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How to Preserve Content Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Before AI, the content creation process was often slow, tedious, and prone to error. It is impossible to have a variety of data in minutes. Instead, this would require creators to collect and sift through pages of content to find the right information. 

Then came the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that opened the doors to new possibilities for content creation. This enabled businesses to automate processes, generate large volumes of content, and improve productivity.

However, in every innovation, there are limitations that we must be mindful of. For AI content creation, many have raised concerns about content authenticity, originality, and maintaining the human touch. 

So, here’s the question: Will AI tools eventually lead to decreased human involvement and put content integrity at risk?

TL;DR:

  • Relying solely on AI-Produced content will lead to a lack of ethical judgment and finesse
  • Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) support content integrity in the digital age by ensuring accuracy and expertise, tailoring content to the target audience, and infusing industry-specific insights and nuances.
  • The future of content creation is a harmonious coexistence between AI technology and human skills — while prioritizing content integrity.  

Choosing the right approach to content creation

AI tools can help ‌boost business scalability and maximize the impact of content. In doing so, businesses can make more accurate forecasts about future demand and customer behavior. 

Think of AI as a gear in your toolbox. In other words, a tool that you can use to help grease a bumpy workflow (read: when you run out of ideas).

Let’s say you need to identify which content ‌works best with your audience. AI tools can support you by predicting which type of content will most likely receive high audience engagement and boost your sales. 

But, there is a caveat. 

AI tools gain data from machine learning ,gathering information from the internet, and users’ input such as topic ideas and keywords. It learns to answer your questions from trained ‌data that is related to the words you keyed in. 

As a result, the data shared is not 100 percent accurate as the technology cannot determine whether what is produced is correct or wrong for your content — what’s more, keeping it unique and original.

Imagine you are watching a documentary on robots representing ‌AI technology. You see complex codes enabling robots ‌to walk and wave in the same pattern.

However, when the robots are placed in ‌public areas, they will have difficulty understanding the danger of walking through fire or what a strong hand waving could do while small children are nearby because they are not trained to be in the particular scenario. 

In technical terms, AI operates in a specific manner only because a particular code enables it.

This is where we need human intervention.   

The pitfalls of relying solely on AI-produced content

infographic explaining how AI-produced content leads to challenges with content integrity

1. Lack of ethical judgment and finesse

AI tools, while powerful, lack the ability to make ethical decisions or exercise creative finesse in content creation. 

This is largely because morality and values cannot be learned based on training data. In juxtaposition, human understanding of ethics deepens or changes over time through life experiences.

2. Potential for plagiarism and duplicate content

AI models use existing resources to generate new content. This means they use past data to generate content as opposed to producing original content; kind of like refurbishing an old item. This kind of regurgitated content may not only take a long time to get indexed but may also attract penalties from Google. 

3. Loss of brand voice and authenticity

AI-produced text tends to be bland and lack creativity. An example of this is: ‘There is a cat beside an empty bowl.’

Add a human to the mix, and you’re bound to see content with a unique voice and style. To use the same example, a human would write this as: ‘There is an overweight looking cat that puts one of its chubby feet onto an empty bowl — demanding for its food to be served immediately.’

Failing to develop a brand voice will make your brand difficult to recognize, as the audience can’t differentiate you from other brands or, worse, can’t remember you at all. 

The need for content integrity in the digital age

In this age of a massive influx of data, authenticity, and emotional connection are the keys to creating memorable and engaging experiences. 

Ergo, content that treasures its authenticity and has a strong emotional connection with the audience helps to build trust.

Content integrity is particularly crucial in health, safety, education, finance, and legal topics as it impacts the audience’s lives. The content must be accurate and truthful as a tiny information error can lead to a tragedy, such as listing a criminal hotspot as the best place to travel or suggesting a supplement with fatal ingredients.

The more you produce content that is not accurate and prefer to take it easy on research, the more likely you’ll lose your audience, tarnish your brand identity, and get into a legal mess if you take content integrity lightly.

Striking the right balance: AI technology as an enabler, not a replacement

What would the world look like if smartphones were never invented? 

It would be difficult to call for help during an emergency, impossible to readily capture photos of your loved ones, and you might have spent hours on the road reaching a new location. 

Smartphones are one of many technologies that complement human ability by supporting your lifestyle with essential information in one place that allows you to live life conveniently and efficiently. 

Hybrid content creation does the same for your workflow; it blends human expertise and ‌AI technology. Utilizing AI tools to their full potential, in conjunction with human capabilities, can help companies reap the rewards of AI while maintaining genuineness, credibility, and creativity.

Defining subject matter experts (SMEs)

Subject Matter Experts are individuals who possess deep knowledge, expertise, and experience in specific industries, fields, or subjects. They are authorities in their respective domains, and their insights are invaluable in ensuring content accuracy, relevance, and quality. 

For instance, a software engineer with experience in developing mobile apps, a teacher with experience teaching a particular subject, or a financial advisor with experience helping clients save for retirement.

Here’s how SMEs help preserve content integrity: 

Ensuring accuracy and expertise

AI tools and SMEs close the gap between what AI can provide and what readers truly desire, thereby ensuring precise and pertinent content.

SMEs play a vital role in verifying the accuracy of the content — they possess up-to-date knowledge and insights, allowing them to fact-check information, validate claims, and ensure that content aligns with industry trends and developments. Their expertise lends credibility and authority to the content. 

Tailoring content to the target audience

SMEs have a deep understanding of the target audience — they know their preferences, pain points, and the language that resonates with them. With SMEs, businesses can create content that speaks directly to the target audience’s needs, which in return, enhances engagement and relevance.

SMEs’ ‌perspectives will generate better conversion rates, reach, impressions, and engagement. They can support in creating high-quality content, help target content to the right audience, and give advice on designing more engaging content.

Infusing industry-specific insights and nuances

Would you rather read a piece on how to grow your finances by Warren Buffett or an AI-generated one? 

SMEs are the (successful) living proof of the audience’s current struggles, which makes the content believable and worthy of acknowledging, thus, removing concern over its integrity.

They bring industry-specific insights and nuances to content creation as they understand their domains’ intricacies, challenges, and opportunities. Through leveraging their expertise, businesses can provide valuable insights, practical advice, and thought-provoking perspectives to their audience.

The importance of editorial skills in content creation

Editorial skills are crucial in content creation as they help ‌‌polish your AI-generated drafts to ensure that the content is accurate, clear, and engaging.

Here’s how editors ensure that content meets the needs of the target audience. 

1. Critical eye for editing and proofreading 

Content creators can review, edit, and proofread content to ensure clarity, coherence, and grammatical accuracy. They can identify and rectify any errors or inconsistencies, enhancing the overall quality of the content.

2. Creative finesse and tailoring content to the target audience

SME-produced content brings creativity and empathy to content creation by tailoring it to suit the target audience’s preferences.

For instance, a news writer may use empathetic language and sensitive imagery to avoid causing further distress when writing about a tragedy and a brand storyteller may utilize imagination and understanding to create an impactful story for the intended audience.

They understand that their readers are likely to feel a range of emotions, so they use empathetic language, stirring up emotions and creating a close bond between the brand and its audience.

3. Ethical judgment and compliance with legal guidelines

Ethics and legal issues can’t be detected through data or coding. They have to be learned, understood, and, at times, our intuition can hint when the information is inaccurate or contains illegal elements such as copyright issues, crime-related information, or defamation. 

Strategies for ensuring content integrity in the hybrid era

Prepare for hybrid content creation to maintain content integrity

  1. Identify suitability applications for AI integration—own your content and determine which areas need support from the AI or SMEs. Decide on areas that you are confident in taking charge‌ of. Identify your business pain points and think about how AI could improve your content accuracy, support your content creation efficiency, and your decision-making process. 

    Let’s say you are in an e-commerce business and might face issues with inventory, marketing, and customer service. Look for ‌AI tools to optimize inventory, personalize marketing campaigns, and offer 24/7 customer service. Identify suitability applications for AI integration—Own your content and determine which areas need support from the AI or SMEs. Decide on areas that you are confident in taking charge‌ of.
  1. Develop rules and procedures for governance—Identify ‌the goals of your content creation strategy; what do you want to achieve through your content? Do you want to entertain, inform, or educate your audience and then develop the rules and procedures for governance to accomplish those goals? Ensure that everyone involved in content creation follows the rules and procedures and is aware of their responsibilities to prevent issues affecting content integrity—communicate clearly.

    For instance, as a content leader, emphasize ‌the tone and emotions you want the audience to feel when interacting with your content with your team to achieve mutual understanding. Set a clear standard operating procedure (SOP) for your team to understand the flow from start to end. Delegate who’ll track the content’s performance and who’ll optimize the content for better SEO ranking to ensure all content is well taken care of. Develop rules and procedures for governance—ensure that everyone involved in content creation follows the rules and procedures to prevent issues affecting content integrity.
  1. Prioritize data security and privacy safeguards—Assess AI tools’ security and privacy features and ensure they align with data protection regulations by developing protocols to protect sensitive information and user data throughout content creation. 

    Spend time thinking about the risks of your data being misused, lost, or stolen, such as employee error, ‌natural disasters, ‌and malicious attacks. Make it a habit to monitor your data security and privacy practices regularly to identify any areas that need improvement.

    Another thing you can do to ensure your data is protected is to stay aware of the risks of using cloud-based services, as they’ll expose you to new security risks. Use a data breach notification service to notify your customers and employees if your data is compromised, and keep your software up to date, including security patches that help protect your systems from vulnerabilities.

    Lack of security will cause data breaches by unauthorized individuals, content misuse, and trust loss.

Select AI tools with content integrity in mind

  1. Evaluate AI tools’ security and privacy features—Prioritize security and privacy when evaluating AI tools; look for tools that protect your data and are transparent about how they use it.
  1. Ensure compliance with data protection regulations—Stay up-to-date on data protection regulations and choose AI tools that comply with them. It will help you minimize risks and legal complications.
  1. Opt for AI tools with transparent training data sources—Look for AI tools trained on diverse and reliable data sources to help reduce the risk of biased or inappropriate content generation. 

Incorporate human expertise into AI-produced content

  1. Polish and edit AI-produced content—Create unique and original content by adding your personality, desired tone, and emotions. Verify facts by comparing the data with other sources or by consulting a subject matter expert.

    Check for grammar and spelling errors and clarity through proofreading, get a second eye to scan your content for inaccuracy, and reflect on others’ feedback. You can also use a grammar checker for consistency and brevity and use a style guide to ensure the content matches your brand’s tone.

    Polishing and editing AI-produced content can take some time to ensure the content is of the highest quality.
  1. Add a human touch for authenticity and originality—Personalize your content to fit your audience’s characteristics, such as using terms or slang that your audience understands.

    Craft stories and add humor (where appropriate) and visuals as techniques to make your content engaging and pleasant to read or watch. Share your experiences, opinions, and vulnerabilities to make your content feel more authentic and relatable to your audience.

    Conduct your research and share your insights with your audience that add value to your content. Be consistent with your content style so that your audience will remember you.
  1. Leverage SMEs’ knowledge—Contact the SMEs that can provide additional insights and value to your content. SMEs’ support in content creation is essential when you want to add impactful resources to your content through professional views on a particular topic. 

    You can invite SMEs to contribute to your content in various ways, such as interviewing them, having them review your content, and collaborating on your content project.
  2. Bridging the gap between AI and audience expectations by providing insights helps identify potentially valuable content areas where ‌AI-generated content may fall short.

Incorporate human expertise into AI-generated content

  1. Polish and edit AI-produced content—Content creators use their expertise and creativity to polish and edit AI-generated content to ensure that it is accurate, coherent, and on-brand, which helps make content more engaging and relatable.
  1. Add a human touch for authenticity and originality—Creativity, storytelling skills, and perspectives make content more authentic and original. This can be presented through sharing personal experiences, insights, or opinions.

Leveraging SMEs’ knowledge—Bridging the gap between AI and audience expectations by providing insights helps identify potentially valuable content areas where ‌AI-generated content may fall short.

The future of content creation: striving for harmonious coexistence

Businesses today must find ways to create content that coexists harmoniously with AI while being mindful of the potential negative impacts of your work. This helps businesses preserve content integrity and streamlines the content creation process.

Ethical guidelines and best practices for AI-assisted content creation

Establish industry-wide ethical guidelines and best practices that ensure responsible AI usage, data privacy, and content integrity. These guidelines should focus on transparency, accountability, and the responsible use of AI tools in content creation.

This ensures that AI-generated content is accurate and reliable, promotes fairness and non-discrimination in content, protects users from harm, and respects AI users’ privacy.

Continued innovation and advancements in AI technology

AI tools for content creation are relatively new and need support to generate better data, such as learning and adapting over time and developing a powerful natural language processing (NLP) engine.

Stay abreast of the latest advancements in AI technology, particularly in the context of content creation, and embrace innovations that further enhance content integrity, such as AI tools that provide more precise explanations of their content generation processes. 

Embracing the hybrid approach as the new standard

There is a very promising future for AI, though. Particularly something known as multimodal capabilities is to understand and generate content across multiple modalities, such as text, images, audio, and video.

In other words, if there is a bet to be made, it’s that hybrid content creation is not going anywhere. 

Recognize hybrid content creation approaches as the new standard for achieving content integrity and quality. Embrace the collaborative efforts of AI technology and human expertise to create content that clicks with audiences while maintaining authenticity and originality. 

And in a world where machines are doing the heavy lifting in content creation comes the importance of content integrity. To strike a balance on this scale, businesses can harness the efficiency of AI and infuse content with the creativity, editorial skills, and ethical judgment of human content creators. 

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