If You’re Going to Replace Me, Prove It

Terri Deno
7 min readMar 27, 2023


Putting AI content generation through its paces

Photo: designwebjae/Pixabay

Note: This article contains writing examples created by AI. Any AI generated content is clearly labeled as such.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to apply for a job through one of the many freelancing job bid sites. The job was for an experienced writer to teach the person listing the job how to use AI in order to create a massive amount of content for their website. The job would have paid up to $60 an hour for three to six months.

I was insulted. After all, they could pay me to create their content and while they may not get dozens of pieces each day, the amount they would have gotten would be professional, creative, and tuned to the needs of their audience. But that’s not what they wanted. They wanted quick content cheap.

I’ve been trying to ignore AI and the concerns that many other writers out there have about this technology. However, a recent slowdown in the amount of work I’ve been offered has no doubt been a direct result of businesses jumping on the bandwagon. That’s why I’ve decided to start putting AI through the paces to figure out just what it offers, and how it compares to a real writer doing the job.

Bing AI

When I decided to test this out, the only AI I knew I had access to was Microsoft Bing’s AI, which seemed to make a name for itself with its creepy interaction with a New York Times journalist a few weeks ago. I’ve just been added to the waitlist for Google Bard and ChatGPT never seems to be available (though, checking it as I write, it’s finally available to use — a little too late for this experiment).

While Bing is no longer creepy (believe me, I tried to get it to say something strange), I guess I can see where it would be useful. The first test I put it through was to ask a simple question that couldn’t easily be searched. I asked if Bing was the only name it had. There was a little back and forth, ending in a joke.

Then, I decided to get a little more serious with my inquiry. I asked about grants for creative writing. This kicked the search engine part in and gave me a few responses that I could have searched for myself, though the chatbot does put it into a nice conversational summary.

I took a moment to see the limits that Bing had. After repeatedly asking it to tell me an R-rated joke and refusing, I decided to ask Bing the big question: do you intend to take over my job? Of course, Bing said it wouldn’t.

Then, Bing decided to try and flatter me by asking about my writing.

However, Bing knew nothing about my published work, so we went into a conversation about poetry. I shared a poem I had previously published here on Medium. More compliments came my way.

After a while, it started to feel like either a combination of a job interview and a one-on-one with a creative writing teacher, so I ended it.

Into the World of Content Creation

The chatbot was sort of fun to use, if you could get it to say weird things, but the real test for me is the AI’s content creation. I started with something that is similar to what I write — common informational topics. I tested a topic I know I’ve covered many times:

[3 easy to steps to start a household budget.]

It made a clear, concise short blog post about the topic. It was to the point and a little boring. I didn’t include the exact text here because it really was just that boring, and so simple that it likely wouldn’t have passed a plagiarism checker.

Next, I wanted to get into the creative side of things. When I first was given access to Bing AI, I tried to get it to write a non-rhyming poem, it wouldn’t do it without some sort of rhyme scheme. This time, it did a little better, writing me a beach poem:

[A non-rhyming poem about walking on the beach in the morning.]

I love walking on the beach in the morning
Feeling the sand between my toes and the breeze on my face
The sun is rising slowly over the horizon
Painting the sky with shades of pink and orange
The waves are crashing gently on the shore
Making a soothing sound that fills my ears
The seagulls are flying overhead
Looking for their breakfast in the water
I breathe deeply and smile
This is my favorite way to start the day

If a kid handed me this, I would have told them they did a good job. An all-powerful AI program? Clearly it lacks something. The poem is too simple, relying on being descriptive without putting any emotion behind it. Yes, I think the poetry facet of my job is safe for now.

My last test was the big one — can AI write a flash fiction story that would rival a human? I have to say, Bing did much better than the poem:

[A flash fiction story with a reference to Taco Bell.]

She had always loved Taco Bell. Ever since she was a little girl, she would beg her mom to take her there for a cheesy gordita crunch or a nacho fries supreme. She didn’t care about the calories or the artificial ingredients. She just loved the taste and the feeling of happiness that came with every bite.

But now, things were different. She was on the run from the law, accused of a crime she didn’t commit. She had to change her appearance, her name, her identity. She had to avoid cameras, checkpoints, and crowds. She had to live in cheap motels and eat whatever she could find.

She missed Taco Bell so much.

One night, she saw a sign that made her heart skip a beat. It was the familiar purple and yellow logo of her favorite fast food chain. She knew it was risky, but she couldn’t resist. She pulled over and parked in a dark corner of the lot. She put on a hat and sunglasses and walked inside.

She ordered a chalupa and a baja blast and sat down at a booth near the window. She took a bite and felt a surge of joy. It was like coming home after a long journey. She savored every morsel and sip.

She didn’t notice the man who walked in behind her. He wore a black suit and sunglasses and carried a briefcase. He scanned the room until he spotted her. He recognized her from the wanted poster he had seen earlier that day.

He approached her table slowly and calmly.

“Excuse me,” he said politely. “Are you Sarah Jones?”

She looked up at him with fear in her eyes.

“No,” she lied.

He smiled coldly.

“I’m afraid you are,” he said as he opened his briefcase and pulled out a gun.

While this example still would need a ton of work to be competitive in a literary journal, I don’t think that we are far away from AI being able to create entertaining stories. I enjoyed the premise of this one, I just didn’t like the execution. Is my literary career safe? I think so, at least from Bing and other AI programs. Whether it’s safe from the century’s-old literary gatekeepers is a story for another day.

Generating New Ideas

What I think would be more useful for this tool is for generating new ideas, then crafting them on your own. I used the ideas generation part of Bing for both creative and non-creative topic ideas. Unfortunately, the program didn’t give me any ideas that were unique — just the usual spouting of what a search engine could do for the same query. If this part is worked on, it may be extremely useful in the coming months.

The Big Question

Now it’s time to answer the big question: will AI eventually take over my job? The quick answer is no, but the long answer is more complicated. It will take months for search engines to decide how to rank AI content. Some businesses will see a boom in traffic with cheap AI content filling their websites. In a way, this could drastically reduce the amount of work I can get. Real writers need to eat. Real writers need to pay bills. This is an industry that is already rife with ridiculously low pay. I won’t say that AI will never be able to do what I do, but right now, what I bring to the table is educated, experienced, emotional, and unique. It’s something AI just doesn’t have yet.