Navigating the Generative AI Downpour

How Apostrophe plans to leverage generative AI to empower digital teams. Explore our roadmap for future innovations.

This year we have observed the flow of news around generative AI technologies go from a light trickle to a full on downpour. Today we are saturated, our inboxes full each morning with a deluge of new products, new funding rounds, new excitement about the power of generative AI and its immediate impact and future potential. It can be overwhelming (in both a positive and a negative sense) to observe this surging, turbulent flood of both opportunity and risk – and to try to figure out where to jump in and start swimming. At Apostrophe, we are letting our core principles guide us.

Like many other tech shops out there, our thinking about this started at the beginning of the year after seeing some of the earliest integrations coming from platforms like OpenAI. Thanks to the flexible architecture of Apostrophe, we were able to easily experiment with some simple integrations between generative AI and our content creation tools. We quickly open sourced our first module to demonstrate this potential and have since shared more in depth tutorials on the topic.

AI text prompt

This first small release served as a foundation for our team to strategize about the future roadmap for Apostrophe and generative AI. With some internal strategy workshops and a hackathon, we explored everything from “create fully baked dynamic page layouts via a text prompt” to “enhance the experience of creating and searching developer documentation” to “provide suggestions to help editors create more SEO friendly sites” to “automatically translate text when localizing content”. We were lucky to share some of this process with some of our closest collaborators and the results have informed the future of our product roadmap.

Apostrophe Team in Philadelphia Studio

Apostrophe Team discussing AI during an in-person workshop.

As we consider these many possibilities, we look to our guiding principles and core values to help us prioritize the features that we think bring the strongest alignment and most significant value. Over all the years of evolution in our field, our focus has remained:

How can the tools we create help digital teams do their very best work?

This is why we created Apostrophe in the first place. It is what animates all of our decisions, particularly in a moment like this where there are new opportunities to consider and prioritize.

So what does that look like in practice? How do we apply a focus on helping digital teams do their best work? We think this means helping marketing and editorial teams produce content faster and more efficiently, but in a way that doesn’t risk degrading the quality of that content. It means enabling engineering and DevOps teams to focus more on innovation and less on setup and troubleshooting.

Ultimately, we think Apostrophe can provide the most value by applying generative AI to automate project scaffolding, rote content tasks, and other busywork, with the goal of facilitating the best possible application of our human creativity to create unique, delightful, and inspiring digital experiences.

So what’s next on our roadmap?

The first applications of our principles towards these features is taking the form of the following:

  • Automatic SEO and accessibility metadata generation: Generating a first draft of simple metadata like page descriptions and alt text for images is one way Apostrophe can streamline the work of content teams, especially teams that need to manage large volumes of documents and media.
  • Native translation support as part of our localization tools: Apostrophe has powerful localization workflows built into the core, but they currently require either manual translation or some integration with a third party translation platform like Smartling. Hooking our native localization workflow into a simple automated translation back end can help accelerate the work of managing a multilingual site when you don’t have the capacity to bring more translation resources to the project.

You can find more details about both of these in our public roadmap board. Please share any feedback you like there, or submit additional ideas that could be considered for future features.

What about the far distant future?

As software engineers and digital creators, are we all just mowing the lawn while a tornado approaches in the background?

mowing the lawn in tornado

If you were to draw a straight line following the trajectory over just the first half of 2023, it was frighteningly easy to imagine a future where the entire creative economy has been replaced by some form of generative AI. But we know that the path ahead will not follow a straight line, and we know that there is no true replacement for the quality of human vision and creativity when it comes to doing great work. 

As this technology makes its way through various technical and regulatory hurdles, and all of the other stops and starts and twists and turns influenced by the complex factors at play, we think it’s possible to guide it in a humane direction and make good choices as a society. As a company we’ll aim to do our part in that.

Let us know what you think!

Once again, please do share your feedback on our roadmap, or better yet join us in Discord and get involved by contributing directly to the project. If you’re a company working with Apostrophe and looking to collaborate more directly with us on any of these features, we love rolling up our sleeves in this way with our partners so definitely reach out.

There are so many more opportunities for what Apostrophe can do when paired with generative AI than we will ever be able to unlock just with our team alone - we look forward to hearing from you as we dive deeper into this work.