Generative AI: Exciting New Addition to the
By Mary-Frances Faraji, Jeff Winton Associates Consultant
Ever since the introduction of the printing press – and probably even before that – new tools have emerged over time to help us develop stories, deliver messages and engage with target audiences ever more effectively. The personal computer, wireless internet, email, smart phone, search engine, social media – over time, all have made our jobs more efficient, yet in some ways more challenging.
Similarly, generative artificial intelligence (AI) is an innovation with the potential to fundamentally transform how we as communicators perform our work, providing intriguing avenues to accelerate content generation. Though generative AI has been developed over decades, new software versions are able to produce written content and images that mirror what people can create. Even though there are some areas where generative AI isn’t yet able to replace human minds, it can help augment our efforts and speed more menial tasks, such as writing news releases and generating media coverage reports.
AI won’t replace us communicators, but it will change how we work. So how can we – and should we – use this new tool today?
As the power of generative AI software evolves, some things remain true for us in the communications world, and we need to take some new aspects of this tool into consideration as we harness its potential. We just need to stay careful, stay transparent and stay curious. Here are some do’s and don’ts to consider when integrating the power of generative AI in communications:
Don’t let automation take over the planning and review processes. The end product reflects the care you take in defining the task. Generative AI cannot (yet) replicate human creativity, judgment or integrity.
Maintain responsibility for reviewing and critiquing AI-generated drafts. Review and fact check the end product carefully.
Think through your work processes. Consider how to deploy junior team members more efficiently when using AI to generate first drafts of plans, outlines and content.
Guard confidentiality at all times. Be very careful to protect your company and clients’ business, trademarks and material information. Nondisclosure agreements apply.
Be explicit about ownership of your ideas and work. Consult legal professionals about adding AI-specific language to contracts and statements of work.
Follow the experts on the subject of generative AI. Many thought leaders are emerging in this rapidly evolving space.
Be sure to stay current. What’s true about AI today will quickly change as the technology evolves and new versions of software are released.
Don’t dismiss AI and don’t fear it. Learn how you and the people you manage can use it as an exciting communications tool.
For now, consider disclosing to your clients how you employ generative AI in your work. As has happened with earlier innovations and tools, it will become as normal and accepted as search engines and spell-check.
Give generative AI a try! Open an account and play with a hypothetical assignment. Try multiple rounds of review, adding more detailed instructions or guidance to enhance the finished product. (Hint: it’s perfect for drafting thank-you notes.)
Congratulations to those of you who have already begun integrating generative AI into your work. At JWA, we would like to know what tips you have to share with fellow communicators who are ready to dip a toe into the AI water.
Mary Frances-Faraji is a seasoned communicator whose career has spanned the areas of corporate and product communications and public affairs, with particular expertise in health care. She brings to Jeff Winton Associates a keen understanding of how to effectively reach target audiences using every resource in the toolbox.