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The Bottom Line: AI Can't Read the Room

Robot using a laptop computer

I've been fortunate to spend quite a bit of time with colleagues from across the country recently, and one of the hottest topics has been ChatGPT and its implications in the public relations industry. ChatGPT is, at its most basic, is artificial intelligence - a chat bot. Ask it a question, or give it an assignment, and it gives you content.

There's a lot of debate about the implications of the tool for the communications industry, so I thought I'd try an experiment. I asked ChatGPT to "write a blog post to CEOs about why AI won't replace communications." Here's the result:

"AI and Automation in the Workplace: Why AI Won't Replace Communications

As CEOs, you may be wondering about the impact of AI and automation on your workforce, and specifically, the role of AI in communication. However, despite the advancements in technology, AI is not likely to replace human communication in the workplace.

Here are several reasons why AI will not replace human communication:

  1. Emotional Intelligence: AI may be able to mimic human speech and respond to inquiries, but it lacks the ability to understand and respond to emotions, sarcasm, and humor. This emotional intelligence is an essential component of effective communication and cannot be replicated by AI.

  2. Contextual Understanding: AI is only as good as the data it has been trained on and may struggle to understand the context of a situation. Humans have the ability to analyze and understand the context, allowing them to tailor their communication accordingly.

  3. Creativity: AI can only generate responses based on existing data and algorithms. Human communication, on the other hand, is capable of generating new ideas and perspectives.

  4. Flexibility: AI systems can be rigid in their responses and may not be able to adapt to changing situations or new information. Human communication, however, can be flexible and can adapt to new situations.

In conclusion, AI may be able to automate certain aspects of communication, but it will never be able to fully replace human communication. Emotional intelligence, contextual understanding, creativity, and flexibility are all essential components of effective communication and can only be provided by human interaction."

Let's face it... It's a great post! It's the right length, is well-written overall, and is 100% accurate. However, to illustrate ChatGPT's point, the piece lacks personality, real-life examples to emphasize a point, and a full understanding of the greater context in which it was written. Put another way, AI can't read the room. And reading the room is absolutely essential to effective communication.

As long as communications executives stay focused on strategic communications, carefully considering everything that can impact how a message is received, such as voice, bias and context, and taking a comprehensive approach to communication, including internal and external communication, social media, customer care, and more, we have nothing to worry about. In fact, we can use tools like this to be more effective and efficient.

There's no question AI is going to transform the public relations industry. The bigger question is how we will respond and take advantage of the opportunity. As a strong proponent of a strategic approach to communications, I, for one, am excited about the potential. How about you?


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