In just five days, ChatGPT amassed over a million users. It took Facebook and Netflix ten months and three years respectively to reach this milestone.
While it might sound cliché, there’s no doubting ChatGPT’s unprecedented impact on the global tech community. Put simply, Bill Gates said, “This will change our world”. Is it me, or does that sound a bit ominous?
Well, the capacity to sound human-like, write code for developers, essays for students, and tell chuckle-worthy jokes is kind of freaky, albeit impressive. Even though we’ve long known this is the direction artificial intelligence (AI) is going, ChatGPT’s seemingly boundless ability to create content does raise questions about the need for certain jobs.
Many journos and content creators are already worried: How does AI like ChatGPT impact PR and the media?
We’ve played around with the tool, asked the PR experts, and gathered some useful insights to guide you through the implications of the industry. Let’s dive right in!
Will AI Take Over PR? Here’s Why We Think It Won’t
Experts in the field have weighed in on this pressing question, and though they find the tool useful, they recognize where to draw the line.
Sjoerd Martens, Partner, and Chief Client Officer at Publicize expressed his view on the potential of AI.
“At this point, I’m not worried about ChatGPT replacing content writers, for example, because I believe nothing can replace the human element and that’s at the heart of what clients are looking for in PR.”
And what’s more, since the ChatGPT we’ve used for free is a research preview (unlike the paid Plus version), it’s currently riddled with limitations that make us take answers with a pinch of salt.
One of the chatbot’s constraints is the inability to get the latest news. The tool only counts on a database that stops at 2021 and can’t access the internet to pull updated information. This means it won’t be much help for accurate trend-spotting or media monitoring.
Unfortunately, the tool also lacks objectivity. Its answers might incur bias, misinformation, and even discriminatory takes replicated from the internet. However, OpenAI recognized and warned users about this, stating their Moderation API is helping improve answers.
While the tool evolves and fixes these bugs, it’s unlikely to replace content writers and PR professionals. Ultimately, it’s the human touch that gives writing substance and depth.
The Positives: How It Can Help PR Professionals
Our job is highly collaborative. We immerse ourselves in other industries and learn new things from our peers to write stories that engage with multiple audiences. We could use a comprehensive database that summarizes information and gets our creative juices flowing. This is where AI tools can lend us a hand.
Although ChatGPT can be faulty, some of its capabilities make for a perfect partner in content creation. We reviewed the tool’s strongest attributes and listed its best uses:
- Brainstorming: Article ideas, social media posts, and listicles.
- Making information more digestible: Analogies, examples, merging ideas, and summarizing and rewriting text.
- A starting point for content creation: Add your personal touch to prompt answers by editing them for accuracy and tone.
A rule of thumb for AI tools is to ensure your prompt is as specific as possible. The more detailed your request, the more accurate answers you’ll receive. Plus, its thread feature lets you piggyback on your previous request, so you can refine answers until you get the result you’re looking for.
The Negatives: Possible Detractors and What To Avoid
People’s excitement and amazement over ChatGPT were followed by worry—educators, cybersecurity experts, and content creators, among others, weren’t so keen on the idea of AI-generated content due to concerns about copyright, data breaches, and low-quality editorial overload.
As you warm up to the tool and use it for work, there are some best practices to consider along the way. Here are some no-nos when using ChatGPT:
- Copy-pasting answers
- Sharing confidential information in prompts—your data is being used
- Asking moral or ethical questions
- Trusting it without fact-checking
- Becoming completely dependent on it
Fact-checking is a must. In many instances, ChatGPT has been known to mix and make up information. For example, Harry McCracken, a journalist at Fast Company, spoke about asking the year the first cartoon was released on TV. It sent back several inaccurate answers before landing on the right one.
Lastly, quality should always surpass quantity. With AI tools, there could be an overabundance of content that lacks accuracy and engaging narratives. Last year, Google took it upon itself to mitigate this issue. The search engine outlined what content would rank higher on searches, and said they favored expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Anything AI generated would be considered spam.
The buzz around ChatGPT is justified, but the technology is still so new and underdeveloped that we must be wary. However, the outlook is positive.
In the future, tools like these could take over repetitive and time-consuming tasks while we focus on specialized assignments. When it comes to how AI like ChatGPT impacts PR, it can become our right hand to kickstart ideas and organize our thoughts. Better said, it’s a tool to make us more productive and efficient creators, rather than a tool to replace us.