Last month, Futurism released an article alleging that Sports Illustrated has been publishing content from artificial intelligence (AI) software. The catalyst to this accusation was an article posted on the website written by “Drew Ortiz.” This article in particular seemed to use language that was robotic and unconventional. After further investigation, Futurism found Drew Ortiz’s author profile picture, along with other Sports Illustrated authors’ profile photos were for sale on a website that sold AI generated headshot pictures. When Futurism reached out to Sports Illustrated Magazine’s publisher, The Arena Group, for a response, they slyly removed all the alleged articles and author profiles in question. The Arena Group later provided a statement which shifted the blame claiming that they do not use AI generated articles and that the content was from their external third-party partner, who use pseudo names in articles to protect author privacy.
Learning from the Sports Illustrated blunder, it is important to recognize the benefits and limitations of AI within the field of communication. When utilized in the correct way, AI can be a useful tool for public relations professionals to create efficiencies.
Based on the PRSA guidelines for the ethical use of AI, here are some ways on how to properly and appropriately implement AI into your daily PR tasks:
- Media Monitoring: AI media monitoring tools like Google Alerts or Meltwater are highly valuable tools in enhancing and targeting your search capabilities for client insights. These platforms can gather real-time industry trends, client mentions, and sentiment analysis. This can aid not only in more effective analysis of the public perception of your client, but also campaign creation.
- Generating Ideas for Written Materials: If you have a case of writer’s block, AI can be a great starter to spur a little inspiration. This can be a great jumping off point for written material. However, unlike Sports Illustrated, never post any written AI materials without reading, editing, and fact checking it first.
- Search for Media Contacts: AI can be invaluable in optimizing time efficiency in identifying industry-specific journalists and publications. From its targeted search capabilities, there is potential to find journalists in niche areas. However, always make sure you do your own fact checking to ensure the reporter is still with the publication, the publication still exists, and they actually cover the beat you’re looking for.
- Translate Materials into Different Languages: AI can quickly translate materials into various languages, which can enhance audience reach and effective communication with diverse audiences. Again, checking for accuracy is essential here.
- Create Specific Images for Marketing Materials: Sometimes, stock photos that match your ideas simply do not exist. If you can’t find what you are looking for, try your luck by typing your criteria into an AI image generator.
There’s no question that Al tools can be an extremely beneficial in public relations. However, the technology does not replace the role of a PR practitioner. It is important to note that AI is not perfect and can come with its own potential issues like pulling irrelevant information, lacking coherence, plagiarizing language, and more. As PR professionals, it is our responsibility to critique any results from AI to ensure what we produce is accurate, original, and aligns with our clients messaging. We can embrace new technological advancements while still upholding the values and integrity of the field.