AI Implications for Communicators: What Does This Mean for Us?

June 19, 2024
By Bianca Kahele-Fontanilla and Jordan Ozaki

In the rapidly evolving landscape of strategic communications, artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping the way we operate. As senior in-house communicators, it's essential to understand both the opportunities and challenges that AI brings to our field. Here's a closer look at four major AI implications for communicators and how we can navigate this new terrain.

 

1. More Time Defending Against Misinformation

One of the most significant implications of AI is its role in the spread of misinformation. The ability to create deepfakes, generate articles and amplify "fake news" poses a substantial threat to public trust. A recent example from Slovakia underscores this concern: audio clips surfaced of the liberal party leader allegedly discussing vote rigging and raising the price of beer. Although later debunked, such incidents highlight the ease with which AI-generated content can undermine credibility and spread false information.

For communicators, this means we must allocate more time and resources to defend against misinformation. We need to be vigilant in monitoring social media and news platforms for false narratives and proactively counteract them with verified information. Building robust fact-checking mechanisms and fostering relationships with credible sources will be crucial in maintaining trust with our audiences.

 

2. Authenticity in Content Creation

While AI can automate many aspects of content creation, the human touch remains irreplaceable when it comes to authenticity and understanding nuances. Crafting content that resonates with audiences requires an in-depth understanding of cultural subtleties, emotional triggers and the specific needs of stakeholders. AI tools can assist in data analysis and trend identification, but the strategic insights and creative spark that come from human experience are what make content truly compelling.

Building a website with a few clicks or generating social posts at scale are tasks AI can handle. However, recognizing broader contexts, establishing meaningful connections and addressing inherent biases in content are areas where human expertise is indispensable. As communicators, we must leverage AI to enhance our capabilities, not replace them.

 

"AI tools can assist in data analysis and trend identification, but the strategic insights and creative spark that come from human experience are what make content truly compelling."

 

3. Stepping Outside Traditional Roles

AI's versatility enables us to step outside our traditional roles. Creatives can now delve into writing with AI tools that assist in generating copy. Writers can become data analysts, using AI to uncover insights from vast amounts of information. Financial analysts can contribute creatively, informed by data-driven storytelling.

This fluidity can drive innovation and efficiency. By embracing these expanded roles, we can foster a more collaborative and dynamic work environment. Encouraging cross-disciplinary learning and providing training in AI tools can empower teams to take on new challenges and create more integrated strategies.

 

4. Navigating the New Digital Divide

AI adoption will create a new digital divide: those who embrace AI and those who don't trust it. Skepticism can be a significant barrier, especially in an era where AI's influence will only continue to grow.

As communicators, we need to bridge this divide by advocating for ethical and transparent AI use. Educating our teams and stakeholders about the benefits and limitations of AI can help build confidence. Demonstrating how AI can augment — not replace — human intelligence is key in gaining trust.

AI presents both challenges and opportunities for communicators. By focusing on defending against misinformation, maintaining authenticity, embracing new roles and addressing the digital divide, we can harness AI's potential while safeguarding public trust. As we navigate this new landscape, our strategic insight and ethical considerations will remain our most valuable assets.