How Editors Can Use AI to Work More Efficiently

By Rachel Miles, SD/PEN Member

More and more, you might be starting to hear about AI. For a long time, artificial intelligence seemed limited to the world of science fiction. But now we’re hearing about AI being in the tools we use every day. It might seem a bit scary to think about AI doing tasks that we’re used to. It might seem like AI is going to steal our jobs.

In reality, many aspects of AI are still limited to science fiction. Artificial intelligence as it is today is not true “intelligence.” It’s fancy computing programming that can do more than it used to do before. But it’s not intelligent. It cannot think on its own. The way an AI performs is limited to what you teach it to do.

A quick breakdown of artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence systems mimic the way a human would perform a task. Think about it; humans created artificial intelligence, after all. A particular methodology of AI is machine learning, which involves showing an algorithm a lot of examples rather than providing a set of rigid instructions. By showing examples instead of strict instructions, the machine can work outside of the limited parameters you might have given it. If you’ve ever given someone instructions, you know it’s hard to account for anything. Machine learning learns by example.

Another area of artificial intelligence is natural language processing. In natural language processing, machines are programmed to understand and process human speech and perform useful tasks, such as machine translation, sentiment analysis, essay scoring, and improved writing. In short, language has a lot of rules, so the rules of language can be taught to a computer.

How AI helps improve customer support

Have you ever tried to use Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana, or any of the many voice assistants out there? Have you ever tried to interact with a chatbot on a website? What about calling a company only to get that robotic list of menu options? You may have noticed that you don’t get a particularly helpful answer if you don’t use the exact phrasing that the voice assistant expects to hear. Sometimes, you get an exasperating answer that makes you wish you could talk to a human!

That said, voice assistants, chatbots, and even super annoying phone robots have saved companies a lot of money and time. Think about it, if you work on a support team and you get flooded with phone calls and messages every day. Would you want to answer every single frequently asked question that comes in? Or would you rather answer the more challenging questions you don’t get every day? I don’t know about you, but I’d get pretty bored after answering the same question 15 times! That’s what AI can do. It can help you eliminate repetitive tasks.

How can AI help editors and writers?

There are several AI tools that can help you out and make your job easier! Let’s think about AI as an assistant that speeds up your life. With AI, you can have a proofreading assistant, manuscript analyzing assistant, writing assistant, and marketing assistant.

I get the sense that bringing up tools such as Grammarly and Hemingway might be controversial in the editing community! I completely understand why they might be. For those not as familiar with these tools, Grammarly and Hemingway are proofreading tools that utilize AI to help writers check their work. Some tools actually help you generate content and write for you. I’ve written about the best AI writing tools for general use and one specifically targeted toward writing novels.

Final thoughts

Like any other productivity tool, artificial intelligence is a tool that you can leverage to do your work more efficiently. If you use it correctly, it can be a creative brainstorming partner, overcome writer’s block, produce professionally written content, and publish faster. The main advantage of using AI is that it frees up your time which you can use to focus on other tasks while the software does all the work for you.


About the Author: A self-proclaimed nerd of all trades, Rachel Miles loves to learn about everything that crosses her path. In addition to being an avid learner herself, Rachel also has a passion for helping others shine their voice through her research, writing, and editing skills. In her spare time, you might catch her reading, drawing, or traveling. Get in touch via her member profile and her blog which you can find at www.SDPEN.com.

One thought to “How Editors Can Use AI to Work More Efficiently”

  1. In addition to Grammarly (which I know a bit about) and Hemingway (which I know nothing about), there is PerfectIt, a consistency checker I learned about at an SD/PEN meeting when we were still able to meet in person. And yesterday I attended a webinar about how PerfectIt integrates the Chicago Manual of Style so that one pass through PerfectIt includes a review of the content through CMOS as well.

    I agree that these tools do not replace copy editors or proofreaders, but they can speed up the work tremendously.

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