LinkedIn introduced a feature called collaborative articles, which uses “AI-powered conversation starters” to start discussions between “experts” using the platform. In an announcement post Friday, the company said it will “match each article with relevant member experts” based on its expertise graph, and invite them to add context, additional information, and advice on stories.
The company thinks the system will make it easier for people to contribute their views because “it’s harder to start a conversation than to join one.” People may judge the contributions of experts with a “smart” reaction.
According to LinkedIn spokeswoman Suzi Owens, “the bodies of the articles are powered by AI,” based on prompts that are “created and constantly refined by” the company’s editorial team.
The company has already used the technology to pump out almost 40 articles in the last two days, which is a fast pace – personally, I don’t think I can do that many prompts in a week. They range in topics from things like how to show instead of tell when writing or overcome a creative block, how to use feedback and semicolons.
According to an email sent to users provided by The Verge via social media consultant Matt Navarra, LinkedIn selects a “select group of experts” to contribute articles, saying that doing so will help improve their reputation and grow their following. The articles also end with a note telling readers that they can request to contribute by “liking or reacting to this article.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly given AI’s reputation for getting it wrong at times, some of the AI-powered content has drawn mixed reactions from contributors. While some sections received comments such as “Very good advice” or “Very local starting point” that continued to add context and other information, there were more critical responses. “Not sure what’s being said here,” one replied, with another saying “I have a different opinion.” To be fair, you’ll probably find similar sentiments in the comments sections for a lot of human writing, too.
(I also saw at least one example of someone promoting their book in a reply, which is probably the most stereotypical LinkedIn behavior ever.)
It should come as no surprise that LinkedIn uses AI in a minimal capacity. Its parent company, Microsoft, has poured billions into ChatGPT’s developer, OpenAI, and is working to add the technology to more of its products. Additionally, the idea of collaborative articles fits into LinkedIn’s overall push to be a place where professionals come to learn, not just present or lead thoughts. The company also has a LinkedIn Learning division, which was created after the company bought the e-learning site Lynda.com. What better way to add to this than with tons of human-sourced articles covering every topic imaginable in AI?