Why it’s time for PR to embrace augmented intelligence

By Katie King, Author and CEO of AI in Marketing,

A family of technologies, under the umbrella term of Artificial Intelligence (AI), is taking the PR world by storm. These emerging technologies are creating a new exciting marketing paradigm, but in true PR fashion, there is a huge amount of hype and scaremongering surrounding AI. It’s not surprising, given that AI is in the Gartner phase of a ‘peak of inflated expectation.’

Like most professionals rooted in their comfort zone, PR and marketing executives are worried about AI’s impact on their employability. In my book, Using Artificial Intelligence in Marketing (published by Kogan Page), I allay these fears, sharing evidence and insights drawn from extensive research amongst AI vendors like Amazon Web Services (AWS), tech companies who are disrupting established PR tasks, leading brands, analysts, academics and policy makers.

According to PwC, the reality is that AI will alter tasks dramatically, rather than replace wholescale jobs. They refer to the current period as one of ‘assisted intelligence’, which is segueing into augmented intelligence. The first wave of automation is primarily an automation of simple computational tasks and analysis of structured data. The second wave involves a more dynamic change to how many job tasks are conducted, particularly those that are routine and repeatable.  But the third wave of automation is one of autonomous AI and robotics, which automate tasks that involved physical labour or manual dexterity.

This is as relevant for PR as it is for other industry sectors including healthcare and tourism. My findings support this and indicate that PR professionals should begin to embrace AI, because it has the potential to make jobs more interesting and less mundane, eradicating the 3 D’s: ‘dirty, dull and dangerous’.  That’s why it’s being referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.

In the book I share real-world examples, both successes and failures, as well as practical implementation strategies. I feature tech disruptors in marketing such as Conversica, Amperity, Luminoso, Qriously and Kortical.  My scorecard covers a number of key areas, from mindset to culture, and experimenting to having a roadmap.  But the decision about when and how to apply AI, hinges on the goals of the organisation. To quote Gartner, do you choose to be a laggard or an innovator?

As Stephen Waddington, CIPR Past President states in the book: “I would urge anyone to take a proactive approach to technology within their organization. Explore the changes that technology is driving in media and PR… The current wave of innovation is creating a huge variety of new channels for public engagement. These include messenger bots, voice marketing and image recognition. Appoint people within your organization to investigate different forms of technology, and the opportunity to create new services.”

No one can accurately predict what will happen in the longer term. To an extent, this hinges on developments not just in the fields of AI and quantum computing, but also in neuroscience.  Chapters in the book present the complex business and societal issues such as motivation, job losses, ethics, and trust which certainly need to be tackled. I’m part of a new UK All-Party Parliamentary Group Taskforce which is looking at the adoption of AI in enterprise, but it’s important for all of us, in our departments and alongside our trade bodies, to make our voice heard and play a role in safeguarding our futures and employment.

Katie King is the CEO of AI in Marketing and the author of Using Artificial Intelligence in Marketing, published by Kogan Page. 

Save 25% as a CIPR member with code CIPR25 when you purchase the book here. 

Photo by Florian Weihmann from Pexels


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