I’ve got artificial intelligence (AI) on my mind. And it’s no surprise, given daily headlines related to AI innovations and implications.  

Our team gathered last week for one of our occasional “Lunch ‘n Learns” on the topic of ChatGPT, Large Language Models and AI. My colleagues Ben Bishop and Pat Allen shared a firehose of information on some of the tools they are exploring—and some of the gnawing issues we as financial PR and digital communications professionals need to be thinking about.  

I totally get that this topic is fraught with numerous issues, from the co-opting of others’ intellectual property to concerns by some of the early leaders in the field about the risks to mankind of this untested technology—not to mention the potential dire economic consequences. This recent Guardian article provides a sobering (if not terrifying) glimpse of the issues at hand.  

But we also recognize there is opportunity. One headline that caught our attention is Morningstar’s recent entrance into the AI race. Both on the mainstage at their conference in Chicago and in a news release last week, Morningstar revealed their own AI chatbot “Mo” and the Morningstar Intelligence Engine that will let subscribers dig into Morningstar’s research and data by asking questions of an AI interface. Far from replacing the financial advisor, the AI tool will help advisors work more efficiently and serve clients better, Morningstar believes. 

Mo is a mashup of Morningstar’s data and language model run on the OpenAI platform and combined with digital avatar technology. Its goal differs from ChatGPT, which is a large language model trained on information across the whole world wide web. Sometimes called a stochastic parrot, ChatGPT answers questions by parroting patterns it finds on the internet and delivering answers and information that in some cases is either wrong or even made up (aka ChatGPT hallucinations). Morningstar’s tool pulls only from Morningstar’s own huge archive of information. Still untested, this tool relies on selective and edited information on Morningstar’s site and will hopefully be reliable and authoritative. 

In the PR world, some AI tools have the potential to improve how we work under the right conditions. Microsoft’s recent free launch of ChatGPT on its Bing browser helped illuminate the opportunity. It generated this response to the question “What are three uses for ChatGPT for public relations we should use now?” 

ChatGPT is a powerful tool that can generate human-like content based on text prompts. It can be used for various purposes in public relations, such as:

– **Creating written PR content**: ChatGPT can help you write press releases, email pitches, messaging documents, blog posts, social media posts and more. You just need to provide a prompt and ChatGPT will generate a response in seconds. You can also ask it to generate multiple headlines, summaries or variations of your content¹,².

– **Augmenting the content creation process**: ChatGPT can help you with volume work on tight deadlines, so you can focus on more valuable output. You can use it to generate ideas, outlines, drafts or feedback for your PR content. You can also use it to edit, proofread or optimize your content for SEO¹,².

– **Analyzing the effectiveness of PR campaigns**: ChatGPT can help you measure the impact of your PR efforts and make data-driven decisions. It can analyze large amounts of data to discover trends and patterns that can be used to improve your PR strategy. It can also generate reports, insights or recommendations based on your data³.

These are some of the possible uses of ChatGPT for public relations. However, ChatGPT is not a replacement for human PR professionals. It still lacks the ability to establish an original viewpoint, craft a compelling narrative, convey authenticity and build meaningful connections with your audience. You still need to use your emotional intelligence, creativity and critical thinking skills to create high-quality PR content that resonates with your audience and aligns with your brand identity¹.

Source: Conversation with Bing, 5/11/2023 

(1) How to Use ChatGPT in PR and Marketing | MarketingProfs
(2) ChatGPT: A Double-Edged Sword For The PR Industry?
(3) How Chat GPT and AI Can Transform Public Relations – LinkedIn 

Today on AI we are all Katie and Bryant 
YouTube video

Technology has a way of shaking things up and unsettling even the most assured professionals. Today’s scramble to make sense of artificial intelligence and what it means for our jobs reminds us of this now-comical exchange between NBC personalities Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel. In the interceding almost 30 years, we’ve figured out what the internet is. There’s no doubt we’ll get increasingly comfortable with AI too.  

Bing’s output even includes helpful links to its sources. While it stressed that ChatGPT is not a replacement for human PR professionals, it failed to identify the risks to PR professionals of replacing human generated work with machine generated copy.  

The search/generative experience will become further mainstreamed when Google launches its experience, which is imminent according to its announcement last week. 

These tools might help

To avoid embarrassment when turning to AI for copy support, PR professionals should use tools like AI Content Detector by Copyleaks, ZeroGPT and Grammica to confirm they are delivering human, not machine-generated content. 

PR professionals might also want to look at AI tools that may help hone their pitches to media and identify appropriate targets. As a firm that has long been focused on financial PR, we’ve built relationship with financial journalists and have well developed media lists of our contacts covering retirement, investing, taxable and tax exempt bonds, alternative investments, valuations, sustainable investing and other focused topics. We are excited about how these tools could help us identify additional reporters or media outlets who might be interested in our pitches. New AI-driven tools like PRophet promise to help identify journalists to target or even help develop the pitch based on information entered into its platform. If these tools work, this could be a game-changer. I’ll reserve judgment until I can see that they accurately identify the journalists we know are covering the niche financial topics our clients care about. But I’m excited about the promise of this tool to help expand our outcomes. 

One thing about AI that I can tell you with some certainty is that what I’ve written above may already be outdated. It is a lot to keep up with. We’ll continue our own learning about how we can best use these tools to help our clients.

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