The LinkedIn AI tool: Friend or foe?
AI scares me. Specifically, the world of the AI chatbot scares me. Even more specifically, it’s the thought of a chatbot that doesn’t just write, but thinks, for me that scares me the most. Maybe that’s because it’s my job as a Content Writer to write. I’m the type of person that finds great joy in the thinking, the discussions, the curiosity that ultimately leads to stringing sentences together.
Yet an AI chatbot’s role as a genuine extension of our brain or personality is becoming more normal. Especially with the new LinkedIn AI tool the platform is testing for its user base that’s reached almost 1bn in size! It just doesn’t sit right with me.
AI for social media’s ‘professional’ platform
The advice-giving, opinion-enforcing, rags-to-riches-story-telling ‘professional’ social media platform is now testing its users the ability to draft their posts with AI. In your own words, share the main points you want to highlight in your post is the prompt that now greets LinkedIn-ers. Sorry, what? Am I the only one that finds the phrase ‘in your own words’ insulting? Thanks, LinkedIn, for asking me for my own words…
…that you’re now going to turn into totally not my own words.
I don’t care how advanced AI is or how advanced it’s going to get – our own words, phrases, idioms are what makes us as professionals – scrap that, as people – unique.
So perhaps my worry with the LinkedIn AI tool for writing is that they’re going to drain us of our individualism. But hey, at least LinkedIn gives users the chance to ‘edit the draft before [they] publish’.
Professional to personal: the changing face of LinkedIn
How we use – or should use – LinkedIn has been a pretty big point of discussion over the last few years. Feeds have transformed away from formal, rigid posts stating career achievements that we believed would boost our reputation within our professional network. The platform now favours posts of a more personal nature. Granted, opening LinkedIn first-thing on a Monday morning to yet another virtue-signalling post from someone who definitely played a part in initiating the #hustleculture, but is now posting about #abolishing it, is just as annoying as the stiffness of the promotional posts from years gone by. But hey, again, at least we knew those posts had been written by a person.
And yes, they could’ve been penned by that individual’s PR rep, but they were still typed by a human being. Or so I like to believe. But with this LinkedIn AI tool literally at our fingertips, we’re entering bleak territory. If a LinkedIn feed littered with two-hundred-word-long personal essays isn’t enough to prompt you to delete the app, then robotic, generic, and quite frankly, boring, AI-generated posts just might be.
Where have all the humans gone?
Just me that thinks it all feels a bit backwards? I really thought events of the last few years had reinforced the importance of genuine human interaction, and how much we crave – need – personable communications. So, SO many of our day-to-day tasks can now be done in the digital space or supported by AI, from the now-standard remote work meeting to asking Alexa for the weather forecast. I’m not ignorant to the benefits, like speed, efficiency, multi-tasking. But I do think that we should be cautious about how far our reliance on AI stretches, especially when it comes to the human art of thinking. If we’re not needing to think, then what’s the point?
And that’s why, when a colleague sent a screenshot to our team of this new AI tool on her LinkedIn homepage, I felt sad. (Truthfully, I felt anger first, but time’s a healer.) I don’t really have the word I’m looking for to describe how it makes me feel that people are turning to AI to edit their thoughts. Disappointed, perhaps gutted (and no, I shan’t turn to ChatGPT for it).
As much as it feels like these LinkedIn essays we’re used to have got to be written with some grasp of how to write, the beauty of this platform’s transformation is that it’s become a supportive space for professionals to share their genuine work woes, worries, and stories because they’re being penned and shared by people. Yet now that these thoughts can be hit with the chatbot effect – i.e. eloquent bodies of text no less, but written with formalese and an edge that feels slightly out-of-place – how on earth are we going to be able to give people confidence back to do anything ever again without it?
Should we be worried about the LinkedIn AI tool?
The 2010s saw us filter the absolute heebies-jeebies out of our selfies. But, the last few years has seen a huge backlash against image filters. Sure, altering your waist to be 26 inches or airbrushing over those pimples on your chin seemed like a good idea at the time, yet our human-ness won in the end. Influencer audiences are craving reality, authenticity, a sense of ‘normal’. Optimistically, then, I’ll think (with my own head) of this AI tool as just a phase – maybe I shouldn’t be as saddened or angry or as worried as I am.
But a word of advice – if you’re going to go forth and let LinkedIn’s AI tool do your thinking for you, make sure you’re giving thought to what it churns out. Not just for your posts, but the ones you see in your feed from your connections, too.