Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Automating writing using R and Claude

16th April 2024

Automation of writing using AI has become prominent recently, especially since GPT came to everyone’s notice. It is more than automation of proofreading but of producing the content itself, as Mark Hinkle and Luke Matthews can testify. Figuring out how to use Generative AI needs more than one line prompts, so knowing what multi-line ones will work is what is earning six digit annual salaries for some.

Recently, I gave this a go when writing a post that used content from a Reddit post thread. The first step was to extract the content from the thread, and I found that I could use R to do this. That meant installing the RedditExtractoR package using the following command:

install.packages("RedditExtractoR")

Then, I created a short script containing the following lines of code with placeholders added in place of the actual locations:

library("RedditExtractoR")

write.csv(get_thread_content("<URL for Reddit post thread>"), "<location of text file>")

The first line above calls the RedditExtractoR package for use so that its get_thread_content function could be used to scape the thread’s textual content. This was then fed to write.csv for writing out a text file with content.

Once I had the text file, I could upload it to Anthropic’s Claude for the next steps. Firstly, I got it to give me a summary of the thread discussion before I asked it to give me the suggested solutions to the issue. Impressively, it capably provided me with the latter.

Now armed with these answers, I set to crafting the post from them. Claude did not do all the work for me, but it certainly helped with the writing. This is something that I fancy exploring further, especially given how business computing is likely to proceed in the next few years.

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