Thoughts on AI in Life and in PR

When ChatGPT was released in November of last year, I originally thought it was going to be similar to the Metaverse phenomenon we saw in 2021. Like the Metaverse, it created a frothy tech talent market, the stock market was reacting to it, and everybody was saying that it was “the way of the future” or “it’s going to change our lives.”

Almost nine months later, I was clearly wrong. AI is not only dominating the tech headlines regularly, but I’ve started incorporating it into my life more than I could the Metaverse. Of course, I didn’t have any plans to buy a VR headset as soon as the Metaverse was released. But therein lays the foundation for how AI, and more specifically generative AI, is going to change the world: it’s more easily accessible and has an impact on our lives without the need to “go” somewhere.

So where does this leave generative AI and the PR industry? Earlier this year, the PR Council published guidelines around the use of generative AI in PR work that provided a great framework for conversations we’ve been having internally at Gravitate PR.

Here are a few key takeaways from our discussions:

1. Informational Integrity is Paramount

When working with early-stage tech companies, we exchange important and proprietary information. AI bots like ChatGPT and Bard rely on user data, which can lead to sensitive information being leaked. As PR professionals, we must obtain client consent before using any AI tool, especially for sensitive information.

2. Verify Verify Verify

One of my favorite terms to come out of the AI craze of late is an “AI hallucination,” which is when the bot makes up an answer to a query. This is more commonplace than we think so, as PR professionals, we must be highly vigilant in the accuracy of the information an AI bot is returning to us.

3. View AI as a Tool and Not a Threat

We’re continuing to see articles in the press talking about how employees are worried that an AI bot will replace their position at their company. As PR professionals, AI could be an existential threat to what we do since now it’s able to draft copy, make visuals, and automate many of the processes we do on a daily basis. However we view AI as a tool that will continue to aid us in our everyday work. We encourage people to test out these different tools, whether it’s for brainstorming or workflow optimization, to better understand the ways that this technology can help us make our workday more efficient and productive while remaining true to our core purpose.

Since everybody and their mother wants to start utilizing AI, the opportunities to learn more about the technology and its application in the workplace are endless. I get 2-4 weekly emails about a webinar or a “how to” guide on implementing AI into our workflows - don’t let these go unanswered if they’re from a reliable source! One of the greatest things about a career in PR is that we constantly learn, so go to the webinars and share what you learn with your teammates and leadership because you never know if you’ll be able to save yourself a hassle by responsibly introducing AI into your work.

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Michael Terry Caraher
Michael Terry Caraher is an Senior Account Executive at Gravitate PR, where he works with clients in cybersecurity and HR technologies, as well as venture capital firms. In his role, he focuses on client research, account management, as well as speaking event placement and awards for clients.

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