AI-Assisted Writing

Day 099 Week 15 Q2 Monday, April 8, 2024

How would you like to have a team consisting of a proofreader, an editor, a transcriptionist, and someone speaking your words out loud so you can hear the final version?

Many of us feel like we have a lot more to say than the ability to write, type, proofread, and edit. For those of us who tend to be thinking about artificial intelligence and, therefore, writing about AI, ironically, we should be able to use what we are writing about to help us write about it. For example, I’ve never been a good typist because I had assumed the computers would be able to listen to us and type. I have been thinking about this for 50 years, and guess what? It has finally come true.

It does make sense to think about a few things to get this to work correctly. The first thing is signal to noise ratio. If you are speaking, then you are the signal. If you are speaking in a noisy environment, then your voice is competing with other sonic information, which can easily confuse speech recognition software. However, speech recognition has become a lot better than it had been in the past at separating the signal from the noise. Still, if you want the best results, you should try to have your voice not be that far from the microphone, which could be the one built into the laptop or an external one. 

One of the most significant benefits of dictating instead of typing or writing is the time it saves. It’s a fact that we can speak more quickly than we can write, and even a skilled typist can’t match the speed of dictation. But for me, the real game-changer is the spelling. The speech recognition software is a better speller than I am, and that alone saves a considerable amount of time in my writing process.

After considering the spelling improvements, the next level of correction that is made possible in a number of different ways is improvements in grammar. Perhaps there should be improvements in grammar? We will find out when we run it through our grammar checker. Most computers and mobile devices can perform spellcheck and grammar checking and even make improvements on the fly while you are dictating.

These are relatively lightweight applications of artificial intelligence. Spelling and grammar checking have been around for a long time, although they continue to improve. One more thing relatively easy, which is also built into my systems without having to buy external hardware, is to have the device send your text-to-speech back to you. This is a charming way to do proofreading because when you are reading your work, your brain may fill in gaps and unconsciously correct other mistakes, but when you hear the word spoken aloud, your brain notices problems that need to be repaired or efficiently.

These three simple, lightweight AI tasks of capturing your dictation, correcting your spelling and grammar, and being able to read back to you what you said can save you a lot of time. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. AI has the potential to dive into the deeper waters of evaluating, restructuring, and, in other ways, improving your writing. This prospect should give you hope and excitement about the future of your writing.