Artificial Intelligence · speech · technology

Can A.I. Write a Good Speech?

Estimated Reading Time: 2 1/2 minutes (520 words)

Primary Audience: 3-8 Classroom Teachers; Secondary Audience: Literacy Coaches

People are finding new and innovative ways to use chatbots to assist them with their writing and increase their productivity.

Why It Matters: Chatbots may be efficient, but they produce generic writing that lacks a human writer’s personal touch and authentic voice. You can load a specific prompt into a chatbot, and it will generate a decent piece of writing, but it’s generic.

As K-6 educators, it is essential we establish a foundation for students to understand how writing can facilitate thinking. Writing, like speaking, is a tool that allows us to develop and expand our ideas.

Catch Up Quick: There are many ways to use A.I. Three writerly ways I’ve used it have been to:

  • Simplify or streamline a piece of text. Whenever a sentence feels clunky, I insert it into ChatGPT with the direction to “Make this text clearer” or “Make this easier to read.” 
  • Vary word choice. If I need to reword my message, I ask the chatbot to “replace ____ word,” which will generate alternate terms to help me diversify my word selection. This makes a chatbot feel like a thesaurus on steroids.
  • Craft emails: To spend less time crafting emails, I’ve prompted the chatbot to “write a note reconfirming an important work-related meeting.”

Behind the Scenes: My daughter’s Bat Mitzvah is next month. While my husband drafted a speech in no time (show off!), I struggled to find the words to share with Isabelle at this life cycle event.

What I Did: I had a paltry paragraph written by early April. I went to ChatGPT and gave it a task. It generated what could be used as a speech from a mother to a daughter. Have a look:

I scrutinized the speech the chatbot gave me and deemed it good enough… for someone else. 

What I Found: I heard Lucy Calkins’ voice in my head saying, “Don’t write anybody’s words. Write words that are precisely your own.” 

  • ChatGPT writes words that could come from anyone. 
  • Chatbots lack the authenticity human writers bring to their words.

I began a new Google Doc. I started thinking about who my daughter is as a person. I recorded the word brave, which unlocked something in my brain. My fingers began to fly over the keys. I had a first draft of her Bat Mitzvah speech within an hour. Take a peek:

I’m sure you’ll agree that it sounds like a human (Me, precisely!) wrote these words. I will likely refine many of the sentences in the compost part of this Google Doc.

The Bottom Line: A.I. is a tool that can improve your writing, but it can’t write for you. To maintain an authentic voice, we must go through the writing process and stick with it even when it’s hard. 

Teal background with pink circles representing a person and a chatbot. A person asks a chatbot if the text sounds like them. The chatbot responds by stating it doesn't have the ability to determine how someone sounds.

Go Deeper:

8 thoughts on “Can A.I. Write a Good Speech?

  1. So glad I took time to read your post today. You show so clearly what AI will never be able to do, write from the heart. Thanks for bravely sharing a draft of your speech you will give on a very special occasion! It seems both your daughter and you are teaching each other lots about being brave!

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    1. Writing from the heart matters at moments like this, doesn’t it? (I mean, it always matters, but especially for these kinds of things.)

      Isabelle has taught me a lot as my daughter. I think it’s wonderful when kids can do that for parents.

      Like

  2. Stacey,
    I cut my writing teeth in speech and debate, so thinking about AI generated speeches hurts my writer soul as much as AI generated poetry does. Soulless emails, technical manuals, form letter canceling a membership are one thing, but as I read I thought, “What would Isabelle think if you gave an AI generated speech at her bat mitzvah?” I’m glad you trusted your own writing to generate the speech Isabelle needs to hear and you need to deliver. Blessings to you both.

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  3. Stacey, Thanks for being the brave one to try A.I. I’ve not even gone there. But you have shown me that I can get help with a prompt that may lead me to write what I wanted to write all along. This is a beautiful speech for your brave daughter. All my best for her upcoming Bat Mitzvah and onward to a bright future. I love “soft place to land.” As a mother of grown daughters who are in the trenches of early motherhood, I am that soft place and it’s a nice place to be.

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    1. I’m trying to dip my toes in and see what good can come from it. I feel like A.I. technology is growing leaps and bounds every day, and there’s no way to keep up with it!
      Thank you for your kind words about Isabelle’s speech. That’ll be a miracle if I can make it through without crying.
      I can see, from afar, that you are truly a soft place for your daughters and sweet grandbabies. 🙂

      Like

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