The CIPR’s #AIinPR panel has published research revealing the impact of artificial intelligence on the PR industry over the next five years. For now, it looks like humans and their jobs are safe.
The #AIinPR panel was launched in February to explore the impact of AI on public relations and the wider business community. This new research, led by Jean Valin, principal of Valin Strategic Communications, is the first comprehensive assessment of the impact of AI on PR skills. The panel wanted to determine how much AI was already used in public relations and how fast it is evolving.
The first stage of the research was to establish what skills and abilities are needed to practice public relations. Adapting the Global Alliance Global Body of Knowledge, which describes 50 skills, the CIPR created the following diagram:
It then used its crowdsourced list of PR tools and an independent panel to determine which of these skills could currently be replaced by AI:
The research found that 12% of the skills are currently complemented or have already been replaced by AI in today’s market.
It carried out the same process to determine how this will change in five years:
The research predicts that 38% of skills could be complemented or replaced by AI in five years, but key human traits, like empathy, trust, humour and relationship building, cannot be automated.
Valin said: ‘We need to emphasise education, experiential learning and continuous development of these very human traits that are valued in our profession.’
The report draws on the CIPR’s State of the Profession 2018 survey, which says the most common PR activities are copy writing, strategic planning and social media relations. The research says that even social media relations, the discipline that can be most improved by AI, will still need human skills, such as editing, sensitivity, emotional intelligence and applying good judgement and ethics.
As such, AI looks set to improve public relations practitioner’s roles and make their lives easier without replacing them in their work.
Valin said: ‘AI is about to massively change our lives. The public relations profession needs to keep up. We need more experience with these tools and more critical reviews to learn how best to use them and their limitations.’
Stephen Waddington, chair of the CIPR Artificial Intelligence Panel, said: ‘The CIPR is publishing the paper with intention of starting a debate on the issue. We’d welcome comments and challenges to the analysis. We’d also welcome approaches from any other organisations around the world that are working this area.’