AI in Public Relations: Is it viable for long-term original solutions?

AI in Public Relations: Is it viable for long-term original solutions?

AI in Public Relations: Is it viable for long-term original solutions?

Admin | 09 July 2024

Automation has been identified as an enabler of numerous sectors, and Public Relations (PR) has been the same. This is being done through the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and PR professionals seem to have benefitted immensely through this. Automating recurring activities such as research, drafting communication strategies and others are being done through AI, but questions have been raised over its viability in the long run.

Following ChatGPT, other tech giants like Microsoft, Google and others have introduced unique LLMs (Language Learning Models). The impact of this on the PR sector cannot be underestimated in today’s digital world, where AI adoption rates are witnessing a meteoric rise across the globe. According to the latest surveys, a staggering 80% of PR professionals are using AI in their everyday job. Additionally, 65% of these users have revealed that they are satisfied with the outputs of several AI models, highlighting the growing dependence on AI by today’s PR professionals. Tech giant Google has already indicated that it does not necessarily mind AI-written content, as long as it meets their standard but PR clients have been identified as increasingly wary of artificial content while prioritizing human-driven communication strategies. This is putting a shadow over the viability of AI in PR for long-term solutions and significant reasons.

Concerns over accuracy, reliability and originality

While AI offers a marvellous avenue to automate many recurring tasks for PR professionals, it is not foolproof. GenAI is presently limited to being LLMs, and its database is based on the content out there. In fact, AI has been known to offer inaccurate information that is far from being reliable through its database, sourcing it from inaccurate origins. On the other hand, the developers have tried to base these sources on authentic, reliable libraries such as newspaper articles, but that has resulted in lawsuits from the said news outlets. Furthermore, AI-generated content is often inspired by content from other sources, which means the matter of originality and linguistic innovativeness are simply absent in these. When aligned with the PR sector, clients all over the world are expressing concerns over these aspects, and PR professionals must place their concerns above everything else to provide an optimal PR experience.

At best, AI remains a massive effort in progress when concerned about accuracy, reliability and originality. Until and unless developers provide a way for AI with some abilities to cross-check references, the accuracy and reliability aspects are expected to remain under the cloud. As for originality, significant research and innovation will be needed so these LLMs do not rely on prior references to generate outputs and can replicate human intelligence as its name suggests.

Safety and confidentiality

PR professionals have almost always access to exclusive company data that are highly secretive. While they keep the sanctity of this information intact, using this data to create communication outlays like press releases or paid articles can lead to a potential data breach. For example, if a publicly listed company shares exclusive data of an upcoming collaboration, and the data is leaked into the public domain through an unsanctioned usage of LLM chatbots, it may potentially manipulate the stock exchange and investors. Such instances have already been recorded globally, like when an AI-enabled application played a critical role in a data breach at prominent US telecom provider T Mobile.

Considering safety and confidentiality aspects in mind, PR professionals need to refrain from using sensitive client data on AI interfaces to avoid any wrongdoings. AI chatbots are increasingly becoming victims of fraudulent activities across the world, and keeping a long-term sustainable view does not sound very promising just yet.

Copyright infringements

While statistics reveal that PR professionals are increasingly integrating AI into their daily tasks, it makes them vulnerable to plagiarism and copyright infringements of original works. Generative AI (GenAI) models that are adept in crafting text or images for PR usage, can be copies of original works across the world. This opens up the possibility of lawsuits to the clients. For example, some newspapers filed a lawsuit against prominent American AI developers OpenAI and Microsoft in 2024 for violating the copyrights of their original content. It was later revealed that these tech giants used original articles published in their newspapers and websites to train their language models without taking any permission or severance packages. Similar instances have been recorded elsewhere in the world in the last few years, and PR professionals must be cautious while crafting official communiques using GenAI.

While GenAI’s ability to craft narratives through interactive communique is admirable, the fact that it could lead to prolonged legal battles that can tarnish the reputation of clients does not instil confidence in its use in the long term. This has led to many organisations banning the usage of AI for official work across the world, including popular American EV manufacturer Tesla.

AI diminishes individual creativity

Maintaining corporate relationships, image management or PR in general, remains a highly creative job. The usage of singular words in communiques can alter a client’s image entirely — for better or for worse. While a traditional approach in PR has seen industry experts embrace innovation through experiments, new-age PR professionals are often opting for the shorter way. While the usage of AI can be understandable in a few particular instances, the continuous usage of AI diminishes individual creativity in the long run. For example, PR professionals who use LLMs to draft press releases are often left stationary when they do not have access to the particular bot. Additionally, LLMs do not always deliver cutting-edge communication, and their output often has to be reworked significantly. However, this practice ultimately leads to considerably diminished critical thinking and creativity for PR professionals and has the potential to act as a barrier to career growth. Similar to PR professionals, these communiques also impact the storytelling and narrative-building efforts for clients, who are left with an undistinguished corporate reputation, similar to many of their peers. 

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