Public relations needs to get ready for artificial intelligence or risk being left behind according to #AIinPR, the CIPR’s panel on the impact AI will have on the profession.
Its 12-month global research project looked at close to 200 global publications on AI in the industry to date and found that PR is behind in understanding and usage.
‘Public relations is significantly behind the curve,’ said AIinPR panel member and PR academic Anne Gregory. ‘Other professions have already done major work on the shape of their future workforce, reviewing education and training, looking at their future role in organisations and society and at the ethics of AI. We need to get cracking, and get on with some serious work in all these areas.’
To help with this gap between PR and professions already upskilling in AI, machine learning and data, the AIinPR panel is putting together an AI Literature Repository where Government Reports, think tank findings, books and academic literature will be available for those looking to learn.
That this is an area the PR industry needs to catch up with quickly was clear throughout yesterday’s CIPR National Conference: Preparing for the Digital Future. Speakers including Tony Langham, Dr Stephanie Hare and Dr Lawrence Ampofo spoke passionately about the need for those in PR to understand our responsibilities with how the data we use is gathered and the emerging technologies at our disposal. For Government Digital Service’s Joanna Blackburn in her talk ‘Helping government meet the accelerated pace of users’ digital expectations’, the rate of change even within office environments is too slow, with technology advances far outpacing the rate of adoption.
AIinPR panel Chair Kerry Sheehan (taking over from Stephen Waddington’s work with CIPR on AI over the last two years) said the research on the understanding of AI in PR has made for stark reading. She said: ‘If, as a profession, we do not educate ourselves on AI and machine learning we really will risk getting left behind.
‘As the ones who provide a strategic management function driving business, profiles, profits and purpose; and, more importantly, the ones who should be best placing and promoting AI to aid the public’s adoption of good AI to realise its benefits, we have a vital role to play – we need to take this seriously. We are determined to encourage our profession, across the globe, to really own the AI agenda.’
Communicators interested in AI are encouraged to contribute to the AlinPR panel by adding academic materials to the Google document. The final repository of information, as well as the AIinPR 2020 plan, will launch on 16 January at The Turing Institute. If you’re ready to get ahead of the curve now, more information AIinPR can be found at cipr.co.uk/ai.