What will PR beyond AI look like?
Living in rapidly evolving times, I sometimes think about public relations and its societal purpose.
PR hasn’t played a clear role in the AI revolution for nearly a decade, but as society evolves, we must adapt, too.
The Industrial Revolution
One of many ways to think about how our world got industrialised is to think of it in three overlapping phases:
For better or worse, public relations is a lubricant for the interface between the industrial systems and real people engaged in producing and consuming. As a profession, this is how we have found our role in the greater scheme of societal development.
Of course, this simplified view of the industrial revolution is, in many ways, provocative. This perspective places the digital transformation not as a separate revolutionary shift but as the natural outcome of the industrialisation process.
Read also: How To Write About AI: A Beginner’s Guide
The Existential PR Challenge
Being the interface between industrial efforts and humans, PR has always found itself at the intersection between objectives and ethics.
But as we’re well underway transitioning beyond AI. We face an almost existential challenge as we must replace humans rather than utilise them.
For me, as a PR professional, two pertinent questions spring to mind:
For two decades now, whenever I’m asked what I do for a living, I’ve replied, “I help organisations to communicate better.” That, to me, has always felt like an accurate and meaningful answer.
But what is a meaningful answer for the coming two decades?
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PR Beyond AI: An Optimist’s Outlook
The AI Revolution: Transforming Public Relations
There are several ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to impact the public relations (PR) industry. Some potential examples include:
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PR to facilitate and establish the foundation of a more prosperous and advanced society might have been just a stepping stone. Transforming humanity into replaceable parts of AI processes is probably an irreversible outcome.
Historically, societal progress has often meant that humans have been freed to think, communicate, and create. And it’s usually in these rare and inspired times of enlightenment that we take great strides towards discovering meaning, creating art, and understanding the universe.
In a post-industrialised society, excellent communication skills will be as valued as they are today. Perhaps even more.
For PR to move beyond the AI revolution is not a failure — it’s an accomplishment.