OK COMPUTER: A three little pigs warning about AI in PR that you need to pay attention to


Everyone knows the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf and the huffing and puffing.

One little pig had the straw house and the wolf blew it away and ate the pig up.

The second little had a house made of wood and suffered the same fate.

The third little pig was prepared and built a house made out of bricks and was fine.

This children’s story is an allegory whose hidden meaning is to be prepared for future events.

There’s a warning to comms people not to suffer the same fate and be the unprepared pig that gets gobbled-up.

The message is from the CIPR Artificial Intelligence in PR – or AI in PR – group. These are the people who are horizon scanning in the area of artificial intelligence in public relations.

Translation: Artificial intelligence is the theory and practice that computer systems are able to perform tasks that normally require humans. So, that’s translation, analysis and some basic decision-making. 

There’s some fine people involved so when the CIPR AI in PR group issue a warning it’s worth paying attention to:

The #AIinPR panel has issue a stark call to PR practitioners to ‘upskill or risk getting left behind and harming the future of our profession’ as global research clearly shows public relations is not ready for artificial intelligence.

The call comes following an intensive 12-month global research project carried out by the CIPR Artificial Intelligence in Public Relations panel, which has been looking at serious literature on artificial intelligence and its impact on the professions.

After looking at close to 200 global publications on artificial intelligence in the professions (to date) in detail, the AIinPR global panel has drawn some pretty painful conclusions about our own readiness for the AI world as a profession.

In short, we are not ready for artificial intelligence and we’ve hardly begun.

Anne Gregory, renowned PR academic and AIinPR panel member, who has lead the research project said: “Public relations is significantly behind the curve – in fact we are sleep walking into AI.

“Other professions have already done major work on the shape of their future workforce, reviewing education and training, looking at their future role in organisations and society and at the ethics of AI. We need to get cracking, and get on with some serious work in all these areas.”

So what can you do?

The broad warning is the need to develop better skills in data, artificial intelligence and machine learning in your own role as well as advising business and organisations on AI.

It sounds science fiction, doesn’t it?

You’ve probably got your hands full with plenty of other things but this is pretty serious.

Thankfully, the nice CIPR AI in PR group have published a list of useful links and reading on their page you can find here. There’s also a pretty mammoth updated Google sheet orepository of links.

The AIinPR panel would like communicators, across the globe, to add to this huge piece of work by letting the AIinPR panel know about any other serious literature that talks about AI and the professions. We’re especially looking for material on the public relations profession.

There’s also an AI YouTube explainer from Hubspot here:

Can you help?

The AI in PR group are also looking for contributions to their repository of learning. That may be an academic abstract, a post or another piece of work. All you need to do is add a description – 50 words tops – and add it to the Google document here.

This final AIinPR repository will be launched at The Turing Institute on 16 January where they and the Government Office for AI are set to join the conversation on AIinPR’s call to the PR profession.

We will also launch the AIinPR 2020 plan, at the event, which will include new AIinPR panel members from the AI and tech industries to help drive the PR and communication industry further forward.

It’s interesting to see Kerry Sheehan take over the Chair of the AIinPR Panel from Stephen Waddington. They’re two people I rate highly.

Picture credit: istock.


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