I look for 6 things now that clearly indicate that AI generated content was NOT edited.
It’s important to note that while these indicators can help identify unedited AI-generated content, they may not always be foolproof. Some AI models have improved significantly and can produce more polished and coherent content that mimics human writing. Therefore, it’s crucial to exercise caution and thoroughly review any content to ensure its quality and authenticity.
- Misplaced #, emojis, or icons. Sometimes, when you copy and paste content from an AI, you may come across misplaced # symbols or emojis. These are usually used to identify bold print or other formatting instructions. If you see a random # symbol in the middle of a sentence or on both ends, it means that the content hasn’t been edited properly.
- Same sentence structure in each chapter, subchapter, and paragraphs. It’s crucial to understand that the writing style of humans is characterized by a variety of sentence structures within each chapter, subchapter, and paragraph. This diversity in sentence construction is what makes human writing unique and engaging. On the contrary, machine-generated content tends to follow a uniform sentence structure throughout, which can make it seem monotonous and less natural.
- Frequent use of phrases such as “in conclusion” or “in summary” can appear out of place in human writing. While this may be a natural process for machine-generated text, it is not something commonly seen in human-authored content.
- Repeating the topic multiple times. When you see the Chapter Title contains the topic word for word, then the subchapter repeats the exact same words, then the first sentence begins with the same words, you know this hasn’t been edited. Results are getting better so this isn’t happening as much as it was early on. I still see it every day.
- Absence of personal idiosyncrasies. Every writer has a style, tone, or voice. This becomes obvious in the first few paragraphs. AI generated content also has a tone that ranges from sterile to strained. If the individual writer’s style isn’t apparent in the first few paragraphs the reader will conclude the content wasn’t created/edited by the writer.
- Lack of attribution. This isn’t as obvious, but most AI programs provide no attribution to original source material. Good writers recognize their sources. Great writers frequently quote and credit them.
When I find any of these indicators I’m ready to move on. If the writer doesn’t care to enough to edit their content after AI generation then why should I bother to read it.
Failing to edit is failing as a writer. We should embrace AI with every fiber of our being. We shouldn’t flaunt with failure to edit properly. Nothing will ever eliminate the need for editing.
Imagine putting your name on content that was machine generated for you, then you meet someone who questions something you’ve published. They are fascinated by the point you made in chapter 3. They want to know more about how you came to that conclusion. What thought process lead you to that position? Suddenly you’re lost.
Authenticity lost immediately. You’ve just been exposed.
I see a flood of this in the near future. There is no excuse to sloppy content creation.
Recently I saw a promotion that read like this: “Are you prepared to step into the spotlight as an instant publishing sensation, all while sidestepping the challenges of research, outlining, and writing?”
There are advantages of research, outlining, and writing. Yes, you might be able to skip those essential steps and create a blog post. You can’t skip them and create knowledge. I want to read content from a writer that is writing from a full head and a full heart. If they can’t bother to edit their “writing” then why in heaven’s name should I feel obligated to read it.
I can’t leave without talking about attribution. Researching your writing introduces you to thoughts not your own, thought leaders you don’t know, and thought processes you don’t currently possess. AI scrapes content from its database without attributing the sources of that data.
You lose the value of the knowledge gained by discovering those sources. Using AI should make you smarter. It should never be a way to profit from lack of effort.
Personal Note: I generate hundreds of thousands of words every month using a variety of AI tools. I read, research, and edit everything I publish. In most cases, this involves at the minium 3 reads. The greatest inspiration in my career is the book Writing to Learn by William Zinsser.
I write to learn!