PR RISKS SLEEPWALKING INTO AI
AI is set to explode in public relations, but research shows that the industry is yet to wake up to the technology’s full potential.
Use of AI technology across the public relations sector has soared since the beginning of this year, numbering at a total 5,800 tools with possible AI application at present. However, research from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) shows that failure to understand the new technology risks the industry “sleepwalking into a technological future.” Areas such as research, planning, measurement, content, data and insights, management, reporting and workflow are already covered by AI tools.
The ethical implications of misunderstanding the technology are outlined in the report, such as the possible weaponised, rapid release of inaccurate information. Although AI technology features in only two percent of the 5,800 tools analysed in the report, those with AI potential have exploded since the launch of ChatGPT at the end of November 2022, with a notable increase since January this year.
“Practitioners who are prepared to invest time and energy into understanding the role that technology can legitimately and ethically play in public relations are more likely to enjoy the best that the AI has to offer as a digital assistant to human agency and creativity, free to spend time on tasks such as data analysis and relationship management,” says Andrew Bruce Smith, chair of the CIPR’s AI in PR panel and director at Escherman.
Stephen Waddington, managing partner at Wadds Inc., who co-authored the 'Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and the impact on public relations practice' report alongside Andrew Bruce Smith, adds: ‘“The growth [of AI tools] has been steady over the past five years but has exploded with the release of the ChatGPT and related generative AI based technologies.
“Practitioners can readily see many of the tactical public relations activities such as transcription, editing and content development being handled by machines.”