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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 by Jerry Silfwer (Instagram)

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
Visit the new PR department (Midjourney V4).

How AI Will Impact PR

There are several ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to impact the public relations (PR) industry. Some potential examples include:

  • 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 more strategic and creative aspects of their work.
  • 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 AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants to handle customer inquiries and provide information to the public allows PR professionals to focus on more complex tasks.
  • 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.
  • AI-powered tools can help PR professionals identify and mitigate potential crisis situations by analysing data and providing early warning signals of potential problems.

Overall, the impact of AI on the PR industry is likely to be significant, with the potential to revolutionise many aspects of the way 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

Thank you for reading this article. Please support my blog by sharing it with other PR- and communication professionals. For questions or PR support, contact me via [email protected].

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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