It is no secret that some of the citizens of the Internet are bots. You have probably interacted with bots when using the live chat tech support feature of a website, and those bots were probably quite helpful. You have probably also run across barely comprehensible web content when conducting a bona fide search for information on Google. In short, bots can write, but they are better at some tasks than others. For most of the content on your law firm’s blog, live people are a better choice than artificial intelligence.
Bots Are Teachable, but They Are Not Experts
This is not yet another blog post about the foibles of computer programs composing text in human languages, although those are certainly entertaining. Machine learning has come a long way since the 90s, when your geeky uncle forwarded you an email with examples of awkward prose composed by bots. Today, major news outlets rely on bots to compose news items on subjects where the writing is formulaic enough that it will still make sense if bots write it.
The Associated Press relies on bots to write its reports on the quarterly earnings of hundreds of major companies. A bot created in Sweden has written more than 2.7 Wikipedia articles, making it Wikipedia’s most prolific author. It writes articles in Swedish and Cebuano, the native languages of its creators and his wife; Cebuano is spoken in the Philippines. A bot in Japan even wrote a novel, albeit a very formulaic one; it studied numerous paperback romance novels to use as examples. It warrants mention, though, that human researchers had to teach the bot the meanings of lots of expressions and terms before it was able to write a novel that made sense.
If Not Bots, Then Who?
Should you entrust your law firm’s blog to a bot? Only if you are willing to invest an amount of work equivalent to sending the bot to law school. Sure, you can program the bot to use certain keywords a certain number of times, but the result will be several paragraphs of bot speak that will meet your target word count and keyword density and might convince Google to boost your site’s SEO rankings a little bit, but it will not make readers want to stay on your site.
Law firm blogs, at least good ones, fall firmly within the category of prose that it too sophisticated for bots to write successfully. Sure, there are researchers at work now on creating what might become the ancestors of law firm blog bots, but while you are waiting for them to work out the bugs in said bots, it is a good idea to entrust your blog writing to human writers who already know what they are doing.
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