Will Artificial Intelligence eventually make sub-editing redundant?

Will Artificial Intelligence eventually make sub-editing redundant?


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Over the next few years, automation is expected to eliminate THOUSANDS of jobs.

That’s right, thousands. There’s just no doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) is going to start impacting the future of content marketing. In fact, it’s already started.

Scary but inevitable. 

It’s times like this that our minds start ticking over-time with questions, thoughts, and… more questions.

Most importantly; Will automation make jobs like sub-editing redundant?

Will I be safe? Are ANY of us safe?


Woah, woah, woah. Sorry, we’ll continue calmly, and hit you with the evidence.


In April 2017, media company News Corp Australia sacked a large number of its photographers, and sub-editors in a bid to cut down on costs. Although the huge paper giant’s reasoning for the decision to lose at least a dozen of its creative writers had more to do with costs than artificial intelligence, they did describe the new changes as a ‘modernisation of the newsroom’.

Emphasis on the word, modernisation and what it really means for sub-editors, and writers in the industry today.

It’s pretty clear to see that traditional industries such as these will begin to feel a huge impact in the way that they continue, due to the rise in the AI technology. At first glance, newspaper corporations making people redundant doesn’t seem to be linked directly to the rise of artificial intelligence, but if you look a little closer, the warning signs are all there.

If quality assurance staff such as sub-editors and photographers were deemed to be hugely important, would they be dispensable? The answer is simply, no.

The sooner we accept that automation isn’t just a fleeting fad that’s come along to test us, the sooner we’ll begin to grow with it, and adapt. We’ve got to keep up in the ever-evolving AI world in order to compete with it, let alone beat it.


Automation and Content = The Future?

As content marketers, our roles rely on emotional intelligence. 

In fact, there are many roles that require emotional intelligence to make sure they’re hitting their KPI’s in the work place.

Take someone that works in customer service at Apple for example. If a customer calls up yelling about losing their whole photo stream to the enigma of ‘The Cloud’ (we’ve all been there), the Apple employee will then need to use their emotional intelligence to understand the customers distress and try to fix the problem.

In marketing, we deal directly with our clients to curate suitable content and plan strategies tailored to their brands changing needs. Although artificial intelligence has certainly taken over in certain industries to eliminate repetitive and monotonous tasks, automation will never replace what we have as humans.


Despite predictions of a futuristic world saturated with AI, it hasn’t happened just yet. Not in the way the movies estimate, anyway.

Yes, algorithmic technology is constantly evolving, and right now, the world of media is definitely heavily influenced by artificial intelligence. There are now website tools such as Ginger Software and Grammarly, that work to help writers write quicker and ‘better’ thanks to their grammar, punctuation and spell checker tools that automatically detect and correct misused words and grammar mistakes.

A spokesperson for Grammarly did note that their product hasn’t been designed to replace editors or proof readers, but it is scarily accurate. After a little research into Ginger Software reviews, we noticed users noting that the tool didn’t understand the context of some sentences.

Do you know who would though?

A content writer. A HUMAN, editor.

So, if you’re thinking that sub-editors are just glorified spellcheckers then you’ve got it wrong. The role of a sub-editor is a pretty significant one in terms of written content. If the above were true, then copy-editors, sub-editors and proof readers across the globe would be out of a job, and online tools such as Grammarly really would serve the sole purpose, across all kinds of media groups.

Our point?

Sub-editing is more than just checking spelling, simple grammar mistakes and ensuring hyperlinks are all active. Its requires delving further in to the written content, certainly a much deeper level than automation would ever make it to. Sure, they come part and parcel with the role, but duties go much further than that.

It’s all about telling a story, understanding exactly what the client wants to say through the content, and editing the words on the page to push the reader in to taking some form of action. Artificial intelligence simply doesn’t have the ‘tools’ to garner a deeper understanding of a client brief and the content produced.


Which leads us to believe that emotional intelligence will always beat automation.

Clients are always trying to sell a product or service within marketing, which is where the combination of both sales and entertainment comes in.

Engaging, informative and interesting content creates encourages brand engagement, which leads the customer on a journey, ultimately ending in sales. Sure, AI can proof read your content when you choose to shy away from traditional forms of advertising, instead opting for persuasive content.

But can AI deliver the deeper level of emotional intelligence that is needed to truly understand a client’s needs and deliver on a brief? The answer is simply, no. Automated editing tools aren’t what you need if you’re looking for help writing compelling content that’s going to generate sales. Online tools can’t differentiate between different tones of voices between individuals, which is why if the world suddenly turned to automated tools only, the net would be full of boring, empty words.

Okay maybe not empty, but content getting churned out by media outlets would be pretty dull in comparison to that edited by a person.

In other words, content marketing would die a very painful death.

The point of content marketing is to create a tone of voice for your brand. There are many parts to play in the making of a successful ‘voice’; we’re talking photographers, artists, writers, designers and editors. They will carefully and creatively craft a strategy to captivate their target demographic that reaches out to the audience’s heart. Automated tools just don’t have it in them.


What now?

Artificial intelligence is extremely useful.  And yes, it is the future. It’s the now, and it’s evolving as you read this. Freaky, huh?

Sure, we’re excited to see what the future will brings in terms of AI, and of course, automation is a clever tool BUT there are some things that it will never be able to do take the place of.

Whether it’s the role of a psychologist, a politician or even a modest sub-editor, AI simply can’t compete with a real-life person that understands what it takes to fulfil the human heart.

Being emotional isn’t so bad, is it really?


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Rob Tadros

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