In the prestigious, lucrative fields of law and finance, humans are already being wiped out by artificial intelligence (AI).
Those responsible for the bottom line can achieve cost efficiency and improved quality by creating models to replace human manpower. Soon enough, cliche gallows humor will become common: The last lawyer or trader to leave the building, turn out the lights.
Big chunks of public relations services could be next. For example, take crisis communications.
Experts in the field, such as Gene Grabowski, partner at kglobal, can be appointed to a team to generate inclusive models for every known and potential kind of crisis. Grabowski's disruptive thinking has been widely covered, including in PR Week.
The model would "walk" organizations and individuals in crisis through all the musts as well as the options for all scenarios. The hotel you own is the site of terrorism. The programming spits out:
- You must do these X things. And that's why you must have a crisis communications plan prepared, approved and continually updated. Here are the templates, such as press release formats, for communicating with constituencies. There is also an up-to-date global establishment/social media list.
- You could do these Y things. Here are the data on the cost-benefit of each option. For instance, should you make a generous gesture of providing scholarships for the children of hotel workers killed in the attack?
Part of the programming for the pre-crisis plan would provide top-shelf coaching in how to manage the media, conversations to have internally and how to reassure the financial community. That would be much like psychotherapy delivered digitally.Here is the coverage in Scientific American on 10 of those mobile therapy apps.
Public relations leaders might balk. They could hammer that most clients demand in-person continual service. That's especially the situation during crisis.
But, not so fast.
Even my Baby Boomer generation has been weaned from in-person and phone customer service. Increasingly in our actual professional life, we never meet in person or even talk on the phone with prospects or, later, with clients.
More of the contacting is through email and texting. Moreover, the work has become transactional. It's in and out. We do the project. And that's that, at least for a while or for ever. Relationship consulting is less the norm. Frantic clients want their problem solved. End of story.
As Don Draper put it in "Mad Men," clients come and clients go. The ad agency only blinked when it lost anchor client Lucky Strike
Currently, with client churn becoming standard in professional services, public relations players have to be among those figuring out how to integrate AI. During the pitching process, prospects may ask how you are using technology. And with growing churn, we are always pitching.
It is not futuristic to anticipate that a mid-level public relations expert enters the office and finds a robot sitting at his or her desk. The expert can partner with the robot or resign.
When word-processing was introduced to in-house executive communications, the powers that be gave us a choice: We could learn how to compose content electronically instead of on our yellow legal pads. Or we could take a package.
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