ChatGPT vs. human copywriters: Who wins in the end? 

AUCKLAND, New Zealand—As a writer (copywriting, public relations and fiction), I am excited by the advent of AI as a tool, but I am also scared.  

Will I and other writers be surplus to needs in four or five years? Is this the end? The Writer’s Guild of America thinks so, as evidenced by ongoing writer strikes in the US. It begs the question: Is AI good enough to generate your website copy, blogs, press releases, case studies and other collateral? 


Google says it is working on algorithms to counter and penalise AI writing. According to a Google Office Hours video, Duy Nguyen from Google’s search quality team mentioned that Google possesses algorithms designed to address instances of AI-generated plagiarism. These algorithms can “demote” websites that scrape content from other sites. Now remember, AI relies on the Internet to build its content. It is not yet capable of human reasoning. 

Proponents argue that AI does not ‘technically’ plagiarise—a technically dubious argument.  

It is a fact that AI uses pre-existing information (generated by human writers) already published on the Internet. AI cannot function nor generate fresh ideas and original content outside the resources provided by the Internet. 

For example, I wrote a blog for a coworking space client that draws a parallel between their hot desking service and the origin of the expression’ hot seat,’ which some say refers to an old airline term where the relief pilot takes over the captain’s chair (already warm from the captain’s butt)—AI such as ChatGPT are incapable of making this creative leap. 

The parallel between an airline hot seat and a hot desk is based on the concept of occupying a temporary workplace. I used this metaphor to make the blog more exciting and engaging. A couple of the AI’s I used to test my theory (with detailed prompts) couldn’t see a connection between what they believed was the electric chair and a hot desk. 

For the moment at least, I would suggest that ChatGPT and other AI’s like it are good average writers. Their job is to provide accurate, and information-rich content based on the inputs scraped from the Internet.  

Is data-fed writing a match for human thought? 

Currently, AI relies on human-generated data and is incapable of original, creative thought. It sees the world in terms of data and cannot engage in the high-level ideation offered by professional writers or even the artful mastery of language. But technology is evolving at an alarming rate, so who knows in five or six years?  

However, there is one ultimately—I believe—decisive factor that good writers have over AI; that one thing against which AI cannot compete. 

“We propose that the ability of humans to identify and create patterns led to the unique aspects of human cognition and culture as a complex emergent dynamic system consisting of the following human traits: Patterning, social organisation beyond that of the nuclear family that emerged with the control of fire, rudimentary set theory or categorisation and spoken language that co-emerged, the ability to deal with information overload, conceptualisation, imagination, abductive reasoning, invention, art, religion, mathematics and science.”—Thinking in Patterns and the Pattern of Human Thought as Contrasted with AI Data Processing: Robert Logan and Marlie Tandoc, University of Toronto. 

And this is the human writer’s checkmate. 

Exceptional writing, in its truest form, is borne of human experience.  

AI can never be a flesh and blood, feeling human being. It may become a higher intelligence that is smarter, faster and more efficient. But it can never be human, and to be a writer is to peer into the heart of what makes us human, to unravel the innards of the human soul for us all to ponder.  

Yes, even when it comes to your blogs or website copy, because, as we all know, the essence of exceptional copywriting is to win not just the minds, but more importantly, the hearts of your audience. 

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