Exploring the impact of AI on PR and discourse in the public sphere

I’m keen to start a conversation about the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in media and public relations. It’s an important issue.

Content creation, media relations and planning were cited as the top three skills in public relations by practitioners in the CIPR State of the Profession survey for 2017.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already making significant inroads to each of these areas. It is enabling practitioners to work smarter and more efficiently.

It is enabling us to deliver more for less, and in time is likely to have a significant implication on labour. The size of the public relations workforce in the future may well be smaller than it has been in the past.

There’s a second issue related to ethics and conversations in the public sphere. Algorithms are impacting every area of practice. They’re commonplace for searching and organising how media and data is displayed.

The impact of algorithms on discourse in the public sphere needs to be characterised and their creators held to account.

I cited both these issues in my recent Public Relations in 2018 blog.

Public relations, like other professions, is sleep walking into the issue of artificial intelligence.

It’s an issue that is rarely addressed at events and by media in the business of public relations. That needs to change.

The Posh Geordie and I caught up for dinner earlier this week with Adam Parker (@adparker) and Andrew Smith (@andismit).

They’ve done some initial work in this area building and exploring different tools. Andy shared his reading list.

We agreed to try and start an international conversation next year around this issue.

We want to focus on two areas:

  1. Explore the impact of artificial intelligence on public relations practice
  2. Characterise the impact of algorithms on public discourse

Let me know if you have an insight about the application of AI in media or public relations and are interesting in contributing to a broader conversation.

I’d love to hear from you.

Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash.

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Stephen Waddington

Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University.


  1. I would love to be part of this conversation Stephen. As you know, I presented on this topic at the Canadian conference this year.

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