Now an AI Manual of Style. Too Bad Chicago

October 20, 2020

Writing is fluid. As a form of communication, writing evolves because it reflects the zeitgeist. The current zeitgeist is shaped by advancing technology and the development of artificial intelligence. AI algorithms are still in their infancy, but they are already shaping society. The Next Web explores how AI will influence writing in the article, “Why AI Writing Assistants Are The Next Generation Of Style Guides.”

Style guides influence the writing process as much as the zeitgeist. Whether or not style guides are beneficial depend on the writer’s attitude (most view them as a necessary evil). Differences between styles are arbitrary and all writer’s have a personal preference.

In the analog days, style guides were limited to printed manuals and (as they continue to be today) used for academia and journalists. It was frustrating locating information on how to properly cite specific sources. Indices were not always helpful.

With the implementation of writing software, style guides became automated. The addition of spelling and grammar checks improved the writing process. Electronic versions of style guides included search boxes, which made it easier to locate the correct information, then plagiarism and style checkers added another level of helpful complication.

The newest writing tool is the AI writing assistant. The most popular models are Grammarly and Writer. AI writing assistants include all the features of the above, plus they act like a digital editor. Past writing software detected grammar and spelling mistakes, but they never learned anything beyond the original code. AI writing assistants are programmed to learn with NLP and sentimental analysis.

Using AI writing assistants are as simple as using spell check, plus they are a major upgrade. It makes writing a more passive, yet more active experience:

“The style guide is a thing we do rather than a thing we deliver. Today our responsibilities include managing users, tweaking settings, creating feedback loops, troubleshooting, and reporting. The style guide site as we know it today will change. Publishing a site for style isn’t needed. They may morph to richer, descriptive frameworks, knowledge sharing, and community. Instead, we think about the relationship between it and the writing assistant. You don’t have to know guidelines or remember where to look for them. If the writing assistant provides just about everything proactively, how much do we really need to know? You can debate whether basic competency is required as a user. With technology, is style falling the way of spelling and handwriting? Don’t freak out.”

Experienced writers will love AI writing assistants, because they act like an editor. Others might find them annoying, but teach them the basics in the old way and then they will love the AI.

Whitney Grace, October 20, 2020


Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta