Copy-robot with tone is a fast worker for Jack Ma's Alibaba

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Imagine a robot that writes advertising copy now, and at 20,000 lines a second!

Alibaba - the Chinese ecommerce giant that owns Hong Kong's South China Morning Post - has.

Through its digital marketing arm Alimama, the company has announced an AI copywriter which it says, has passed the 'Turing test", which compares natural language performance to a human.

Not that it's claiming anything creative; just captions and product information for its websites so far, and the option to adjust "tone". But as AI users such as Associated Press - which uses AI to produce financial and sports reports, and more - knows, that can come.

Alimama says the AI-copywriter uses deep learning and natural language processing technologies to learn from the millions of lines of existing copy on Alibaba's Tmall and Taobao e-commerce platforms. Copywriters insert a link into a product page and click a button to see different copy ideas generated by the machine, with the option to select the tone of the copy.

It says the AI copywriter significantly changes the way its human contemporaries work, moving from thinking up copy "one line at a time", to choosing the best of many machine-generated options, largely improving efficiency.

Alimama says brands that use the tool include apparel chain Esprit and US clothing brand Dickies. It claims a number of other AI-powered tools including video editing tool Aliwood - which extracts key text and images from a product page to create 20-second videos for merchants - and a banner designer which allows them to resize a banner "in an aesthetically pleasing manner".

Will it take over the South China Morning Post, which has recently moved to a newsroom? We didn't ask. The newspaper used this picture (above) to illustrate their story.

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