News: A game-changer: the impact of AI on corporate and brand communication

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THE creative and productivity opportunities as well as ethical, legal and societal issues around the use of generative artificial intelligence tools such as Open AI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard were discussed by professional communicators working across the private and public sector recently at an event hosted by the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII).

The keynote speaker was Andrew Bruce Smith, an AI public relations and communication technologist with over three decades of experience developing communication programs for major brands such as IBM and Apple. He has consulted for NATO, the UK Department of Environment, the NHS in the UK, Specsavers, Sky, Jaguar Land Rover, Disney and others. He is a fellow of the UK Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and chair of its AI in PR advisory panel.

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Earlier this year Smith co-authored a report on AI tools and their impact on public relations work and is regarded as one of the leading experts on this topic.

“Artificial intelligence is not just a tool, it’s a game-changer for the communication industry,” said Smith. “It’s crucial to understand both the opportunities and challenges it presents.”

“AI has the potential to revolutionize how we communicate, enhancing creativity and productivity, but it also raises important ethical and legal considerations. As communicators, we must be at the forefront of this change, guiding brands and organizations through the AI evolution responsibly and effectively.”

During his presentation Smith also looked at the longer-term strategic considerations for public relations practitioners including on jobs and skills, and further likely developments in artificial intelligence.

“It’s important our members, who advise their own and client organizations on corporate reputation and brand development, are not just skilled in the application of AI as a productivity aid and capable of advising on security, privacy and disinformation threats, but that they are actively guardians of the public’s trust in what they see, read and hear,” said PRII CEO Dr Martina Byrne.

Hosted at the ESB headquarters in Dublin, the event was part of the PRII 70 anniversary celebrations. The ESB was the first organization in Ireland to employ a public relations officer and that PRO, Ned Lawler, was a founder of the PRII seventy years ago this year.

Photo: Andrew Bruce Smith (left), AI public relations and communication technologist, and David Geary (right), PRII president.