We are deep into the age of generative AI. Already! The technology is moving so fast that even the likes of self-driving cars and digital assistants – mind boggling innovations when they first appeared – don’t have anything like the same the wow factor as before.
As always in the restless, hurtling world of tech, the question is: what’s next?
For a wide range of industries, the rise of generative artificial intelligence has been positive and transformative. Broadly speaking, AI has helped businesses in tech, finance, healthcare, retail and other industries to boost their productivity, eliminating much of the ‘donkey work’ and allowing employees to achieve more in less time.
In Public Relations, the chat around AI has been tinged with a note of caution. As AI tools become more advanced and increasingly accessible, there are rising concerns about their potential impact on the role of human beings in the PR industry.
Nonetheless, with virtually all the tech giants – Google, Microsoft, Adobe, even Canva – now integrating AI into their workflows, it has become vital for PR professionals to stay ahead of the curve in order to continue serving clients efficiently.
PR agencies are increasingly using AI-powered tools and platforms to speed up tasks like media monitoring, sentiment analysis, and content creation. ChatGPT – a sophisticated AI language chatbot developed by OpenAI and only released in November 2022 – is helping Irish PR professionals to create press releases, social media posts and lots of other content forms quickly and efficiently.
Concerns around AI adoption
However, the rapidly escalating use of AI in our industry has raised questions about its impact on human jobs, not to mention the quality of work it generates. In PR, writing is everything, and there are real concerns that AI tools may eventually replace human copywriters and editors, potentially leading to job losses and an overall decline in the quality of PR content.
In an industry that is all about people and relationships, that is a troubling thought. Now more than ever, PR professionals must underline their unique value to clients by demonstrating what ‘the machines’ cannot do: strategic thinking, creativity, humour, empathy, a nuanced flair for language – and an ability to build genuine human relationships.
Another potential threat posed by AI systems is their impact on creativity and authenticity. AI tools are designed to generate responses based on patterns and datasets. While this is useful for automating routine tasks, it may lead to a homogenisation of PR content. In other words, there is a genuine risk that PR campaigns may start to look and sound the same, lacking the creative spark and human-inspired authenticity that sets them apart today.
Best of both worlds
Despite these concerns, there’s no doubt that AI is here to stay. Perhaps the best approach for PR practitioners is to consider AI as a starting point, using tools like ChatGPT to get the ball rolling, then adding their own human insights and perspectives to give the content its unique snap, crackle and pop.
This approach can help ensure that PR content remains genuinely creative and authentic, while taking advantage of the ‘best bits’ of AI systems: efficiency, accuracy, speed, precision, productivity. Meanwhile, investing in training and upskilling can also help PR professionals to remain competitive in a changing industry.
It’s clear that AI platforms like ChatGPT have the potential to revolutionise PR, but also that the technology poses certain risks to the future of the industry. By understanding the limitations of AI tools and filling those gaps with our unique, irreplaceable human skills, PR pros can continue to deliver high-quality, innovative and authentic content. Just like we’ve always done.
Need some help with content or copywriting?
Content development is one of our core services here at Cullen Communications, and our team of humans can help you get your message, tone and strategy right, no matter who the audience. If you have a project that you think can use our support, we offer a free consultation.
About the author
Matthew Walsh is Client Executive with Cullen Communications, specialising in media relations, social media communication and influencer marketing.