretation skills. AI is here to stay, so it's best to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.
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- Felten, Edward W. and Raj, Manav and Seamans, Robert, How will Language Modelers like ChatGPT Affect Occupations and Industries? (March 1, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4375268 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4375268
- Frankfurter Buchmesse and Gould Finch (2019) https://www.buchmesse.de/files/media/pdf/White_Paper_AI_Publishing_Gould_Finch_2019_EN.pdf