Atul Sharma
Guest Article

Striking the Balance: Generative AI in the world of PR 

Our guest author navigates GenAI's impact on PR, emphasising the need for industry regulations to steer the course of innovation responsibly.

In an era where technology is rapidly evolving, public relations professionals are increasingly exploring innovative tools to improve overall client experience. Amongst these disruptive technologies, Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds great potential to improve content, messaging, and processes and enhance overall creative output. However, while we're all enticed by the allure of rapid content generation, it's crucial to exercise caution and ensure that adequate regulations are in place to govern the use of Generative AI in PR. It will be important to take a step back and talk about the importance of instating regulations and why PR professionals should tread carefully when embracing Generative AI for content creation.

If you yawned a little and wondered why do I sound so clinical, then my friend, that was Generative AI writing for you – the latest disruptor in the market. There isn't an iota of doubt that artificial intelligence has been transforming industries across the world.

Strides have been made in how AI is being used for mankind's benefits for decades now – be it in healthcare, where robotic surgeries have been carried out, or education, wherein smart classes have equipped the young, bright minds of the next generation with the requisite skills.

Today, AI has touched every industry in one way or another by virtue of the fact that it is in the generative realm now.  

And the communications industry is not very far behind. We have experienced the benefits of this emerging technology first-hand in different aspects of Public Relations.

Take, for instance, data analysis, which provides us with crucial information on consumer behaviour, enabling us to devise tailor-made strategies for brands. Or, consider the applications of Generative AI, which have empowered young professionals to produce content of higher standards for our clients, elevating their brand narrative with crisp storytelling.

But like every other industry that has laid down regulations for using AI, we too need our own set of guiding principles that act as our North star when it comes to using artificial intelligence, especially Generative AI.

It isn't a choice but an imperative for the industry, and it needs to be done now. Because when casually used, it spells disaster for all of us as PR practitioners.

Gen AI can compromise confidentiality, be a responsible prompter  

Back in February this year, when Alphabet launched Bard, it lost $100 billion because Gen AI answered a query incorrectly. Similarly, a tech giant banned Chat GPT and other similar platforms when they found out that confidential data was being loaded onto these platforms by employees while giving prompts.  

Generative AI scouts through widely available information as well as data that has been scraped off the internet to generate a response, thus posing a risk of copyright infringements. If the information used to generate a response is another organisation's intellectual property, we can end up creating a crisis for our clients rather than mitigating it.   

Further, there are no prizes for guessing that keying in prompts with confidential data can lead to blasphemous outcomes for a brand, including loss of business and, consequently, a mammoth PR crisis to manage for the PR consultants in question. But if we have a set of regulations in place, we can significantly reduce the risks of data leaks and even misinformation about our clients.  

Even Gen AI has its biases; look out for them 

While attempting to understand Generative AI platforms, I realised that it necessarily cannot understand the cultural sensibilities of a certain geography when creating content, at least not as of now.

It takes cues from information, opinions and views from across the world to generate a response, which may not necessarily be the ideal answer. The logic is simple here. All Generative AI platforms available to us have been developed in the West and, therefore, are heavily influenced by Caucasian sensibilities. 

While there is ample work happening around the globe to make Gen AI more global in its outlook, as of now, we would need a few guidelines to ensure that the information generated suits regional narratives and the cultural sensibilities of the geography we are aiming to cater to.  

Adding versatility to human ingenuity 

Generative AI is a great enabler and can add versatility to a team by promoting creativity among people. A fine example is right in this article when you read the introduction and the latter part. Each one of us has many thoughts and ideas that we are unable to communicate eloquently. Generative AI allows us to do that.

Nevertheless, we need to remember that it is the thought behind it and our ideas that are the seeds of creativity and nothing can replace them. Thus, to use Generative AI as a substitute for human ingenuity and intelligence will be erroneous on our part.  

Our industry is all about building strong relationships based on trust. Generative AI plays a crucial role in this. It's important for our industry to come together and create rules for using AI ethically. We're not just using AI to tell stories; we're making it more important in various roles to benefit our clients.

To do this, we need to find a balance with Generative AI. We should make the most of its potential while keeping our core principles in mind: building trust and creating high-quality stories. This journey involves blending technology with our values to make communication better, responsible, and more enriching.

(Our guest author is Atul Sharma, President of PRCAI and CEO of Ruder Finn India and Head – Middle East)

Have news to share? Write to us