Photo by Ryan Snaadt on Unsplash
Photo by Ryan Snaadt on Unsplash
  • Business Insider South Africa came across an advert for an AI programme claiming to be able to write copy – we knew had to test it to see if our jobs were safe.
  • They call it Jarvis and the sales pitch goes that it can help 'end writers block' and generate original, SEO optimised, non-plagiarised copy for email, ads, websites, listings, and blogs within minutes. 
  • The results took a lot more work than we thought. 
  • In the end, we got something that was workable. 
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za

In today's ever changing, fast-paced world you never know when you could end up becoming redundant. Case in point artificial intelligence that is currently revolutionising everyday businesses from insurance companies to SARS.

But when we at Business Insider South Africa came across an advert for an AI programme claiming to be able to write copy – we knew we had to see if our jobs were safe.

They call it Jarvis and the sales pitch goes that it can help 'end writers block' and generate original, SEO optimised, non-plagiarised copy for email, ads, websites, listings, and blogs within minutes. 

This means that it should be able to give you starting block from which you, as the writer, can add your own voice to after. Saving you time and money coming up with witty content from scratch.

Previously known as Conversion.ai, the tool was developed by a group of developers in Austin, United States, that worked on other software products like Payfunnels and Proof. And it fits among a rising number of similar AI copywriter programmes like Grammarly,  GoCopy, Rtyr, or CopyMatic.

So, we decided to put Jarvis through its paces. The task was simple: sign up for Jarvis on a five-day trail package and get it to write an article about how awesome it is and why it can revolutionise journalism writing.

The results took a lot more work than we thought, but in the end, we got something that was workable…although it lacked a bit of life.  

Here's what we found:

Singing up for the program was pretty darn easy. Plug in your login details, leave some banking details and swoosh you get a five-day trail to use the platform. If after five days, you weren't happy you can always close off the account.

First impressions – the level of choice was overwhelming, but in an exciting fun way.

Source Jarvis.
After plugging in your information, Jarvis gets to work generating copy. Source Jarvis.

We expected to hit the ground running. But, after scrolling through dozens of templates and ways in which the tool has been trained to generate content – a mixed basked of emails, perfect headlines, blog posts, LinkedIn profiles, and more. We opted to follow the advised bootcamp.

It proved to be a good choice, as the company spends the next hour teaching you how Jarvis has been 'taught' to generate copy, as well as how you can too.

You need to have a good idea about what you want your article to say - this includes having fact and figures on hand.

Source Jarvis.
The boot camp is a good way to start. Source Jarvis.

Template tools help guide you along with the process. Prompting you to provide keywords and a general idea of what you want to write.

Jarvis takes this information pulling it in to sentences. We found the sentences to be vague and flowery. The more information you feed Jarvis the more interesting the content.

It was painfully obvious that if you don't provide a solid framework, the AI can go off on a tangent and start repeating itself.  

A major downer was finding out Jarvis is more of a writing assistant than being factually accurate.

Source Jarvis.
The tool allows for various templates. We opted to use a long format blog template. Source Jarvis.

When we signed up, we imagined Jarvis would be smart enough to import content from around the web that was relevant to a topic at hand.

We imagined it would pull in quotes from press releases and news articles. We saw it cutting down painful time spent researching relevant topical information. To a small degree it can generate general information, but if you are looking for it to do the heavy lifting and do your research for you, think again.

Second what is generated isn't true. You must go through that text carefully to correct it. This is particularly relevant because Jarvis' base library was made in 2019. Any current affairs after that it it isn't aware of like the Covid-19 pandemic.

But its designers say this should not affect its creative output, because the library itself is sourced from about 10% of the published internet – that's millions of blog posts, Reddit threads, social media posts, newspapers, and websites.

You need to consider the costs.

Source Jarvis.
Pricing plans on the website. Source Jarvis.

Jarvis' lowest package will cost you around R430 ($29) on a monthly payment option. For this you get a package of 20,000 words per month written by AI.

For a South African business this could be too pricey when not all the content that is generated is usable. When we generated our 500 word-Jarvis article (pasted below) it took almost 2,500 words worth of AI generated content to make.

From a cost perspective you would basically only generate eight articles a month.

The larger R1,800 ($119) a month Boss Mode package allows for unlimited words – you would need to write a lot of articles to cover the cost of investment.

What we did like was how fast it generated copy and it was certainly creative.

Source Jarvis.
We asked Jarvis to make an entire article for us: generating a headline all the way through to paragraphs and a conclusion. Source Jarvis.

We can totally see Jarvis being a handy tool for a writer looking to get the creative juices flowing.

Jarvis is a great starting block from which to jump into a story and get writing. We found the 'perfect headline' and the 'write a blog introduction' templates as being great tools.

It does all this in a short space of time and with a variety of options. All you need to do is change a few keywords and add some new text and a completely different version pops out within seconds.

While some of the copy can err on the side of generic, its worth spending a couple of days trying it out for yourself to see if it will work for you.

Here's what Jarvis wrote, you can decide if our jobs are safe:

We hired an AI to write this article for us: how Business Insider South Africa used artificial intelligence machine Jarvis to create a story about the use of artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way.

What was once the stuff of science fiction is now in many homes and businesses, automating tasks to make everyday life easier.

Today, AI is in our smartphones, cars and now even used to write articles.

This is a perfect example of how artificial intelligence can help you write an article. Business Insider South Africa, deployed Jarvis, an artificial intelligence machine writer, to create this article.

Jarvis claims that it can help anyone create an article using data and keywords. This means it can write about any topic – as long as there is enough data to pull from, such as Tweets or Google search results.

The only requirements are that the articles must be at least 400 words in length and it will not take on jobs for people who want content written about prostitution.

You may, in fact, create entire blog entries, books, marketing campaigns, and other things using just a few basic prompts - entirely automatically.

In only seconds you can have an article written from scratch by this advanced AI system - without any actual human intervention. With over 400 templates to choose from you won't even need to do any thinking; just pick one and hit ‘create’.

They say it can help combating writers block. Cutting out the time sitting in front of your computer and wondering what you are going to write.

But its not as easy as it looks.

First off you need to know the AI doesn't really write the article for you, it simply pulls information from data and puts together an article.

The base training was completed at the end of 2019. Jarvis didn't learn about current events after January 2020, so he doesn't know COVID-19 or the new Star Wars film.

Jarvis has read the internet, but because he has been trained to write in a certain way, he places more emphasis on innovation rather than facts. As a result, you'll frequently find Jarvis producing claims that aren't true. It's not yet advanced enough to be the only writer on staff, but it does show what AI can do.

AI is for now, only as good as the data it has to work with – which means you still need a team of writers. And we know that writing an article isn’t always easy - but it's still possible enough to be able to make your own stories using this AI writer bot.

There is nothing stopping you from getting your own articles written by an advanced artificial intelligence system and sharing them on your website or blog.

The possibilities are endless! But what does this mean for authors? What about bloggers? Is there any hope left for journalists? Or will they all lose their jobs once super-intelligent robots take over human language completely in the very near future?!

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