By Margo Hackel, Senior Communication Consultant
Artificial Intelligence (AI)—specifically, the reigning AI darling ChatGPT—is everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. It’s been covered by major media and broadcast news. Many columns and explainers tell us how to use it and how creepy it can be. And then there are the gazillions of LinkedIn carousels highlighting ways to use it for work tasks and job hunts, and how best to prompt it.
Every single day, I see multiple mentions of this natural language learning machine from OpenAI. ChatGPT was even an answer on my favorite game show, “Jeopardy!,” and a recent topic on my favorite late night show, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”
Of course, ChatGPT is not the only contender in the AI space. Everyone from Google and Microsoft to Salesforce and Meta have joined the race to capture attention and interest. For example, in addition to embedding OpenAI into its Bing search engine, Microsoft recently announced it will embed the technology into Word and Excel. They’re also rolling out AI-enabled Microsoft Designer, which some are saying can out-canva Canva!
I’ve spent some time experimenting with ChatGPT over the past several weeks, and despite some of the fear it will replace communications jobs, I’m completely fascinated by what it can do—and what it can’t. I personally don’t believe AI can realistically replace communicators and writers, despite some organizations experimenting with using it that way.
Here are four reasons AI won’t replace communications jobs—and why I believe we should embrace this technology.
1) AI can enhance but not replace human creativity
While AI can perform certain tasks more efficiently than humans, it is not capable of creativity and understanding context, which are essential elements of effective communication. Communicators can use AI’s data-driven insights and automation to develop new ways of conveying information and engaging audiences. However, communications also requires a high degree of creativity that AI currently can’t match. And when it comes to using AI for writing, it can’t create anything original–it simply repurposes content that already exists.
2) AI lacks emotional intelligence
Effective communication is not just about sharing information. It’s also about building relationships and connecting with people on an emotional level—ever hear or use the phrase “Winning hearts and minds?” While AI can simulate human-like interactions, it can’t replace the personal connections and rapport that human communicators can build with their audiences. AI also can’t comprehend sentiment, understand cultural nuances, or respond to non-verbal cues like we humans can.
3) AI can generate insights but not interpret them
While AI can certainly analyze vast amounts of data and generate insights, it can’t interpret those insights. Communication is not just about delivering a message—it’s also about understanding the audience and their needs. AI can help gather and analyze data about audiences, but communicators are needed to interpret and apply that data to develop effective communication strategies.
4) AI can’t replace human judgment
Communicators often need to make judgment calls based on their experience and understanding of their organization and audience. AI can provide data and insights to inform those decisions, but it can’t take the place of human judgment. It is not a replacement for the strategic thinking and decision-making skills experienced communicators bring to the table.
What AI can do: free up time for more strategic work
While there’s a lot that AI can’t do, it does excel at certain things such as automating tasks and processes. This frees up time for communicators to spend on more strategic work that requires their unique skills and expertise. For example, they can use AI to streamline routine tasks like scheduling social media posts or generating first drafts so they can focus on developing communication strategies or building relationships with stakeholders.
For these reasons I believe communicators should embrace AI rather than viewing it as a threat to their jobs. By combining the strengths and capabilities of AI with experience and expertise, communicators can be more efficient and effective at helping organizations and clients achieve better communication outcomes.
Full disclosure: This post was written with an assist from ChatGPT.