WEDNESDAY 25 OCT 2023 10:53 AM


Ilex Content Strategies co-founder Lucia Barbato shares how specialist expertise can help to bolster your AI application.

Generalist Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT are now accessible to anyone with an internet connection. While AI will bring many positives to the communications sector, it still requires the support of specialists, especially in B2B technology. AI is only as good as the data or content it is provided with, ensuring niche or specialised topics require a human’s input.  

While AI is here to stay, its proliferation demands that communications teams become increasingly specialised in their industry sector. Only a specialist can understand nuance, break down the bigger picture and be capable of utilising that for maximum effect. Only a specialist can be expected to spot untruths and falsehoods which could have severe ramifications for brands. In the age of AI, specialists will be more valuable than ever. It won’t just be a question of quality control. It will be a matter of risk mitigation.

What are the implications for companies? 

The most easily accessible AI tools are generalists. These are hampered by the vast quantity of average or subpar information available online. As these tools scrape from the huge amount of publicly available information online, they produce at best mediocre content. They lack the nuance and creativity of human experts whose skills have been honed with years of experience in a particular industry sector.

Earlier this year a US-based lawyer used ChatGPT to research case law. OpenAI’s model generated several made-up legal cases. The lawyer failed to spot these, assuming Chat GPT would be accurate. He is now facing possible legal proceedings of his own.

The implications for brands are therefore vast. Poorly executed content can negatively impact on a brands credibility at best and have legal ramifications at worst.

What can companies do to protect themselves?

AI is here to stay, and as the technology develops it will bring even greater advantages. But for now, to counter the limitations of this technology that is still in its infancy, brands must harness the power of specialists.

Only a specialist has the necessary ability to understand the nuances and subtleties of sector specific data and themes. Content produced by an expert in the sector will, for the time being, be head and shoulders above that produced by the generalist AI tools of today. Those tools not only lack the human spark of creativity, but they are not yet good enough to analyse and critique the information it itself relies on.

Specialists will therefore become increasingly important in their respective fields. Only specialists will allow brands to be confident that their content is both accurate as well as world-class and not merely average.

How do you spot a genuine specialist?

The challenge for brands will be spotting the specialists from the generalists. In the communications space there has been a sharp rise in new entrants offering public relations and marketing support since the pandemic. There also continue to be the more established names synonymous with public relations. What is most important when looking for support is to really get an understanding of whether your industry sector is their specialism.

From the agency side, those that have to-date remained generalists, offering advice and services across all sectors, will need to build much more highly specialised teams. Some will be able to do that through acquisition. Others may build this as they grow. From a brands perspective, reassurance that highly trained specialists will be nurturing your brand will be key.

You may think this is a given, but only last month a relatively senior hire in an established global PR agency posted a request for where share a byline for a certain vertical sector. If your agency is having to go to those lengths to work out where your audience is and where content they have created for you should sit, you probably need to revaluate your specialist support.