Georges Nellany

In a world where the rapid ascent of Artificial Intelligence casts a cold cloud over job security, career savvy individuals are beginning to shiver – and that too can be said about PR professionals. Will AI replace the skilled practitioners who have long been the lifeblood of this industry? The fear is palpable, but history has a way of revealing a different truth. It tells us that job roles evolve alongside technological innovations, and it reminds us of those individuals who boldly embraced change and emerged stronger than ever.


Enter Dorothy Vaughan, a woman whose story of adaptation at NASA serves as a beacon of inspiration. For those of you who need reminding, Dorothy was portrayed by Octavia Spencer in the 2016 Oscar nominated film “Hidden Figures”. As the world witnessed the birth of computers, Vaughan saw not a threat, but an opportunity. A skilled mathematician, she took it upon herself to master the intricacies of programming, becoming an invaluable asset to NASA. Her story illuminates a path for PR professionals, showing them that they too possess the power to navigate the ever-changing landscape of technology and make themselves indispensable in the face of AI.


It is time for PR professionals to seize the reins of their destiny, to transform their fear into fuel for innovation. Rather than cowering in the shadows, they must step boldly into the light, embracing the potential that AI holds. For AI, with its ability to automate mundane tasks, opens a world of possibilities for PR experts – a world where strategic thinking, creativity, and relationship-building take centre stage.


The Era of AI in PR


In today's ever-evolving PR landscape, AI has already established its presence as a game-changer, revolutionising processes and enhancing effectiveness. By harnessing the power of AI, we gain access to invaluable tools capable of analysing colossal volumes of data, detecting patterns, and automating mundane tasks like media monitoring – all extremely valuable when delivering data-driven campaigns for clients. While some perceive this as a potential menace to human PR professionals, we can draw inspiration from the remarkable journey of Dorothy Vaughan to navigate this new era with confidence.


AI technologies serve as a force multiplier, allowing us to unlock unparalleled levels of efficiency and productivity. With the ability to process vast amounts of information in a fraction of the time it would take a human, AI enables us to uncover invaluable insights and identify emerging trends that may have otherwise eluded us. Moreover, automating routine tasks liberates PR professionals from the shackles of monotonous work, enabling them to focus on more strategic and creative endeavours.


In the face of this technological advancement, it is essential to adopt a proactive and adaptive approach. Rather than fearing the rise of AI, we should embrace it as a powerful ally in our pursuit of excellence. By acquiring a deep understanding of AI's capabilities and limitations, we can effectively leverage its potential to augment our own abilities. This symbiotic relationship between human expertise and AI-driven tools will enable us to thrive in the dynamic and fast-paced world of modern PR.


Harnessing Human Skills


AI may have the ability to automate certain tasks, but it falls short of replicating the distinct human skills that are integral to the PR industry. Just as Dorothy Vaughan utilised her problem-solving abilities as a human computer, PR professionals can leverage their strengths in relationship building, emotional intelligence, and creativity. These skills are critical for captivating narratives, handling crises, and establishing trust with stakeholders. By combining AI tools with these human skills, PR professionals can deliver added value and set themselves apart in the industry.


Dorothy Vaughan's journey also underscores the significance of collaboration and teamwork. Despite her own adaptation to the IBM 7090, she willingly shared her knowledge and trained her colleagues, fostering a culture of collaboration. In the PR industry, collaboration between humans and AI is essential for driving innovation. AI-powered tools can offer insights based on data, whilst PR professionals can interpret and apply those insights to create effective communication strategies. By working together, humans and AI can achieve more substantial outcomes and catalyse innovation in the realm of PR.


Dorothy Vaughan's experience of adapting to technology at NASA imparts valuable lessons for the PR industry in the era of AI. Rather than fearing the potential of AI to replace human PR professionals, we should embrace its advantages and possibilities. By recognising the potential of AI, continuously learning and upskilling, harnessing our unique human skills, and nurturing collaboration with AI, PR professionals can flourish in this ever-evolving landscape. Dorothy Vaughan's example serves as a reminder that, like her, we possess the ability to adapt, make ourselves indispensable, and shape the future of PR where humans and AI work in harmony to achieve success.

Ultimately, if you asked modern-day mathematicians if they feared calculators replacing their jobs, they would probably laugh in your face.