Interview with Alex Cardinell, founder and CEO of Article Forge

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A look into AI content generation, the future of writing, and what it means for SEO

AI content generation is on the rise. Applications like DALL-E 2 for image generation have shown what these tools are capable of, and there are multiple AI content writing services out there.

While Google is currently fighting to wrangle in AI-generated writing, it’s important to remember that these services can also be helpful tools. Their only purpose isn’t just to spam content in an effort to get to the top of Google search results.

Smaller teams can use AI writing services to help “fill in the blanks,” while they focus on the research and discovery phase. Some authors also use AI tools to help kickstart ideas

To help understand more about these AI tools, I had the chance to interview Alex Cardinell of Article Forge to learn more about their AI writing service, how the tech works, and what it is doing differently from its competitors.

You can find the full interview below:

Care to introduce yourself and your role at Article Forge?

Hi there! I’m Alex Cardinell, the Founder and CEO at Article Forge. I do or have done just about everything imaginable at Article Forge – ranging from coding, marketing, managing – everything!

Right now, in addition to the typical “CEO” duties, I am leading the machine learning/artificial intelligence research for our seven Machine Learning Engineers.

What inspired the creation of the product?

I’ve always been fascinated by artificial intelligence, and, to me, language always seemed like the ultimate expression of intelligence.

Writing or speaking language is how humans communicate their intelligence – and to me, a truly intelligent machine should be centered around language understanding and creation.

From there, Article Forge seemed like the perfect match of “something we could work on right here and right now and build something users would love and pay for” and “something that works on extremely ambitious and exciting long term artificial intelligence research.”

A great thing about Article Forge is that the number one way to get new customers is to improve the product, and the number one way to improve the product is through incredible artificial intelligence improvements.

In just a couple of sentences, how would you describe Article Forge?

Article Forge uses advanced artificial intelligence to create high-quality, accurate, and useful long-form articles in a single click. All you have to do is enter your keyword, click a button, and Article Forge will research, plan, and write your entire article.

What separates you from other AI writing services?

Our biggest differentiators are as follows:

Factual accuracy: We have a knowledge search engine which basically acts as a search engine for machines. As our machine learning model is writing, it is constantly querying this search engine and then making sure what it is writing is factually accurate and up to date.

This means Article Forge can handle all topics, including current events and obscure topics – all while remaining accurate.

End-to-end long form generation and simplicity: Article Forge requires only a single input, a keyword. From that, we are able to write a full 1,500+ word article. So all a user needs to do is enter a keyword and click a button.

We are able to do this because we have built several machine learning models that allow us to fully plan out an article ahead of time. Since each article has an overall point and thesis and a plan for how to get there, we are able to write very long articles that remain coherent and on point.

A strong machine learning roadmap: Basically, every other tool out there uses GPT-3. We use our own models, which means we are able to actively research and improve our models for the use case of writing an awesome article.

Other tools simply have to cross their fingers and hope OpenAI releases something that they can use.

article forge tool in action

Image: MacSEOTips

We’ve touched on the knowledge base that you use, but can you go into a bit more detail about how that works?

Absolutely! We have built our own internal search engine. When a user enters a keyword, they typically get a bunch of search results that are designed to give information that is useful for a human.

For our search engine, we designed it in such a way that if you were to query a keyword you wanted to write about, you would be given factual information in a format that is designed to be as easy for a human to understand as possible.

This information is generally expressed in the form of a knowledge triplet. For instance, if you were to search about Article Forge, our search engine might return results like:

Article Forge | founder | Alex Cardinell
Article Forge | uses | deep learning
And thousands of other facts about Article Forge

Our search engine is also a little bit different from others in that it is heavily curated – since we are using this search engine for factual information, our criteria for including something is very high.

Since our article generator models are trained to continually search and use this knowledge search engine, we are able to ensure our articles are relevant, accurate, and up to date.

On the SEO front, Google seems to be working to downrank AI-written content. Any thoughts on that?

Recently Google released their “helpful content update” with the goal of rewarding sites that are “helpful” to searchers and punishing sites that are “unhelpful.”

For many tools, especially the ones powered by GPT-3, this is a bad thing. GPT-3 cannot do any external research, and as a result, you get articles that might “look” good, but don’t have any meaning and aren’t truly helpful to your audience.

Article Forge tries to avoid this issue by genuinely being helpful. Since Article Forge independently researches a topic before writing about it, it is able to write an article that is accurate, educational, and… helpful.

Our goal is not to try to trick or deceive Google, but to try to create genuinely good content. We constantly benchmark ourselves against actual human content, and in blind comparison tests, we currently do better than many human-written articles.

If humans find our articles useful, we trust that both Google won’t be able to tell the difference and that the difference won’t matter because we are creating content that delivers value to the users who are searching for that term.

From a more technical level, a lot of the techniques we use to improve our content are the same techniques Google uses to detect the quality of content.

For instance, we have spent thousands of hours creating a model that grades the quality of text, and we make sure the content we are using passes this grader. Google likely uses a very similar grader, meaning that our efforts to make an article better also make it better in the eyes of Google.

So overall, our goal is not to deceive Google, but many of our efforts to make our articles better in the eyes of humans also make our articles better in the eyes of other machines.

Is Article Forge English-only, or does it support other languages? If so, which ones?

We currently support seven languages: English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Our English articles are of the highest quality, however, we plan on both adding more languages, and making big improvements to the quality of the non-English articles in the upcoming months.

Is there any exciting new development being added to the product in the near future?

Yes! We have a huge update coming up in the next 3-4 weeks [November] that is going to be a huge leap forward in article quality.

I can’t say yet how we plan to do it, but we expect that with this update, the articles we are writing will be at human-level quality with no editing needed.

Beyond that, we are planning to release more tools to help users quickly edit and iterate on their articles. Even if a machine generates awesome articles, users still want to pass a final inspection and make final revisions to make the article truly theirs.

We are currently working on functionality that will let a user tell Article Forge what parts of the article it doesn’t like, and then Article Forge will make changes to those sections to better fit what the user wants.

We are also adding more support for improved SEO functionality, where we will show users improvements they can make to better optimize their articles (or what commands to use to instruct the “edit” AI mentioned in the previous paragraph to do all of that for the user).

Lastly, we are adding more ways for users to control the articles they are generating. Letting a user enter just a keyword makes our product extremely simple, but some users want more control.

We are currently working on letting users specify styles (such as “promotional”, “uplifting”, “casual”, etc.) and allowing users to enter more specific instructions on how they want the article to be written. Anything to give the user more control!

Thanks for taking the time to answer some of my questions, is there anything you’d like to add?

The only thing I would add is that artificial intelligence is moving at an extremely fast pace. What seemed “bad” yesterday, looks “ok” today, and will look “mind blowing” tomorrow. I think people are not prepared for how quickly this industry is moving and how world-changing it is going to be in the upcoming years.

This is true for all branches of AI, but especially for Article Forge. So although I feel great about the quality of the articles we are writing today, they will not even hold a candle to what articles will look like in a year, or even a month from now!

I’d like to thank Alex Cardinell for answering my questions about AI content generation.

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