I have seen a glimpse of the future impact of artificial intelligence on corporate communications – and it is good. AI will bring a new level of trust to information, improve the way information is delivered (i.e., via augmented reality and virtual reality apps) and provide better insights and predictive analytics for decision making by corporate communications professionals.
My exposure to artificial intelligence has primarily been in the trusted identity technology industry, where AI is starting to revolutionize the digitization of identity and access management, physical access control and cyber security, especially as a proactive approach to threat and fraud detection. The management of identities, either physical or digital, is changing rapidly, requiring new ways of thinking to add trust.
Trust is an important topic for corporate communications, too. If people do not trust the information coming from a corporation, credibility is lost. If people think the communications team is out of touch with market realities, is too slow to take action or doesn’t have a vision for the future, then corporate communications unwittingly gets relegated to a tactical corner, subject to the misperceptions and misgivings of narrow-minded, tactics-obsessed, transactional people.
We as corporate communications professionals should expect more from ourselves and our teams. I challenge my colleagues in this field to embrace the opportunities AI presents to augment our communications function in the long term, rather than being defensive, reactionary or ignorant that change will happen.
For the sake of sparking a new stream of dialogue in the communications field, I am going to lay out my case for how AI could help corporate communications in the years to come. I hope readers challenge my points and stretch our collective thinking so we can have an honest discussion about how to harness AI in a productive way to serve our strategic communications goals.
AI does not need to define us or replace us; we have the opportunity to define AI in the context of corporate communications, which includes both external and internal communications. AI technology itself is neither good nor bad. In fact, it is a reflection of the heart of the person using it or unleashing it through automation. Just as the internet has done for more than two decades, it can reveal as much moral clarity as it can moral depravity. Someone can use the internet to spread false or misleading information just as much as to post truthful information.
However, at a higher level, AI’s real value is in enhancing, supporting and amplifying human truth, human experience and, ultimately, human freedom. And I believe that organizations will increasingly become the purveyors of these things in the future. Ironically, AI can help enhance what it means for us to be human.
Here are some ways artificial intelligence will help corporate communications in the future:
• AI will analyze the digital landscape of what I call digital-breathing, living networks and report on exact insights, real-time updates (up to the minute) and trend assessments. Let your imagination run wild. What would you do if you had this depth of information at your fingertips every minute of every day?
• AI will deliver news to target audiences (even micro target audiences) in new and innovative ways using virtual and augmented reality applications. Editors, analysts and employees will be able to virtually “go” into a conference room (or White House briefing room) from the comfort of their offices and experience a press conference, briefing or information session.
AI will enable faster responses to crises, following preset parameters as part of human-centric contingency plans. AI bots will be programmed to assist crisis communication leaders – and they won’t be swayed by emotions in heated crisis situations.
• AI will deliver better metrics for corporate communications. Knowing what I know about machine learning and deep learning algorithms, I predict that the metrics that corporate communications teams will get a decade from now will be better than what today’s marcom teams get from marketing automation services.
• AI will be the method through which a new concept called identity-based corporate communications will emerge. The precision will be impressive, with communications customized to each individual.
• AI will be able to inform corporate communications personnel of inconsistencies, discrepancies, conflicts and predictions of oncoming issues. AI will also help expose lies and identify deception. Due to the mass oversaturation of society from jacked-up marketing automation, a company’s reputation will mean more in the next 5-10 years than it does even today.
AI will make it possible for corporate communications to communicate directly with machines as part of daily routine work. It is somewhat radical to think of distributing information to robots, but it is coming, perhaps sooner than you think – and the robots will not be like R2-D2 from Star Wars.
Now I want to talk about how I believe AI will affect corporate communications professionals.
• AI will enable corporate communications professionals to train more people on the best practices of communications. AI will help corporate communications scale its influence, even if you have to show up as a hologram in one of your company’s other locations to deliver a media training session or explain the difference between corporate communications and marketing communications.
• Communications leaders will manage better localization of content with AI around the world.
• Corporate communications professionals will have a bigger stake in an organization’s risk management team, using AI as a basis for interpreting probabilities.
Amid the rise of AI, corporate communications professionals will be trusted sources who people turn to for authentic experiences.
AI can be a friend to corporate communications, although there is a potential dark side of AI when it is used for nefarious purposes. We need to be at our best and harness AI to reflect our integrity as communications professionals.
Anthony Petrucci – Anthony Petrucci is Senior Director of Corporate Communications & Public Affairs at HID Global, a technology company in Austin, Texas.