AI is enabling people to approach creative endeavors in a way that resembles math, blurring the line between art and science
The World Economic Forum predicted that the global AI industry will expand by a staggering 50% every year over the next five years and is forecasted to be worth $127 billion by 2025. However, when we talk about AI-driven automation, most of us tend to think about industrial robots used for manufacturing, self-driving cars and even vacuum cleaners. But, there is one process that has already been automated much more than many of us realize: content production. A blog statement published by Ubermetrics only few years ago.
On January 21st, 2021 I had the pleasure to hold an online lecture about the trends in the communication profession infront of BA students from the Technical University in Ilmenau, Germany on the kind invitation of Dr. Andreas Schwartz and Tatjana Faj.
We started the talk about digital marketing with how Facebook's algorithms are responsible for what 2.3 billion people see around the world and why AI`s impact on marketing as described on the graphic below:
Source: Leggett, K., 2018, AI`s impact on front-line marketing operations, TechTarget.com
One of my inspirations about the lecture was the resource center of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations dedicated to the #AIinPR exploring the impact and opportunities of artificial intelligence on public relations and the wider business community and the ethical side of the topic in particular.
Keeping students curious about technical knowledge so much that getting acquainted with the various intelligent solutions applied in the profession is essential for a successful career path.
A significant part of my academic practice is to stay open with young people and pass on experience from the real working environment sharing the challenges and opportunities.
With that said I had referred to the shortlist of skills of the future announced in the autumn of last year by the World Economic Forum.
Here I am sharing summarized overview of 21 PR tools divided to several categories which I have experience with and some picked from over 130 instruments listed by CIPR.
MailChimp - helping you send the right messages on all the right channels. You can build emails, social ads, landing pages, postcards, and more from one place by reaching the right people. Automated marketing tool using data and insights at one place.
Hubspot - the marketing automation software to help users connect with the right audience, convert more visitors into customers, and run complete inbound marketing campaigns at scale — all on one powerful, easy-to-use platform. Personally I really like it and here are some very useful free resources for students to explore: Website Grader, MakeMy Persona, Email Signature Generator, Blog Ideas Generator
Social Media Management
Sprinklr - basically my favorite social management tool. Here`s nice video saying all you need to know and be inspired to explore the app:
Mention - monitor everything said about any company, their products, competitors, and customers. React immediately to news and provide feedback to clients. Mention's powerful Facebook mention software means you never miss a post. What is different here from similar tools for social media monitoring is the very comprehensive representation of key metrics.
PressPage - simple newsroom and content creation with drag-and-drop functionality. The large database of over 860,000 media contacts and influencers together with the contact management system is great online working environment for press work. The functionality for downloadable reports is very useful and practical especially when working for dynamic companies.
AceMedia - kind of traditional digital asset management system where PR practitioners to store images and videos, publishing and archiving possibilities and press release creation menu.
Microsoft Dynamics - extend users capabilities by connecting to apps and services you use today. Built-in features help compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations and accessibility guidelines. Good tool for seamless events management.
Influential - quite different than Microsoft Dynamics, but still in the category. Connects brands with audiences via transparent data and machine learning. Obviously strong and creative team behind the platform. Enjoy the short promotional video for inspiration!
Audacity - with its comfortable interface, the platform allows users to import, edit, and combine sound files. Exporting of recordings is possible in many different file formats, including multiple files at once. Audacity can record live audio through a microphone or mixer, or digitize recordings from other media.
Ubermetrics - visually track information spread and influence paths across media segments in real-time.
Simulation Deck - offers comprehensive emergency preparedness services for government, military, private sector, and non-governmental organizations. The paid software application provides assessment, analysis, planning, policy development, training, and SimulationDeck-based exercises.
Comms Matrix - classify (traffic light) and flag risks that need to be actively managed by accessing your organization’s plans and collaborate with their team either onsite or remotely.
Engage in real time, secure crisis communication.
Alchemer - very useful tool for reporting and analysis which allow the user to access the data he need with presentation-ready charts, graphs, and even open text analysis. Features include: data visualizations and segmentation.
Google Scholar - simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. Search across a wide variety of disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books.
Grammarly - founded in 2009 with the goal of helping people communicate more effectively, the app grew the capabilities of an AI-powered writing assistant to go way beyond grammar and spelling into complex aspects of language and communication. Supports 20+ languages.
Hemingway - the app is a distraction-free writing and editing tool designed to help you polish your writing. It focuses on identifying common errors that bring down the quality of your prose: confusing sentence construction, overuse of weak adverbs, excessive passive voice, and the like
CiteThisForMe - offers a lot of high quality citations and multiple styles like MLA, APA and Harvard Style. As a result you can use your citations for any field and I can also use the plagiarism tool. Its very flexible and helps with capturing, sharing and keeping sources clean.
WeVideo - shared projects and libraries make it easy to manage projects and collaborate anywhere, anytime. User friendly environment for the creation of branded templates with a unified look.
Loom - easily produce videos to convey topics visually and embed them on your site without slowing it down. Has a full range of customizable features to let your audience to react, comment, and take action effortlessly.
Biteable - huge number of available video templates and footage versions. From ads to any animated video examples to support products or services.
GoAnimate - engaging tool popular for internal communication. Animated contact to support internal and external campaigns, blogs or other promotional activities.
In a blog by Falk Rehkopf are described the key benefits of AI in our profession reflecting on a positive way how we work: improving news accuracy and helping journalists to leave free time for more impactful work; increasing the level of objectivity based on big data, detecting fake news, etc. He also mentioned that while many communicators fear that AI-driven, automated content generation will render humans obsolete, Radar AI‘s editor-in-chief Gary Rogers says that
“while this has been true in most industries and may happen in media, there is a broader picture of AI’s enabling rather than employment-destroying qualities. AI can take over repetitive and boring tasks, which frees journalists to do more important work”.
While AI is giving us more power to be efficient and work on a high speed, it comes with the responsibility we have as practitioners.
Thinking of the amazingly fast growing AI integration in the economy we need to keep an eye on how AI is designed, built, used, and ask questions to ensure that it provides benefits for everyone with a clear edge to working in the public interest above all, as stated in the Ethics Guide to Artificial Intelligence in PR released by CIPR. The essence of ethical decisions; making thoughtful and thought-through choices.
Sources and useful links:
Chartered Institute of Public Relations, Artificial Intelligence in Public Relations, https://aiinpr.org/
Rehkopf, F. Automated Writing’: Implications for Digital Communicators, https://www.ubermetrics-technologies.com/blog/automated-writing-implications-for-digital-communicators/
Assay, M. AI automation promises to have a big, and not always positive, impact, https://www.techrepublic.com/article/ai-automation-promises-to-have-a-big-and-not-always-positive-impact/
G2 software reviews, https://www.g2.com/products/cite-this-for-me-formerly-refme/reviews
Elgan, M. Artificial intelligence needs your data, all of it, ComputerWorld, 22 February 2016 www.computerworld.com/article/3035595/artificial-intelligence-needs-your-data-all-of-it.html
Larsson, N. It’s an educational revolution’: how AI is transforming university life, The Guardian, 17 April 2019. www.theguardian.com/education/2019/apr/17/its-an-educational-revolution-how-ai-is-transforming-university-life
Lorica, B. Data collection and data markets in the age of privacy and machine learning, O’Reilly, 18 July 2018 www.oreilly.com/ideas/data-collection-and-data-markets-in-the-age-of-privacy-and-machine-learning
Pemberton, C. Gartner Predicts 2019: In Search of Balance in Marketing, Gartner, January 21 2019 www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/gartner-predicts-2019-in-search-of-balance-in-marketing/
Software and Information Industry Association, Ethical Principles for Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics, 15 September 2017 www.siia.net/Portals/0/pdf/Policy/Ethical%20 Principles%20for%20Artificial%20Intelligence%20and%20Data%20Analytics%20SIIA%20 Issue%20Brief.pdf
West, D. The role of corporations in addressing AI’s ethical dilemmas, The Brookings Institution, 13 September 2018 www.brookings.edu/research/how-to-address-ai-ethical-dilemmas/
West, D and Allen, J. How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming the World, Brookings Institution, April 24, 2018 www.brookings.edu/research/how-artificial-intelligence-is-transforming-the-world/