WordPress contributors have a still-ongoing discussion about how AI might fit into the WordPress ecosystem, whether at its core or as a plugin.
There are currently no plans to add AI to the WordPress core, these discussions are just a starting point to sort of turn on the lights to see what’s out there.
A few contributors came forward to offer their opinions, and although the discussion is just beginning, important points were raised.
Plugin or core integration
One thing that has been agreed upon at this point is that AI integration could best be achieved through external plugins rather than hardcoding into the WordPress core itself.
Matt Cromwell shared his concern that the current plans for WordPress are full of projects that need to be completed and that adding AI to that load could be distracting and divert efforts from existing projects.
But he also agreed that it’s smart to talk about AI at this point.
“At what price would the project aim for AI integration?
…I have a hard time imagining continuing on the current roadmap with excellence and stability AND adding huge AI integration.
…since all AI options currently require integration with a third-party system, some sort of pricing and authentication, this clearly seems to me to be plugin territory.
It’s fun to dream of what an AI-powered WordPress would look like, but in this early stage of AI, I think it’s better to let the plugin ecosystem do the innovation so Core can focus on its more fundamental functions that need to be improved…”
Diagnostic AI co-pilot
Ollie Jones provided a brilliant use of AI in the context of maintaining a WordPress site.
They suggested integrating AI as a diagnostic co-pilot that can identify an issue (presumably like a plugin conflict) and offer actions.
“HERE is the AI feature I want to see: send backtracks and error messages to the AI and then say, ‘Hey AI, what went wrong here? Suggest some ways to fix the problem.’
If this worked even minimally for the “What went wrong?” question, WordPress folks will love it.”
That’s a great idea. How cool would it be if an AI could detect when two plugins contain a conflict with the potential to crash the site?
It would be useful if the AI could take steps to block the offending code, keep the website running and send an ad about it.
If AIs are assistants, then assisting with day-to-day publishing and development tasks seems like a useful application of technology that wouldn’t take anyone’s job away.
AI WordPress team member
Another person, robglidden, had a similar take on AI, only this time as a user on a collaboration team.
The comment relates to Phase 3 of the four-phase plan to modernize WordPress with Gutenberg.
WordPress is currently in phase two of four planned phases, phase three is focused on collaboration.
Examples of focus areas of phase 3:
- Real-time collaboration
Build the user interface and infrastructure to allow multiple team members to customize the site at the same time.
- Asynchronous Collaboration
The ability to share drafts, comments and annotations
- Publish flows
This includes editorial features such as steps, goals, and prerequisites in the content creation and publishing workflow.
There are many other areas of focus for phase three, which will begin later in 2023.
“I would suggest looking at AI chatbots as a (“just another”) user type in the upcoming phase 3 collaboration/workflow.
For my part I want an AI chatbot in my multiuser collaboration team in a phase 3 WordPress.
In the multi-user collaborative workflows already described in “Phase 3 Collaboration”, it seems like basically the same infrastructure should work for both human users and AI “users”.
In fact, reading this document, it’s not far-fetched to imagine that “user”, “collaborator” and “creator” are also bot-like users who are assigned and run tasks within a workflow…”
AI is already built into WordPress
An insightful contribution came from James LePage, founder of an AI SaaS company called CodeWP.
It is a plugin that offers an AI Code Generator plugin specifically for WordPress development.
Although it promises to reduce the need for expensive developers, it appears to be a useful product for developers themselves to make them more productive.
James LePage wrote:
“It seems like solid plugin territory to me; 1 – AI will always require computing power ie third party services and I think that is already pushing it out of the core space and 2 – we don’t really need anything special to integrate AI.
I am the founder of one of the few AI SaaS offerings for WP and we are building a plugin to integrate our service with individual websites.
We also work with existing code snippet plugins.
There is nothing we really need from Core to help with this plugin and we can add any features we need by using existing features/functions.”
James brings up an interesting point about AI integration with WordPress since the integration is already there.
There are at least three SEO and one content optimization plugins that integrate AI:
- All-in-One SEO (AIOSEO)
- rank math
- WordPress WordPress Plugin
RankMath has an AI content assistant feature called Content AI. Rank Math’s content AI provides SEO-oriented suggestions on how to improve content, including which headings to use.
SEOPress and AIOSEO both offer programmatic generation of meta tags for title elements and descriptions via an integration with OpenAI
All three AI integrations require a paid upgrade. They are examples of how AI is already integrating into the WordPress ecosystem.
Finally, WordLift is a content optimization plugin that also integrates AI.
In a way, WordPress already includes AI integration, which shows the value of the third-party plugin ecosystem that can innovate quickly.
WordPress keeps pace with AI
It’s encouraging to see WordPress discussing how to use technology to move WordPress forward and prevent it from falling behind.
While this is just a conversation starter, many of the current innovations like the WordPress Performance Team started as such conversations as well.
What types of AI integration would you like to see in WordPress?
have thoughts? Share them on the official WordPress discussion:
Let’s talk: WordPress Core & Artificial Intelligence
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