“Those who can imagine anything, can create the impossible.”
― Alan Turing ―
Not a day goes by that I don’t read something about Artificial Intelligence (AI). New and exciting applications with the power to transform whole industries, predictions about its impact on the way we work and the types of job we will have in the future, or warnings of some sort of AI apocalypse… it’s overwhelming. And often contradictory.
The truth is that while the concept of AI has been around for decades, the future is yet to be written. The technology involved is evolving all the time, new uses are being found, and the companies making all the running are engaged in a sort of AI arms race, the outcome – or outcomes – of which can only be guessed at.
We are making no claims to be experts in the field of AI; we leave that to our clients and others within our collective network, some of whom are featured in this publication. But as communications consultants, it is our job to read the runes, to filter the wealth of information for what is material to our clients’ interests, and advise them on the potential implications.
And that’s what this publication is all about.
When we published Live Smart or Die last year, we forecast the four ‘tensions’ that we believe will define the next decade and beyond. One that generated a lot of interest was ‘Me vs AI’, in which we touched upon the communications risks and opportunities for companies incorporating artificial intelligence into their business models. And in the months that have elapsed since we published that, during which the issue of AI has raced ahead in terms of prominence, this has become a recurring theme. We are not aware of anyone else thinking about AI from this perspective, and believe it is an area that warrants examination in more detail.
In preparing this publication, we have drawn on the expertise not only of Grayling colleagues in the areas of corporate communications, risk and crisis management, and public affairs, but also of a wider pool of experts from the worlds of business, science, public administration and academia.
Like I said, the future is yet to be written. We don’t know what it holds. And while we are not so arrogant or naïve to believe that aspects of what we do could not be done by intelligent machines, I am confident that whatever the future holds, Grayling will still be providing counsel on navigating this brave new world.
We are pleased to be contributing to this debate and would love to hear your views.
BY JON MEAKIN
Jon Meakin is Grayling’s global head of strategic services. He and his team provide services to the global Grayling network, including research, insights and evaluation; creative and content solutions, through the agency’s GMint offer; and Grayling’s proprietary online reputation management tool, GCore. Jon has 25 years’ public relations and communications experience, largely gained in Europe, and is now based in Grayling’s San Francisco office.
Artificial intelligence has the potential to impact almost every aspect of our lives and deserves to have as many viewpoints as possible aired. We mined our connections worldwide to bring together commentary from those at the forefront of developing AI technology, those concerned with its implementation, management and regulation, and those who challenge some of our assumptions.
And running throughout is the theme of communication: Because if the history of technological innovations teaches us anything, it is that successful adoption and acceptance of new technology requires the effective communication of its benefits, to individuals, organizations, and society as a whole.
How the application of AI is likely to transform different industries; the ways in which the communication of that poses reputational risks and opportunities; the opposition that the adoption of this technology will prompt in some quarters; and how this might be overcome.
How the application of Artificial Intelligence is going to change the way we interact with each other, as well as with brands, corporations and public bodies, day to day; the tools we use; and the implications for professional marketers and communicators, as well as media organizations.
While AI is unlikely to replace flesh and blood politicians, its roll-out will be subject to political will. What could this mean for AI, for the companies responsible, and for the people and industries whose lives it promises (or threatens) to transform? And could government actually lead the way?
More on AI from various experts here.