I have to confess to having described, in some of my more confrontational moments, pieces of thought leadership as something that could have been produced by “any business-savvy intelligent person, locked in a cupboard with a desk and an internet connection”, writes Rachel Ainsworth at Source. However, having read Man v machine: can computers cook, write and paint better than us? in The Guardian’s weekend supplement, it seems the “person” element of my damning description is now defunct.

Having pitted IBM’s Chef Watson against ingenious chef Yotam Ottolenghi, the Painting Fool against established artist Jane Moon, and Google Translate against experienced humans, The Guardian provided artificial writer Wordsmith and its own football writer with a table of facts about recent events in the English Premier League.

In all cases the machines performed admirably, but not quite as well—at least in the eyes of a human audience—as the expert humans. For me, the paragraphs created by Wordsmith brought to mind many pieces of thought leadership I’ve found myself reading recently. No, not because consulting firms have started writing about football. But because, like many of the publications I review, Wordsmith’s output makes sense, offers facts and figures, and even contains the occasional quote. But it lacks the flashes of insight and engaging tactics that set the best thought leadership apart from the rest.

So what can we humans do to raise our game above that of the artificial writer?