The Hierarchy of Content


Humans are creative. It’s one of the things that separates us from the other animals. Other animals create things, but most don’t change what they create based on new ideas, or how they feel.

Much of our culture revolves around this. And our economies. Our very society is based on creating and sharing or selling new things. So it’s pretty significant when something like AI comes along with the ability to replicate much of that creation.

How much thought vs. leg-work is in your content? The more leg-work the more vulnerable you are.

This is a look at what types of creation there are, and which might be most vulnerable to replacement by artificial intelligence.

The hierarchy of content

This chart has nine total tiers which are three-part breakouts of three fundamental levels:

Higher is better.

  1. Creating

  2. Analyzing

  3. Curating

Curating, organizing, and collecting are all combined into Curation in this 3-level system. Summarization, explanation, and analysis are combined into Analysis. And enhancement, thinking, and creating are combined into Creation.

A brief aside on curation

One thing to mention about Curation is that there are levels to that game, meaning Curation is only level 3 of this model, but one can argue that carefully filtering certain stories combined with Enhancing or Thinking can also be considered Curation, and that it’s much more valuable than level 3.

Curation can be quite advanced, but most is basic link filtering based on interest.

I agree with that, but I think most curation—in newsletters for example—isn’t so grand as presenting a life perspective. It’s more like link selection and presentation, which is to say that curation happens naturally when you ask people to choose what’s interesting to them. In other words, there’s basic curation and advanced curation. And the advanced version is somewhere up around level 8, while the most common one is at level 3.

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Vulnerability to AI

The bottom of the chart is most vulnerable, and the top is the most safe.


You don’t want to be here

AI is extraordinarily good at collecting stuff, filtering it, organizing it, and yes—even selecting which things to include based on a set of preferences. So if you’re in the bottom three levels you should be thinking about how to pivot.

Example: Newsletters of links on various topics.


AI is really good at this too, so tread carefully

Next we have analysis, which feels a lot safer, but one of the things I use AI most for is explaining things. There’s a simple rule here that you should use. If you explain things well in your own unique voice, you have more time here. But if you just pull out the relevant information in a particular structure you’re at risk here as well.

Example: Newsletters of links with basic summarization.


The safest by a wide margin

Finally we have creation. This is where you’re either adding ideas to an existing idea, creating a new thing based on existing ideas, or creating something completely new based on a completely new idea. So building a company for example is either ENHANCE or CREATE.

A blog where you post new ideas is THINK. And a blog or newsletter where you come up with new ideas and ship something useful based on those ideas would be CREATE. This tier will survive for the longest, but I’ve already had significant success making completely new things with GPT-4, so it’s no place to relax.


  1. If you’re a creator, find where your content sits on this chart

  2. Figure out how to climb up a few rungs

  3. Think long-term about what your brand is and how you can eventually get it into the THINK and/or CREATE tiers for maximum survivability against AI

AI content is about to explode. Automated newsletters in precisely your space. New products, new services, new art, and everything in-between. Be ready.