Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially ChatGPT, has taken an AI market that seemed far away in the future and has rapidly catapulted it into our world. But the tools still seem raw, more suited to programmers than end users who want a more work-friendly productivity tool.
That changed this week with the announcement of GrammarGo. As a Grammarly user, I’m extremely excited about this addition and expect it to give us a frame of reference for when Microsoft eventually adds generative AI to Office.
Generative AI could mean a lot to those of us who write a lot and deal with an endless stream of email.
The GrammarlyGo Movement
GrammarlyGo is a prompt-based implementation of ChatGPT (although it could use other frameworks in the future). If you write a paper or a column like this, it will ask you a series of questions – and based on the resulting answers, it will write the piece faster than you could type it. The questions it asks are about tone and content and what specific data you want to include, and the result is something that seems custom written by you.
It won’t properly capture your personal style until it learns how you write, or until it writes enough content to become the way you write. I expect future versions will be better able to tell the context and, based on your historical writing, better mimic how you would write a piece.
Grammarly took me through a few demos; this is what i observed.
Start an email
When you start an email thread, you will be asked what you want to do and what specific information you need before the email is generated. You can then make selections that change the tone of the email as needed and ensure that what is written is what you intended.
I immediately thought of my old friend Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, who wrote emails as if every word hurt him. A two-page email to him would often get a one- or two-sentence response—if he responded at all. This tool would have allowed Ballmer to do his limited-response thing, but still deliver a much more complete email. Generative AI can look at an email sent by someone else and compose a recommended reply, making Ballmer (or anyone who hates writing emails) seem much more empathetic and engaged without significantly increasing their workload .
(I have no doubt it would have improved how people corresponded with him.)
In addition, the tool can create survey questions, bullet lists, or other richer forms of email on demand.
Ending writer’s block
Most writers have days when we look at a blank document and get stuck. If you can at least describe what you want to do, GrammarlyGo will make an effort to get you started and remove that writer’s block. It can even generate lists of topics for you to consider if you’re not sure what topic to cover. Personally, I find condolence letters difficult to write, and the thank you notes I’m supposed to send usually end up unwritten.
GrammarlyGo can do that automatically. In short, for much of the regular writing we do, it could serve as a useful tool, for doing writing tasks we’d rather avoid or, at least, creating a draft that we can use as a basis for our own work.
Depending on how bad your writer’s block is, this can shave days or even weeks off a given project and allow you to meet deadlines.
AI is just getting started
This is just the forefront of the generative AI journey. It will undoubtedly move from audio to eventually video production. (The level of potential disruption across a variety of issues is enormous.) Employees who believe they’ll soon be using this kind of tool should aggressively train for it, which is key to avoiding the need for mass layoffs once the technology matures. It’s also important to note that generative AI comes with numerous legal and ethical issues about content creation and ownership that are far from being resolved.
Before long, there is some kind of generative AI behind almost everything we interact with. This could result in a better work-life balance, as AI tools can take over some of the most annoying and repetitive parts of our work, help us think through issues and produce creative works that excel in both quality and quantity.
GrammarlyGo may be one of the first solutions of its kind, but it certainly won’t be the last to make this leap.
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