The Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ AIinPR Panel report ‘AI and Big Data Readiness Report – Assessing the Public Relations Profession’s Preparedness for an AI Future’ has found that while the industry sees potential in artificial intelligence and Big Data, practitioners still have limited knowledge on the associated technicalities.
Set up to provide an overview of public relations’ preparedness for AI and how the industry can protect itself against its potential dangers, the report found that:
· 41.5% of PRs claim to understand what AI as a technology means but don’t consider themselves technically-minded
· Over one in three (38.9%) of the PR practitioners taking part in the report feel ‘excited’ about AI, while 3.9% feel ‘overwhelmed’
· 30% are familiar with the tech but wouldn’t feel confident applying this know-how to their job
· One in five professionals (20.7%) feel very comfortable using data and analytics as part of their work compared to the 8.2% who feel comfortable using AI
· Around one in five practitioners are familiar with the relevance of both AI and Big Data on comms and PR.
While a large number of PRs have limited knowledge of artificial intelligence and low confidence in using it (43.2%) in comparison to the much smaller number (13.9%) who feel ‘very comfortable’ with it, the report shows that the industry is optimistic and ready to learn – the issue will be knowing where to begin.
‘There is clearly a mix of optimism and fear in the PR industry with regard to AI – excitement at the potential and possibilities, and concern that the role of the practitioner will be eroded away,’ said CIPR’s AIinPR Panel Chair Andrew Bruce Smith.
‘There is clearly a willingness to learn and adapt – but knowing where to start and a lack of time, training and skills seems to be putting a brake on progress. However, doing nothing is not an option either. AI is already impacting every aspect of PR from strategic planning to writing content. Anyone who wants to have a valued and meaningful career in PR in the coming years should pay great attention to the implications and recommendations from this report.’
The #AIinPR Panel’s AI and the Professions’ report, which warned of the dangers of sleepwalking towards the inevitable changes coming up in the use of tech, was published two years ago now – its co-author Professor Anne Gregory believes not much has changed since then:
‘Unfortunately, nothing has really changed. The knowledge and skills that have been acquired, driven partly by the COVID 19 pandemic, have been largely tactical. We need to get a strategic grip and determine for ourselves what our enhanced role and contribution can be in the organisations we serve. Otherwise, others will make the decision for us and it won’t be in our favour.’