WordPress is getting a sleek new AI plug-in that can generate and edit text. The tool is called the Jetpack AI Assistant and is available free to WordPress.com users “for a limited time,” with 20 free requests and a monthly $10 fee after that. It’s the latest example of AI text-generation software, but its availability on one of the world’s biggest blogging and content management platforms will spread this technology further still across the web.
The assistant is the work of Automattic, the company that owns WordPress.com and contributes to the development of the open-source WordPress platform. Automattic describes the tool as a “creative writing partner” that lets users “generate diverse content at your command, significantly reducing the time and effort required in content creation.”
Demos show the tool being used to summarize a blog post in a headline, adjust the tone of text (users can choose between options including “formal,” “provocative,” and “humorous”) and even generate an entire blog post from a single prompt: “Write a list of Tokyo’s must-visit destinations, and give me a table with exchange rated from JPY to USD and Euro.” Automattic says the tool can also correct spelling and grammar and translate between 12 languages, including English, Spanish, French, Chinese, and Hindi.
Although the feature is a logical launch for Automattic, which draws users to WordPress.com by adding extra features for things like security and support, it’s hard not to also see the harmful effects such a feature will likely have. Copywriters are already losing work as clients switch to generative AI tools like ChatGPT, and many worry about the web being lost in a tsunami of low-grade AI-generated spam. Generative AI tools are notoriously inaccurate, and the default copy they produce is often bland or out of date.
Indeed, in Automattic’s own demo, you can see that the exchange rates it provides for a trip to Japan are from August 2021. (This date is the cutoff for information available to ChatGPT, though Automattic doesn’t say what software it’s using to power the tool.)