December 6, 2017
I know why AI is a “buzzword.” If you’re in public relations and you drank every time you heard a client or colleague say “AI,” you’d be more than buzzed. Before 10:00 a.m.
We participated in a webinar hosted by the PR Council, “AI: Friend or Foe.” Call it whatever you want but know this: AI is here and it’s a macrotrend as big as the dawn of the Internet or electricity, according to Scott Varland, SVP of Marketing Innovation at M Booth and his colleagues in the discussion.
At CooperKatz, it’s affecting almost every one of the industries our clients are in and it also has major implications for the way we do our jobs as PR pros. I’ve sat in countless meetings to learn about AI services for clients and thought, “Wow, that’s going to make the field so much more efficient and allow the practitioners to focus on more strategic work.” But inevitably, as I think about my own profession and my own value as a person, there’s some cognitive dissonance and, honestly, a little “Blade Runner” angst. As humans and professionals, we are full of proprietary, emotional, unique, irreplaceable, creative, “intelligent” insights. So I can’t help but think (mostly in jest): Robots and software, keep your virtual digits off our damn lunch.
We should take comfort in the fact that dystopian fears are a step on this journey. Garry Kasparov, who knows a thing or two about the man vs. machine dynamic (or better put, the man and machine relationship), acknowledges that fear is part of the evolution for any field grappling with how machine learning and humans interact. I have some fears about my boss being an AI or a machine. Or my children befriending them. But both are predicted to become realities. So instead of living in fear, let’s unleash what we do best in PR – our innate and, for now, uniquely human abilities to be creative and strategic with new business realities. That starts with some questions, many of them raised on the PR Council’s discussion.
Adapting the words from one of my favorite musicals, “I dreamed a dream of times AI.” Some of you may still see it as a foggy one, or even a nightmare. But if I could conjure an AI dream into a reality (and not the “Blade Runner” variety) it would be a world in which we’re using and partnering and yes, even relying on AI to focus us and raise our PR game. For the record, I want us to be gainfully employed, too. But I truly believe this technology will make us all smarter, more creative, more efficient and more focused on serving our clients. At CooperKatz, we aim to be inspired, clear and thoughtful and we’ll embrace any technologies that help us do that better. This one’s a biggie, my friends. It’s natural to fear it at first, but we must then learn about it, embrace it, deploy it, etc. What we can’t do, is ignore it.
Stay tuned for a follow-up post on how to help clients launch AI news intelligently.
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