London, 16 January 2020

The public relations profession is “sleepwalking into artificial intelligence” and markedly behind other professions in its preparations for the 4th industrial revolution, warns a new #AIinPR report.

Launched at the Alan Turing Institute this morning, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) #AIinPR Panel report – ‘The Effects of AI on the Professions: A Literature Repository’ – summarises nearly 200 global publications on AI and its impact on the professions including the changing nature of work, the ethical implications surrounding AI, future regulation and, notably, its impact on specific work groups.

The launch event featured presentations from Dr David Leslie, Turing Institute Fellow, and Dr Bertie Vidgen, Research Associate within the Turing Institute’s Public Policy Program, on their work on data ethics and online abuse, respectively. The #AIinPR Panel also announced Mark Burey, Head of Communications at The Alan Turing Institute will be joining the Panel as a member.

The event was attended by PR practitioners, AI researchers and, amongst others, representatives from the UK Government Office for AI and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Professor Anne Gregory Hon FCIPR, Former Chair of the Global Alliance

Unsurprisingly this review finds AI will undoubtedly change the nature of work, and specifically impact those offering professional services. It also suggests AI will disproportionately impact specific groups – particularly women, ethnic minorities, those without qualifications and entrants to the profession. This report doesn’t advise how to navigate the use of AI but is designed to enable direct access to a suite of resources for readers to inform themselves.

Professor Anne Gregory Hon FCIPR, Former Chair of the Global Alliance
Kerry Sheehan Chart.PR, FCIPR, CIPR Artificial Intelligence Chair

The public relations profession is significantly behind the curve and sleepwalking into AI. This review finds professional services will be significantly impacted by AI although finds public relations is less at risk than other professions in terms of job losses. However, the nature of the work will be affected significantly in the short term, with automation, and the longer term. PR has a vital societal and organisational role to play in the debate on AI but it needs to better prepare itself with practitioners upskilling to work smarter, faster in their roles but also becoming equipped to advise on AI adoption and deployment within organisations and business and to its stakeholders and society. It is our role to no longer debate on our own swim lanes – we must help drive business and organisations forward.

This report is the first step in that preparation and I am delighted our partners such as CBI, The Alan Turing Institute and the UK Government Office for AI are supportive of our work.

Kerry Sheehan Chart.PR, FCIPR, CIPR Artificial Intelligence Chair
The report follows an intensive 12-month review of nearly 200 global publications including books, academic papers, national reports, think tank studies, research group offerings, company and management consultant pieces and a variety of other sources to create a comprehensive overview of the impact of AI on the professions.
Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the world’s only Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas with nearly 10,000 members.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).


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