Agency Culture Copywriting Marketing

What if AI isn't writing's big bad wolf?


By Natalie Moores, Co-founder

January 12, 2024 | 9 min read

Natalie Moores sells words for a living. She’s growing tired of the narrative that the AI wolf will eat her lunch. And then her.


It started last year. Every woman and her cockapoo started telling me to use ChatGPT ‘for research,’ and my instant reaction wasn’t an even ‘no.’

This might not be the sexiest thing to say in 2024… but I’m really, really scared of AI. I’m talking hairs on the back of my neck standing up. AI is the monster lurking under my bed.

But why?

I’m no technophobe. I’m from the generation who grew up with a landline phone and without the internet, but I’ve welcomed many a new tech with open arms before (RIP MSN Messenger).

Not this time. You might think that it’s a natural reaction as a creative person. As someone who writes for a living, I don’t fancy a machine with a cognitive function about 4 million Beroccas higher than mine taking over my career.

Understandable, but not quite it. So, I did some more digging. And I found that my resistance lies not in the technology itself but in the narrative of inevitability around it.

The whole: ‘Well, that’s it, we’ve only gone and done it now. Game over kids. We’re finished’ extremism of it all.

Is everyone forgetting that we literally built this with our own very human hands before we left it to its own potentially destructive devices?

According to ‘techno-optimism,’ total annihilation is... unlikely. So, rather than burrowing down into the snuggly duvet of denial, I have been undertaking AI exposure therapy. Thinking about how can we make the supposed inevitable less implosive and more hopeful.

Because there’s a pattern here. New tech emerges. The Doomsday clock gets new batteries, and the media proclaims that this is the end of the world as we know it. Everyone panics, then eventually, the new tech just ends up rubbing along quite nicely next to the old stuff.

And on and on we go.

Here are three of the biggest ones I could find…

1. The Kindle will be the death of books

When the Kindle first appeared in 2007, it sold out within 5.5 hours. That was at the hefty price tag of $399. This huge uptake prompted the technological crystal ball holders at the time to immediately call time of death on the book.

But what these fearmongers failed to appreciate… was how much people bloody love books. The irony of the rise of ‘BookTok’ spiking book sales to show them off online is not lost on anyone. ‘In a poll of more than 2,000 16- to 25-year-olds, almost 59% said that BookTok had helped them discover a passion for reading.’

These days, print books still dominate overall book sales (over $6.2bn), but e-books and audiobook sales steadily rise ($3bn and £2.5bn, respectively). This tells us that things aren’t as binary as we were led to believe then and that well-thumbed paperbacks are (thankfully) here to stay.

2. Social media will be the death of the real world

During the pandemic, as if we didn’t all have enough to deal with, some shouty people (and Mark Zuckerberg) started saying that we’ll end up swapping the horrible business of going outside and instead exclusively socializing online as gorgeous avatars.

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But the undeniable lifeline that social media provided in lockdown came with a cost. One we seem far less willing to pay now we’re back out in the big, bright post-Covid world.

We’re now seeing a pushback against posting. ‘For the average user, there are now just too few incentives to share their thoughts with the world, and quite a lot of reasons not to’ and now even ‘brands ha[ve] all but given up trying to use social media as channels for sharing or discussion.’

Instead, according to Insider Intelligence, social media user growth slowed to 2.4% in 2023. And while the pandemic may have briefly fooled us into thinking otherwise, there is only so much time that users want to spend on the platforms.

Just like in the dating world, the power dynamic has shifted, and the platforms we were once so desperate to impress with our gazing eyes now resort to prodding us with notifications to wish your ex a happy birthday. The ick has entered the chat.

3. Netflix will be the death of culture

I remember seeing a quote from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who named Netflix’s biggest competitor. Amazon Prime? BBC iPlayer? No… it was human sleep. Horrifying.

That’s why I was delighted to read that 55% of those booking tickets for the new Stranger Things stage show have either never or rarely been to the theatre before (Dominic Maxwell, The Sunday Times). Could it be that instead of becoming more and more committed to completing Netflix, a whole new swathe of people are unexpectedly emerging, blinking from behind the pixels to go and do what people did in the olden days, see things, do things, feel things.

Streaming platforms have provided a way to sate our ever-increasing thirst for high-quality content. We want more, we want it now, and we want it to be really f*cking good. But no, we do not want it to replace a trip to the theatre.

Baptists, bootleggers and the bewildered in-between

I think what we can all hope for in this big, scary, shouty, continued conversation is that we find a way to maintain a level head.

That we can question how much is truth and how much is plain scaremongering.

The news cycle is known for many things, but subtlety and nuance are not at the top of that list. Clickbait headlines, simultaneously provocative and reductive arguments, are all intentionally selected to do exactly what all brands are trying to do: get attention.

How many of the naysayers are baptists determined to rigidly cling to the status quo as it is today, and how many are bootleggers capitalizing on an opportunity to inflate the severity of the problem to peddle their own commercialized salvation?

So let’s all take a nice deep breath, not make plans to bin off your creative teams in favor of bots just yet, and remember that there’s probably more room at the table than we think for us all to play nicely together.

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