Professions versus machines

Professions versus machines

A CIPR project led by Professor Anne Gregory is set to explore the impact of AI on the professions.

Public relations exhibits many of the qualities associated with a profession but is very much a work in progress.

 A profession is defined by a number of criteria including:

  • Barrier to entry in the form of qualifications, a period of conversation between learning and practice, or certification

  • Body of knowledge, and a relationship between academia and practice

  • Continuous profession development (CPD)

  • Code of conduct, typically enforced by a regulator or membership organisation

Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind put forward a persuasive argument that machines will displace professions in their book The Future of the Professions. Machines are able to learn, interpret data, apply knowledge and enforce rules.

It’s hoped that this project will provide insights from other professionals that can be applied to public relations.

Exploring the impact of AI on professions

The #AIinPR panel’s objective is to understand and characterise the impact of AI based on academic literature and contemporary, informed contributions from think tanks, organisations and individuals.

Anne Gregory, Professor of Corporate Communication at the University of Huddersfield, is leading the project. Anne is a former President of the CIPR and a past Chair of the Global Alliance of PR and Communication Management.

“Generating a knowledge repository of this kind will help us understand the potential impact of AI on the profession so that we can start a conversation about what its future shape could and should be,” said Professor Anne Gregory.

“Big changes are ahead. What is happening goes to the very heart of what it means to be a profession especially when knowledge and future insight become the preserve of machines.”

How to contribute to the literature review

Submissions can be made to the literature review via this Google form, via email or via post to #AIinPR panel, CIPR, 52 Russell Square, London WC1B 4HP.

The call for material will remain open for the remainder of 2018. The #AIinPR panel expects to publish a report in Q1 2019.

The literature review is the third project by the #AIinPR panel which was formed in February 2018 to explore the impact of AI on PR.

The panel has created a crowdsourced database of automation and AI tools used in PR with an app and web site in development.

It has also explored the impact of these tools on skills in a research paper by Jean Valin called Humans still needed: an analysis of skills and tools in public relations (opens as a PDF). 

Learning more about #AIinPR at upcoming events

If you’re interested in application of AI in PR you might want to check out these upcoming events in London and Newcastle.

3 October, London
Learning to work with chatbots

The CIPR Greater London and International Groups and CIPR #AIinPR panel present an opportunity to create your own chatbot, hear from PR teams that are using chatbots as a communication channel and other AI technologies, and join a panel discussion about the ethical issues around AI usage.

22 November, Newcastle
Emerging technology and AI

CIPR North East is teaming up with the CIPR AI in PR Panel to bring you an interactive session looking at how emerging technologies are going to impact the PR industry. Speakers will be discussing developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning and immersive technology, and considering the ethical and practical implications these will mean for PR practitioners.

Further information about the #AIinPR panel

You can find out more about the work of the #AIinPR panel and its members via the CIPR website.

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