AI and Communications: Is It Over For Humans?

Machine learning vs. decades of experience.

“It’s safe to say that AI has proven a divisive topic recently. The extinction of humanity or a valuable communication tool? The truth, as ever, sits somewhere in the middle. As the CEO of a full-service communications agency, I thought I’d share my perspective on what AI means for all of us whose job is to inform, edu-tain and inspire.”
Catherine Turner
Founder, CEO & Communications Expert

So, AI. Is it truly taking off or flattering to deceive? A great place to start is the Gartner Hype Cycle. The Cycle describes how technology becomes widely adopted and can be applied to everything from early computers to the web.

The process begins with the massive hype and excitement about how a technology will change the world forever. And may even take over the world. Then, people actually use the technology and discover… it’s not going to change things as much as we thought. Many then move seamlessly onto the next big tech hype (anyone remember Web 3.0 from last year?)

The technology then adapts based on feedback and use cases, evolving to become more useful to real world needs. Its fresh value is then rediscovered, some of that early excitement returns and people start using the tech again – this time on a more selective, smarter basis.

At this point we reach what Gartner calls the Plateau of Productivity. It becomes an everyday part of what we do. It makes a difference.

The chances are, this is what will happen with the current frenzy over AI. We are already seeing less use of ChatGPT in everyday communications, and the trough of disillusionment could well have begun. Many have tried it, rewritten their marketing strategy in a West Coast rap style, felt amazed and slightly scared… and then moved on to the work they normally do. We have targets to hit.

AI or no?

From my experience, the technology is amazing, but in the world of communications and marketing, we need to treat every game changer with caution. And, I believe, we can already draw some conclusions:

AI will not replace humans: It simply doesn’t do human well enough… yet. You need to sense it and feel it: two things a machine cannot do. The content produced by AI needs an injection of emotion, humour and empathy, or it simply isn’t as effective as comms created by us soft, fleshy mammals.

AI means we all need to raise our game: It is a tool that will allow everyone to produce communication and content to a certain level. Just a couple of prompts and, hey presto, you have a whitepaper or thought piece ready to go. But the very defined ceiling means if everyone is using it, then no-one will stand out. And that’s bad communication lost in an even deeper sea of samey content. Those who succeed in an AI future will be the ones who make the effort to take the prebaked AI cake and add creative icing on top that grabs minds, hearts and eyeballs.

Invest in law firm shares: Essentially, AI is a thief. It doesn’t come up with anything original, but takes existing work and shapes it into something new. As such, the flurry of plagiarism cases are only now starting to reach the courts. In my opinion, we need to see where copyright law settles on the issue before fully investing our future comms into this tech magpie.

It is definitely a good thing: Don’t mistake cautiousness as rejection. Time is our most precious commodity, and AI can be a clear timesaver. It can take away the terror of a blank page. It can inspire us to come up with fresh ideas, cut down on research time and, perhaps most importantly, tell us what to write in leaving cards.

It benefits global communicators: Being able to understand the nuances of different languages and cultures has always been a major task for those managing worldwide operations. AI may not be able to translate into every language flawlessly yet, but it can make messaging strategy simpler. One recent example? Multilingual sentiment analysis, where AI uses local feedback to suggest adjustments to your comms approach – with greater complexity firmly on the horizon.

It’s going to be much better in 2025: The people who want to make money from AI will soon start shaping it around what communicators actually want – good UX and time-saving. So, maybe hold off that big tech investment for a few years yet. Remember how quickly the iPod went from 1,000 songs in your pocket to hundreds of thousands?

I may be wrong. By the time this is published, we may all be working as human batteries for our AI overlords. But for now? Communications is, for me, still very much a human game.

Want to discuss AI further and how the human element could make the difference to your comms? Drop me a message today at:

Catherine Turner
Founder, CEO & Communications Expert