The day I asked an AI program to write about Rockford.
Image source: FreeImages
NOTE: This entire post was generated by an AI website that will write a blog post for you with only an idea as input. The only thing I did to produce those words was tell him to write a blog about Rockford Illinois. Here is what it gave me. If I personally make additional comments, I will put them in parentheses and put them in bold. You can try the program for free at writesonic.com.
[The program decided that there should be a Happy St. Patrick’s Day at the top of this article. I have no idea why. This isn’t starting out great but let’s take a look.]
Today, in almost every industry, the role of artificial intelligence is growing. AI programs are used for everything from stock trading to customer service and even marketing. Indeed, AI is a great way to analyze large datasets and understand trends in that data. For example, an AI bot can read thousands of articles about a company and learn which words are most commonly used to describe them. This got me thinking – what could you do if you had access to an AI program? So I decided to put this question to the test by having him write about my hometown: Rockford, IL. Here is what happened…
[Significantly better than the St. Patrick’s Day image. Keep in mind I didn’t write a single word of that previous paragraph, and also never told it I was from Rockford]
What you need to know about Rockford before reading the article
Rockford is a city in northern Illinois. It has a population of approximately 150,000 people, the majority of whom are Caucasian. It is located about 80 miles from Chicago, making it a commuter town for city dwellers. That means it’s a fairly quiet location, with a nice suburban setting that’s perfect for families. Rockford has a few major industries – healthcare, manufacturing, and education (notably, it is home to Northern Illinois University). The economy, in general, is quite good, with low unemployment.
[This is a little off. I would never call Rockford a commuter town and it is not home of NIU. Close but no cigar. It should be noted that this paragraph could easily be omitted from a final edit.]
Why I decided to have an AI program write about Rockford
One of the coolest things about AI is how it learns. When you train a program to do something, it will pick up on what humans are doing and try to imitate it. And it’s amazing how much he can imitate us, not only in what he does, but also in the way he speaks. It’s like having an infinite database at your fingertips to write content. If you’re having trouble getting started or just can’t think of a topic, you can ask an AI program to help you out. Here’s the problem, though: AI programs can’t write on their own. They need human help to create their articles. This means that if you want an AI program to write about something, you’re going to have to give it some direction.
[I’ll give this program credit, it is great at creating a bunch of words that don’t actually mean anything, which means it will blend in with the majority of post writing out there seamlessly. It’s almost too good at bloviating.]
The experiment: have an AI program write about Rock-Fording
I decided to get an AI program to write about Rockford, IL. I used Wordsmith, which is one of the most popular AI writing programs. Here’s the experience: I told Wordsmith to write about Rockford, Illinois. No other directions. Then I wrote the article it generated based on its content. Here is the article that was written: It is a sunny day in the town of Rockford, and the weather is beautiful. There are lots of birds chirping near my window and a few kids playing with their soccer ball in the yard in front of my house. My laptop is in front of me and I’m excited to write about this beautiful place. Rockford is a city in northern Illinois, United States. It is located on the Rock River and has a population of approximately 150,000 people. It is a beautiful city and a pleasant place to live. The cost of living here is low and students get a good education at one of the many schools in this city. It’s a wonderful place to live and work, and lots of people do.
[This paragraph was quite the ride. It started off basically telling you exactly what I said in the note at the top of the article. Then it went on a strange rambling that sounded like a third grader’s report on Rockford. Still look at that word count! It knows we need to keep you scrolling]
Here is the article the AI program wrote about Rockford
With that in mind, let’s look at the article generated by the AI bot. It’s a sunny day in the town of Rockford, and the weather is nice. There are lots of birds chirping near my window and a few kids playing with their soccer ball in the yard in front of my house. My laptop is in front of me and I’m excited to write about this beautiful place. Rockford is a city in northern Illinois, United States. It is located on the Rock River and has a population of approximately 150,000 people. It is a beautiful city and a pleasant place to live. The cost of living here is low and students get a good education at one of the many schools in this city. It’s a wonderful place to live and work, and lots of people do.
[I can’t really figure out why it just copied the paragraph above and wrote it again. This would obviously be edited from a final draft.]
It’s fascinating to see how an AI program works. When you ask someone to write about a city, it will point out what people love and what makes it special. It will also use common words and phrases that are used to describe that place. It’s like having an infinite database at your fingertips to write content. If you’re having trouble getting started or just can’t think of a topic, you can ask an AI program to help you out. With a little guidance, you can generate quality content for your blog or website.
[Not the best conclusion but I didn’t give it the best writing prompt either. You can definitely see that with a little tweaking, this could be used to pump out millions of words a day to post on a site that is just looking for a wide breadth of content, not necessarily only good content.
I knew AI was getting pretty good, but I had no idea it was this available to just a regular person sitting at a computer for free. Keep that in mind as you read things on the internet, you never know exactly from who, or what, those words are coming from.]
Can you identify these 20 intersections in Rockford?
Rockford has some weird intersections as well as “worst” intersections. Test your knowledge and see if you can correctly name these 20 interactions in Forest City.