Does AI mark the End of Professional Editing?

March 24, 2023

Probably. As someone who writes academic and policy papers, I strongly advocate for professional editing. Treating my readers respectfully means presenting them with well-written and well-edited work, which can help prevent frustration caused by poor editing or unclear ideas.

Writing is a thinking process, and it can be challenging to articulate ideas effectively. That’s why I value the support of professional editors in refining my work and ensuring that it communicates my intended message clearly and cohesively.

After completing a rough draft and editing it myself multiple times, I typically send my papers for professional editing. However, the emergence of AI technology has prompted me to reconsider this process. A few years ago, I started using Grammarly, which is helpful as I may need assistance with prepositions. Recently, chatGPT entered the scene, and let me tell you, it is like Grammarly but on steroids. Not only can it find typos, it can also make some substantial editing for you. These days, I like to use both chatGPT and Grammarly together. Sometimes chatGPT likes to offer verbose explanations, whereas Grammarly tends to flag those.

Where does professional editing enter the picture now? I’m unsure and suspect the current situation is grim for them. I also suspect that Grammarly’s situation and other such programs are grim, as chatGPT will only improve.

Having said all that, I want to stress that chatGPT won’t help you find your voice or a ``style’’ which is hard to define but captures the essence of how you want to convey ideas. It is best to emulate economists whose work you connect with and admire.

I also recommend investing time in learning how to write better. I found the book by McCloskey fantastic. It is short and concise. In fact, I recommend you read anything by McCloskey and revisit her book occasionally.