FRIDAY 25 MAY 2018 12:30 PM


Artificial intelligence has become a blanket term to encompass all the technology that either interacts with people or demonstrates human characteristics. The broadness of the term however, can be the source of confusion and uncertainty around the topic.

The CIPR has released a new research about the impact of AI on the public relations sector. The research was conducted by CIPR’s AI panel and it foresees the effect of AI on the profession’s skills in in the next five years.

Led by Jean Valin Hon, principal of Valin Strategic Communications, the research is the first attempt of a wide-ranging study of the impact of AI on public relations skills. The report is an answer to the extreme debates around this topic, which is usually split between denial and doom-mongering.

Jean Valin Hon says, “AI is about to massively change our lives. The public relations profession needs to keep up. We need more experience with these tools and more critical reviews to learn how best to use them and their limitations.”

The research references more than 50 skills and abilities in PR, such as strategy planning, data handling and environmental scanning, which AI is most likely to replace or change.  The results of the report show that 12% of PR professionals’ skills can potentially be enhanced or replaced by AI today, with the potential to reach 38% within the next five years.

However, basic human traits such as empathy, trust, humour and relationship building can’t be computerised on the premise that their based on human emotion. This in itself makes humans irreplaceable despite the progress of technology.

Valin Hon says, “Regardless of the tasks and skills that can be automated or benefit from AI, human intervention, editing, sensitivity, emotional intelligence, applying good judgement and ethics will always be needed. That is one of the lessons of this exercise: We need to emphasise education, experiential learning and continuous development of these very human traits that are valued in our profession.”

Technology can have a direct effect on the simplification of tasks, on listening and monitoring, as well as on automation. This translates in another 27% of the PR professionals’ skills being able to take advantage of technology to help them in decision-making or analysis.

The report speculates that in five years, technology will have improved in a way that will make AI tools accessible for contribution to the application of skills in PR. It is clear however, that human intervention will always remain vital, and therefore a dominant part of any field of practise.

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