This is a guest post from Mary Poliakova, PR consultant and co-founder of Drofa Comms.
Although I’m a professional with more than 15 years in journalism and PR with a corresponding university degree, I never cease to educate myself and improve my professional skills. There is nothing more disheartening than a C-level executive stuck in the past. Thus, I’m currently enrolled in yet another higher education program for business owners. And one of the first lectures I attended as part of this initiative was dedicated to – you guessed it – AI.
Although the concept is as old as advanced tech can go (the 1950s, to be precise), 2023 gave it a new wave of hype. The PR industry is no exception to the trend – professionals ask themselves whether PR professionals should be concerned about recent developments and how creative industries respond to the challenges and moral aspects of generative AI applications. Not to be unfounded, I’d like to add some tangible data to the conversation around AI.
Presenting the Results of the AI Experiment
Recently, the PR and Content teams of my agency conducted an experiment where colleagues from different departments analysed three incognito texts of up to 150 words on the same topic: the role of AI in PR. One commentary was written by a human, a mid-level PR professional, and two were generated by AI. You can read the three texts, the criteria, and the detailed results of the experiment in our blog. But here are the main takes from it.
First, the text written by a human received the highest score. We calculated each short text on a 100-point scale, and the text created by a PR professional got 80 out of 100 points. Two other texts generated by ChatGPT and Notion AI received 76 and 62.4 points, respectively.
Overall, experiment participants noted that AI-generated texts have word-for-word repetitions from a given assignment and wordy sentences. On the other hand, machine-generated texts had a clear structure but lacked smooth, logical transitions from paragraph to paragraph.
As 40% of the correspondents were content writers and editors, all of them agreed that the text written by a human had the highest originality score. They likewise stated that AI-generated texts provided a purely theoretical stand, looking like an explanation to a required task rather than expressing a genuine opinion. However, several participants noted that a text created by a PR professional may have lacked factual argumentation compared to its AI counterparts. So what conclusions can we draw from this experiment?
The Future of AI in PR
The small experiment we’ve conducted leads us to believe that even the most advanced technology cannot exist without a ‘human touch’ to it (at least for now). AI can be of great assistance to the creative industry and PR pos when used cautiously and responsibly. And decent results can only be observed when a human professional knows how to correctly assign tasks to generative AIs. Even then, any written content generated by artificial intelligence must be fact-checked and edited to meet the criteria. After all, AI-generated content is based on the existing one on the Internet. And the risk of plagiarism varies depending on the AI model you use.
Overall, PR professionals should stay tuned for tech developments to test and incorporate effective tools while being cautious about potential changes to regulatory frameworks around artificial intelligence solutions. And executive PR teams must conduct training for managers on how to work with AI tools ethically. I would likewise recommend developing thorough instructions with clearly defined guidelines for using diverse types of advanced solutions in everyday work. The labelling of corporate materials, generated entirely or partially with the help of AI, is also an essential aspect of the ethical utilisation of advanced tools.
After all, I believe AI cannot replace the PR profession, but as it evolves constantly, experienced professionals with the ability to incorporate technologies into everyday work will be in great demand.
For more on how AI could impact public relations, for good or bad, download our white paper with Danebury Research ‘Reputation management: How PR & comms can maintain trust in an AI-assisted future‘ and watch the accompanying webinar ‘The AI Conundrum: Paving the way for the future of comms‘.