12th International Conference on Technical Communication: Generative AI, Friend or Foe?

Feb 2nd, 2024 – Remote

Université Paris Cité, Department of Applied Languages (EILA)
Clillac Arp Laboratory

Artificial intelligence

As the dust settles on the ChatGPT breakthrough, technical communicators, like many other content professionals, begin to think about the impact of generative AI on their daily work. While large language models (LLMs) create more effective ways to handle knowledge and create content, AI-generated information raises many ethical questions.

For the next International Conference on Technical Communication, held by the Université Paris Cité, academic and professional speakers will share insights on the following topics:

  • Use cases for AI in technical communication: content creation, information retrieval, classification.
  • Ethics, security and environmental issues related to artificial intelligence and the way companies deal with them.
  • Attitudes to knowledge and new skills needed in the age of artificial intelligence.

View the replay of presentations on YouTube.


10.00 – 10.10


Patricia Minacori, Ismael Ramos, Marie Girard

10.10 – 10.40

Presentation of research projects

Master 2 students

10.40 – 11.10

Productive uses of AI in Technical Communications [PDF]

Dipo Ajose-Coker, MadCap Software

Crafted for technical writers, savvy documentation managers, and stakeholders looking to innovate, I want to dissect how AI is reshaping the creation, management, and delivery of technical content. Learn to leverage AI for more than just efficiency; use it to enrich content quality, enhance user engagement, and inform content strategy with data-driven insights. This presentation will get you thinking about how best to position AI as a core component of your technical communication toolkit. Let’s redefine the boundaries of technical writing and documentation management.

11.10 – 11.40
Natural born prompters: why technical writers make great prompt engineer

Maaike Groenewege, Convocat BV

So is AI going to put technical writers out of job? On the contrary! One of the most important new roles in the emerging field of generative AI is that of the so-called prompt engineer, or instruction designer for large language models (LLMs). Unsurprisingly, it turns out that what makes a great instruction for a human, also does a very decent job as an instruction for an LLM. So tech writers might well be natural born prompters! In her talk, Maaike compares technical writing and prompt engineering and shares some tips and tricks to start exploring this exciting field yourself.

11.40 – 12.10

 Interactive session: Practical uses of AI in technical communication [PDF]

12.10 – 14.00

Lunch break

14.00 – 14.30

Impacts and uses of AI within collective intelligence value creation processes in knowledge management and technical communication professions

Gaëlle Brunetaud and Hugo Deschamps, OnePoint

The growing impacts of artificial intelligence on today’s and tomorrow’s professions raises questions about the notion of “collective intelligence” in all its dimensions, as well as about the “work value” of human beings faced to technological machines. What could be the place of AI within collective intelligence value creation processes in the future, especially for knowledge management and technical communication professions ? Are there use cases that we can learn from ?

14.30 – 15.00

Gen-AI Innovation: How Tech, Real Estate, and Engineering Expertise Shaped the Founding of Botique.me [PDF]

Sarah Lasaracina, Botique.me

Embark on a journey with three individuals – tech writer Sarah, real estate entrepreneur Giuliano, and mechanical engineer turned AI enthusiast Michele. In May 2023, inspired by ChatGPT’s rise, they envisioned Gen AI revolutionizing Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. Fearing larger corporations might swiftly seize market shares through AI integration, the trio united. Explore the genesis of Botique.me, their venture crafting user-friendly Gen AI-based chatbots for SMEs. Witness how this diverse team ingeniously responded to the encroaching dominance of big players. Beyond this case study, delve into broader market changes post-ChatGPT. Spotlighting the demand for a mix of soft and hard skills, the presentation offers practical strategies for grounded skill acquisition. Whether UX, UI, Neuromarketing, or SEO, it guides professionals in adapting to the dynamic landscape through continuous learning. Join us as we unravel Botique.me’s transformative narrative, explore market shifts, and gain practical insights for professionals navigating technology, business, and skill development in the Gen AI era.

15.00 – 15.30

Interactive session: Gen-AI, more of the same or creativity boost? [PDF]

15.30 – 16.00

AI Reading Assistants: Balancing Innovation and Core Competencies

Marc Watkins, University of Mississippi

AI reading assistants use generative AI to help users analyze text, identify key details, summarize content, answer questions, and more. These tools promise to greatly augment technical writers’ productivity by augmenting reading and analysis tasks. Nonnative speakers, those with disabilities, and readers with less-developed lexical knowledge, can also benefit. However, over-reliance on AI reading assistant tools risks diminishing core human competencies like critical thinking, comprehension, and close reading. As educators, we must endeavor to balance the pragmatic use of this new technology, while carefully teaching learners to employ it in a manner that supports and augments skills like reading, rather than off loading it completely to an automated process. With deliberate and ethical guidance, AI reading assistants could empower readers to reach new heights of productivity and quality. The alternative – students and the general public becoming passive consumers of AI-generated content – may undermine education instead of help making users more literate. Our challenge is developing framework to intelligently wield transformative technologies rather than be dominated by them.

16.00 – 16.30

Forging New Pedagogical Attitudes with the New Kid on the Block, AI

Cynthia Pope, Syracuse University, NY

It seems likely that in preparation for producing final artifacts in classes requiring technical writing, students will use AI to generate a surplus of written words. How this profusion of ideas can lead to original, student written, final drafts will be our next challenge as we support the intellectual development of our students. Providing students with opportunities to develop technical writing practiced encouraging the use of technological advances, but also developing their intellectual capacities will provide them with resilience needed to adapt and grow. The growing impact of AI requires we reconsider our teaching methods and course outcomes. We need to clarify the relationship between AI, technical writing, and learning, and emphasize how learning works to support the student’s ability to address problem. This requires formulating assignments to engage students in ways that incorporate new technologies, support equity, practice critical literacy and analysis, and connect students with their intellectual potential. This proposal aims to create a robust presentation around AI use and provide frameworks to guide faculty regarding AI and technical writing. Topics include course policies, course development, creating and structuring assignments that incorporate AI, outcomes, and assessment. Expect strong examples of praxis, pedagogy, and technology.

16.30 – 16.40


Patricia Minacori, Ismael Ramos, Marie Girard


Dipo Ajose-Coker

After relocating to France in 2005, Dipo completed an MA in Multilingual and Multimedia Document Conception at the Université Paris Cité. He has since spent the past 18 years combining his love for language and IT skills in various roles, serving as a DITA expert, technical writer, technical editor, and proof-reader in the Fintech and MedTech device industries. In 2021, Dipo transitioned into Content Creation and Marketing. Acting as the crucial link between developers and the end users, occupying the sweet spot between expectation and delivery, Dipo represents both the voice of the user and that of the software developer, acting as the quintessential middleman. In the grand symphony of the Technical Communications industry, Dipo takes on the role of a conductor to unify and harmonize the voice of the user, industry experts, and the vendor.

Gaëlle Brunetaud

Gaëlle Brunetaud has developed a strong experience in collective and emotional intelligence as a consultant and as a coach. She helps teams and organisations to develop resilience and face difficult and complex situations.

Hugo Deschamps

Hugo Deschamps, ethnologist and cultural and leadership transformation expert at onepoint, has 13 years of experience as researcher, human resources and operations director, and consultant.

Maaike Groenewege

Maaike Groenewege is a linguist, prompt engineer and conversation designer at her own company, Convocat BV. She helps organisations leverage the true potential of conversational and generative AI. She works with Dutch companies like Independer, Kamer van Koophandel and ABN AMRO, as well as with American startups. But Maaike also brings a 25-year career as a technical writer. 14 of those, she spent writing procedures and instructions at Dutch air traffic control, working with DITA, single sourcing and component content architecture. To this day, she applies everything she learned in tech comm in her daily work, most notably the minimalist framework for designing effective procedures (Carroll & Van der Meij).

Sarah Lasaracina

Sara is a former CDMM student. After spending 8 years in IT, focusing on technical communication across various domains, she acquired essential UX design skills. These skills were instrumental in developing her own Gen AI-based solution. 

Cynthia Pope

With a PhD in Rhetoric & Technical Communication from Texas Tech U, Cynthia Pope is an assistant teaching professor at Syracuse U in New York.

Marc Watkins

Marc Watkins is an Academic Innovation Fellow, Lecturer of Writing and Rhetoric, and serves as the Director of the AI Summer Institute for Teachers of Writing at the University of Mississippi. He cochairs the AI working group within his department and serves as a liaison with other departments on campus, exploring generative AI’s impact on teaching and learning. In addition to being awarded a Pushcart Prize, Marc has been awarded a 2018 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Teaching and Learning, a WOW Fellowship, and a Sarah ISOM Fellowship. His research includes OER, open pedagogy, creative writing, digital humanities, AI in education, and grant writing.

Can Technical Communicators Benefit from AI Text Generators?


Paris Cité University, July 17 2023


ChatGPT changed (almost) everyone’s lives this year, we all started to
worry about our future and wonder if AI could replace us in a few years.
With this article research, we wanted to see how technical communicators can
use these new tools for their benefit instead of being fearful of their future.
This paper is based on a survey of 46 professionals, with more than 50% with
jobs related to the technical communication field. The respondents were
asked about their knowledge and their use of AI text generators.

The results allowed us to determine the benefits and the limits of AI text
generators for technical communicators. Our study suggests that quite a few
professionals already use AI tools to help them gain time and be more
efficient. Technical communicators often use them for proofreading,
rewriting sentences and translation.
Although AI text generators are becoming more and more popular among
professionals, they still have a lot to prove…

Read the full article in PDF: Can Technical Communicators Benefit from AI Text Generators

Chatbots and technical communication: a blooming future?


Paris Diderot University, July 2018


Machine-learning is gaining momentum as an artificial intelligence (AI) technology. There has been a recent upsurge in text-based conversational interfaces such as Facebook Messenger, IBM’s Watson and SAP’s Recast.AI. This type of computer programme is called a chatbot, which is the focus of this study. In this paper, the non-customer-oriented applications of chatbots and the evolution of professional practices of technical writers were investigated. The main research question is “will chatbots impact the technical communication industry in the middle term, and in what ways?”. We mainly used a SNCF case and a comprehensive comparison of job offers to illustrate our claim. As the authors expected, chatbots will not replace technical writers but will, instead, oversee the birth of a broad range of thought-after, more specialized jobs at the interface between computer science and technical communication.

Read the full article (PDF):