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Why generative AI will make 2023 the year of the communications engineer

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By Aaron Kwittken | Founder and Chief Executive Officer

January 24, 2023 | 5 min read

As artificial intelligence continues to evolve, PR professionals and teams must either adapt or risk being left behind, writes PRophet founder and CEO Aaron Kwittken.

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ChatGPT was launched by OpenAI in November 2022 and has quickly surged in popularity. / Adobe Stock

When I launched PRophet in late 2020 I left behind both the ’comforts’ of agency life and the agency I founded. Fast-forward to 2023 and the road less traveled is now a digital super-highway destined to transform the PR industry as we know it, primarily using AI-driven technologies and techniques designed to make modern communicators more productive.

There’s been a lot of press lately about OpenAI’s ChatGPT. While mostly positive and exciting, some critics and naysayers claim the tool’s capabilities are overstated, while others worry that it could be the death knell of creativity by catalyzing complacency and plagiarism.

Some are comparing the rapid rise of ChatGPT to the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. One thing is certain, AI is arguably the most consequential innovation in modern history and is undeniably having a deeply profound impact on industries and facets of day-to-day life. For example, you can hire AI interns Aiden and Aiko; chat with any number of historical figures and celebrities that are living, dead, real or imagined through Character.AI; or hire a DJ through PlaylistAI. On a more serious note: thanks to researchers from MassGeneral, AI can accurately predict lung cancer risk in smokers and non-smokers up to six years into the future.

Microsoft, a major investor in OpenAI, has begun exploring ways to incorporate ChatGPT into its products, leading Google’s management to issue a “code red” and shift focus to developing AI products while laying off thousands of employees. In other words, shit is getting real.

So what does all of this mean for marketers, notably PR professionals and content creators? AI pierced the veil of doubt once upheld by a cabal of Luddites that dominated our industry. PR people who solely rely on or continue to tout their media relationships as their superpower will have the decision to make: become a fossil or become a communications engineer.

A communications engineer sits at the intersection of art and science. They create and manage narratives and drive audience engagement using data and insights to backstop their gut instinct. They build agile teams and fly-wheel tech stacks that deliver specific DIY solutions with minimal human involvement. They use software to find signals in the noise, sussing out and mitigating missiles of misinformation before they can cause harm. They are able to identify journalists’ interests before they make a pitch. And they use technology to generate first drafts of content like press releases, blogs, sticky headlines, crisis statements, bios and social posts.

They will not succumb to the once-dominant, winner-take-all industry tech heavyweights (you all know who I am referring to) who sell analog database systems replete with hackneyed, unfulfilled claims that everything can be done on one platform, from pitching to monitoring to attribution analyses. They see ChatGPT as just the beginning and are looking to continuously improve their performance and experiment with new generative AI models.

Adopting the mindset, tech stack and workflow of a communications engineer will future-proof PR professionals, agencies and brand teams alike. The future is now.

Aaron Kwittken is the founder and Chief executive officer of PRophet, an AI-powered PR platform. For more on the latest happening in tech, sign up for The Drum’s Inside the Metaverse weekly newsletter here.

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