Conversational and writing AI software has been on the rise this past year with the astounding – or infamous – ChatGPT that has taken the world by storm. It’s a topic of conversation that certainly divides rooms; many see conversational AI as a win for convenience. No more hours of research, trying to overcome writer’s block, or even needing to read a book before writing an essay. We now have a website to do it all for us. Meanwhile, there’s the other side of the room that immediately thought of the robot from Terminator and sees AI as the end of civilization as we know it.
So, which is it? Weapon of mass destruction or a powerful tool for efficiency?
Without a doubt, there are pros and cons, especially in regard to proposals and general business writing. Our team has had several discussions about this and we have boiled down our thoughts into a few points for how we can use but not rely on AI.
How AI Helps Our Industry
Reduce Your Research Time
As proposal writers, we know the amount of time we can spend researching a particular topic to write a compelling response to a question. It can easily take several hours to comb through several articles, papers, etc. to become familiar enough with the topic to write about it. With AI, we can eliminate that research time and use it to generate a response that takes all the research on the internet and put together a cohesive summary for us to use as a base for our response.
Unblocking Writer’s Block
Conversational AI is exactly what it sounds like. It’s inherently smart enough to almost seamlessly carry on a conversation. This can be an excellent tool to unlock your writer’s block. Rather than asking yourself, “How do I start a section or piece about X?,” you can now simply ask an AI chatbot the same question and it will generate something for you to use. The answer provided by the chatbot can be a source of inspiration to help get you started as opposed to spending unnecessary time staring at a blank document hoping for that lightbulb moment.
How AI Doesn’t Help and Why it Won’t Take Over the World
One of the biggest things to note is that conversational AI cannot complete government forms for you. This is probably the one thing we wish it could do. Our team is noticing a trend that federal level RFQs, RFIs, and RFPs are moving toward having bidders submit their response on government forms as opposed to using their own templates and styles. It’s helping to streamline their evaluation process but it also means less creativity for the writers. You will need a proposal manager to help piece together everything they are asking you to provide and to ensure that all the information is in the right spot.
Aligning AI Responses to the Client
It becomes far too easy to lean on this software and simply take what it generates and plug it into the proposal. The human element that is needed here is ensuring that the response generated by AI coincides with the offering and capabilities of the client you are writing for. As an example, it’s easy to ask an AI to generate a response to a technical question such as how to build a WordPress website. But, if that’s not the exact methodology the client uses to build a website, you still have to tailor that response to accurately reflect the ways and methods of the client.
For fellow proposal professionals and writers who are worried – and rightfully so! – about the rise in AI being the end of our careers, we have some good news. Our team does not foresee that happening, at least not any time soon. When Photoshop first came out, all photographers thought that was going to be the end for them. But human creativity and skill is still needed behind the camera to take the picture accurately. This will be no different for our industry. AI will no doubt force us to become better and stronger writers, and we can learn how to leverage it so that we can make it our friend instead of our foe.