When most people hear the words artificial intelligence, an array of science fiction heroes and villains immediately springs to mind. Managers often struggle to connect the possibilities of this new technology with anything grounded in today’s world. In fact, artificial intelligence (AI) is a rapidly evolving field, and it has the ability to transform how we communicate with each other and with the public. Here are just a few of the ways that public relations and communications professionals can benefit from this emerging trend.
1. Enabling real-time market insights
One of the most powerful uses of artificial intelligence is in marketing research. Whether your operation is a business or nonprofit, keeping a finger on the pulse of public opinion is crucial to proactive response. AI can analyze public sentiment via social media posts and by sifting through rapidly changing statistical data. It can even shape customer perception of your company when they visit its website by recommending relevant news. Because sophisticated machine learning systems are central to creating the algorithms behind these analytical tools, machine learning security is going to become critical to every organization’s AI infrastructure as the technology matures.
2. Enhancing business analytics
In the same vein, AI technology can just as easily be turned towards enhancing your organization’s self-knowledge. Business analytics is the process of using knowledge of past performance to aid in future planning. Artificial intelligence massively streamlines what used to be a long slog through a general ledger by using numerical analysis and modeling programs to make more accurate predictions of future performance. What does this mean for public relations? Insight. Having more sound knowledge of where an organization is headed and why helps PR professionals tell its story, and weaving together that narrative out of raw facts is what public relations is all about.
3. Creating lifelike chatbots
An increasingly common use for AI is in the creation of chatbots for customer service. While research does continue to show that the public vastly prefers interacting with a live operator, chatbots are just too convenient to go away. In fact, research shows that chatbot use increases sales by around 67% simply because they are always available on-demand. Thanks to advancements in natural language processing (NLP), chatbots are increasingly capable of understanding nuances in a conversation, which lets them field more complicated queries. Nothing will ever be able to replace the human touch, but adding chatbots means greater opportunities to interact with the public on their own timetable.
4. Automating repetitive tasks
Likely the most obvious advantage of artificial intelligence lies in pure automation. AI-powered applications can translate text or audio files into different languages, extract data like names and places from document files and even run digital marketing campaigns almost on autopilot. Customer relationship management software has been generating a lot of buzz in the business world and for good reason. Virtual assistants are another valuable AI-based time-saver. These programs aid people in day-to-day office life by doing menial tasks like scheduling appointments and building timesheets. Think of them as a helping hand to free human PR staff to do what they do best, which is to think creatively.
5. Keeping your organization safe
Artificial intelligence isn’t just valuable to the communications field for what it can do, but also for what it can prevent from happening. AI algorithms can, for example, recognize and flag objectionable content on official social media channels. In an era of cultural divide and ideology-driven trolling campaigns that result from it, the ability to keep your digital presence clean and professional is critical. These tools can also call attention to deep fake videos and other forms of intellectual property theft, which can head off loss of reputation before it happens.
The development of artificial intelligence could take the world in many directions. What is certain right now is that it’s fueling a quiet revolution in how people relate to and communicate with each other. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of AI is the potential it holds for enhancing the human element in a globally connected world.