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  • Adam Riddell, Director

Humans needed - but AI upskilling is critical for comms pro

By Adam Riddell, Director, Crystal PR

New research undertaken by the CIPR has shone a light on the acceleration of AI adoption amongst PR and comms pros. It makes some key points:

  • AI adoption is growing – 40% say they have used AI to assist them in their day to day work. And that figure is growing.

  • There are clear segmented task types where AI can play a clear role. The study highlights communications tasks, organisational tasks and professional tasks. Comms and organisational tasks provide most scope for AI assisted working. They are more tactical, eg social media, monitoring.

  • But a human element remains critical when it comes to PR best practice. There are certain things machines can’t do – empathy, relationship building, ethical thinking, humour. They tend to see the world in black and white, when it isn’t. It is far more nuanced. Importantly, large language models also all base their ‘thinking’ on past/historic data. Humans want to think about the future.

The PR profession has a real opportunity here to be part of the wider AI movement at an organisational strategic level – there are synergies between the AI and PR communities, and other disciplines should welcome the input of informed PR professionals in such a rapidly evolving area.

PR pros can input into understanding the ethical implications of AI use, challenging its limitations and providing reputational oversight. The risk is not being part of those discussions and getting left behind.

A good starting point is to be using AI tools for ‘simpler’ tactical tasks, and build from there. Also, think about tasks not tools. It’s easy to get seduced by the constant wave of shiny new AI tools coming to market.

But the industry needs to make progress in this area quickly, up its game and get skilled. Otherwise it will get overtaken by other management functions.

A big thank you to the CIPR International Group for presenting on the study this week.


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