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AI vs AE: minor difference, major impact

By Iosetta Santini

Do you also look around and see screens instead of eyes and machines instead of people? Are you noticing fewer check-out cashiers, fewer ticket inspectors, fewer factory workers, and instead seeing a lot of buttons to click and screens to touch?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expanding and is simultaneously dividing public opinion on whether this means evolution or revolution – but where does the PR industry stand in this complex scenario?
It seems impossible to me that PR professionals could ever be replaced by wires and automated ‘minds’. This industry needs brain power, creativity and passion that cannot be found in machines – yet!

Only time can tell if AI will ever be able to replace every human capability, but for the time being we can make an educated guess. Let’s take a look at the role AI is currently playing in PR and let’s try to understand what is behind these two (very significant) letters.

The programming for AI is complicated and hard to explain – or even understand. Let’s try and keep it simple; AI systems are based on large sets of data with fast-running and detailed algorithms, which allows the program to learn and adapt from patterns or features within the data. The objective of introducing AI in most industries is to support human work; in PR this happens through systems that can go as far as writing data-driven content, assisting in crisis management and even predicting media trends!

Specifically, AI can fulfil tasks such as identifying the best time to begin a campaign, creating compelling subject lines or content copy, finding effective social channels on which to deploy a campaign and suggesting which bloggers, influencers or journalists are best to approach – it seems AI could make a great member of the team!

But would you like a robot to replace your Account Executive? It is true, junior members of any team need guidance, they make mistakes and need time to learn. But machines can’t brainstorm, can’t bring new ideas to the table and can’t be a dynamic part of the team (they also can’t go for drinks!).

A successful PR agency needs to constantly bring their clients that mix of passion, creativity and determination, and sadly AI does not showcase this, however, the right AE certainly does!

Social media and creative software are great tools for content diversification, but without a human being sitting behind the screen they’re worthless – will this still be the case if AI becomes predominant? Human experience is a unique resource and what brings success to businesses cannot solely be dependent on artificial systems, as in fact the most sophisticated computer comes nowhere near the sophistication of the human brain. So where are you placing your bets AI (artificial intelligence) or AE (actual experience!) or a savvy combination of the two?