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PR Beyond AI: A New Profession Emerging From the Rubble

As PR professionals, it's our job to ease the replacement process.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

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.

But how?

The Industrial Revolution

One of many ways to think about how our world got indus­tri­al­ised is to think of it in three over­lap­ping phases:

  • Phase 1: Liberating Humans—The indus­tri­al revolu­tion lib­er­ated soci­ety from a less civ­il­ised (and much poorer) agrari­an lifestyle.
  • Phase 2: Utilising Humans—The indus­tri­al revolu­tion util­ised soci­ety by school­ing us into util­it­ari­an single-out­put instruments.
  • Phase 3: Replacing Humans—Finally, the AI revolu­tion will replace the last human in favour of bet­ter machines.

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:

  • As PR pro­fes­sion­als, is it our job to ease the replace­ment pro­cess by man­aging humans while AI machines slowly take over?
  • If so, will it be our last job as PR pro­fes­sion­als to “see ourselves out” before “turn­ing off the lights” and hand­ing over the “office keys” to autonom­ous com­mu­nic­a­tion protocols?

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?

Artificial intelligence, visual art, highly detailed - PR Beyond AI
“Meet our new PR intern” (Midjourney V4).

Read also: The Reykjavik Press Release — ChatGPT

PR Beyond AI: An Optimist’s Outlook

Artificial Intelligence and Public Relations - The Future Office - Doctor Spin - The PR Blog
Every path is going to lead you some­where. (Photo: @jerrysilfwer)

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:

  • More high-level tasks, less low-level. The use of AI-powered tools to auto­mate tasks such as media mon­it­or­ing, con­tent cre­ation, and social media man­age­ment. This could free up PR pro­fes­sion­als to focus on their work’s more stra­tegic and cre­at­ive aspects.
  • Improved ana­lys­is and bet­ter strategies. The devel­op­ment of AI-powered sys­tems that can ana­lyse large amounts of data to identi­fy trends and insights that can inform PR strategy and decision-making.
  • Using PR pro­fes­sion­als as AI train­ers. Using AI-powered chat­bots and vir­tu­al assist­ants to handle cus­tom­er inquir­ies and provide inform­a­tion to the pub­lic allows PR pro­fes­sion­als to scale PR training.
  • Better pub­li­city through inter­con­nectiv­ity. The cre­ation of AI-powered plat­forms and net­works that can facil­it­ate con­nec­tions and col­lab­or­a­tions between PR pro­fes­sion­als, journ­al­ists, pub­lics, influ­en­cers, and oth­er crit­ic­al stake­hold­ers in the industry.
  • Earlier detec­tions of poten­tial PR issues. AI-powered tools can help PR pro­fes­sion­als identi­fy and mit­ig­ate poten­tial crisis situ­ations by ana­lys­ing data and provid­ing early warn­ing sig­nals of poten­tial problems.
  • Increased edit­or­i­al out­put. In organ­isa­tions where the com­mu­nic­a­tions depart­ment is driv­ing the con­tent strategy, PR pro­fes­sion­als will have plenty of tools for increas­ing both the qual­ity and the quant­ity of the out­put (see also arti­fi­cial con­tent explo­sion).

Overall, the impact of AI on the PR industry is likely to be sig­ni­fic­ant, with the poten­tial to revolu­tion­ise many aspects of how PR pro­fes­sion­als work and inter­act with their audi­ences.

Read also: PR Beyond AI: A New Profession Emerging From the Rubble

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.

Read also: AI & PR: Beware the Artificial Content Explosion

Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing it with oth­er PR- and com­mu­nic­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als. For ques­tions or PR sup­port, con­tact me via jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

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