A new research survey of 700 U.S. consumers has found that people prefer AI-written text to human-written text, often by a wide margin.
The survey (PDF) was conducted by Semrush, a digital marketing tool that provides data and analytics for web publishers.
The participants in the survey were presented with different content formats, each having two versions: one crafted by a human writer and the other by AI (using a mix of ChatGPT and Semrush’s own AI tool, called ContentShake AI).
The survey had an even distribution of male and female respondents, whose age range was about 18 to 55.
Participants were unaware of which version was machine-generated.
The AI received detailed prompts, much like a writer’s brief, including tone of voice, length, and objectives.
A clear victory for AI
The AI-written content emerged victorious in all six of the six head-to-head tests, at rates ranging from 53% to 70% (some examples of these head-to-head tests are listed below).
Why did people prefer the AI results? According to Semrush, it’s because the language in the human-written text was more difficult to understand. The AI text, on the other hand, “immediately gets to the point and explains what the reader will learn in the article. There’s no room for confusion.”
But the survey also emphasizes that AI alone is not the silver bullet for content writing. Human oversight is still crucial, for example to check for incorrect or inappropriate “hallucinations” that AI tools can and do generate.
Lessons for Human Writers
A comparison between the human and AI-produced texts revealed that while the human copy featured emotional language and colorful imagery, it was somewhat harder to understand.
The AI copy, on the other hand, was clear and to the point, effectively listing the reader’s concerns.
Here’s what writers can learn:
- Be direct and clear about what you are trying to convey.
- Highlight concerns and propositions in a straightforward way.
- Always aim for readability and conciseness.
- Use AI to improve efficiency.
Examples from the survey
Below are for example texts from the survey, with the percentage of readres who preferred that version listed at the bottom of each text.