Can Robots Take Over the Communications Industry
Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to radically change Wall Street. In five to ten years, AI is expected to play a significant role in every level of the value chain, from executing trades to providing wealth management advice to customers.
While the communications industry has largely escaped the scrutiny of AI, the advancement of technology isn’t going away and McKinsey has predicted that AI will touch every industry.
This impact of AI on the communications industry was the topic of a panel discussion organised by PublicAffairsAsia last week – ‘Talent and Tech: How to future proof your career’ – where Ang Shih-Huei, Partner and CEO of Klareco Communications, shared her perspective, amongst other panellists on the intersection of AI and PR.
AI will be a gamechanger
AI has the potential to radically change the communications industry for the better.
As communications professionals, we are often faced with a plethora of information that we need to process for our clients. Recently, I was asked by a global entertainment client, “What is the most significant campaign in Asia in the last few months?”. A broad question like that would require several hours or even days of research but if I had a communications robot – ‘Robi-Comms’ – at a push of a button, it could scour publications of all languages and present an accurate answer supported with hard data and facts.
From developing strategic communications programmes that underpin a business agenda to telling powerful stories that strike an emotional chord, AI allows communications professionals to move up the value chain by focusing on unconventional ways to drive better output for our clients.
Technology will create new roles in communications
With real-time data being used as an asset, the communications industry now needs to be able to make better sense of the data they have on hand. This calls for data scientists in the industry or communications professionals with a good command of data analytics.
Personally, as a CEO of a communications consultancy, I would love to have a team that purely focuses on futuristic planning – constantly imagining what the communications campaigns of the future look like or even predicting where our industry is going and shaping our offerings to meet the demand. With AI freeing up a lot of our time, I expect the industry to shift strongly towards professionals with ideation, design thinking and planning abilities.
Humans remain indispensable
There are fears that technology is going to overwhelm us and take over our jobs. But as you go deeper into AI, you will soon start to realise that the human element is critical. Technology has always been a dominant force but humans have always found a way to stay in the centre. This is the difference between the created and the creator.
Essentially, to be successful in communications, there are three important factors at play: credibility, trust, and relationships.
As communications professionals, we are in the business of building relationships with our clients at the most senior level and the human touch is indispensable. Despite major advances in AI, we are living in a world of unpredictability where the ability to anticipate, respond, think critically, and understand cultural nuances and personal interactions, is paramount and cannot be easily replicated by robots.
But truth to be told, AI is already changing the way you, as consumers, behave. It changes the way you have access to the news, the way you listen to music and even the way you travel. The reality is, while the usage of AI may not be as advanced as it is in other sectors, the advent of technology will not stop and communications professionals must remain nimble to adapt to the changing landscape. We need to develop skills including that of cognitive flexibility, negotiation and emotional intelligence to navigate the fast-changing landscape or risk being disrupted ourselves.