The idea of artificial intelligence (AI) can prompt images of robots who cater to our every whim — like in The Jetsons — or human-like entities that take over the world — like in I, Robot. So where is the technology now, and how does the call to pause AI development impact the communications industry?
ChatGPT is an AI-powered language model developed by OpenAI. It has been trained on a massive amount of text data from the internet and can generate human-like text responses to a given prompt. It can answer questions, converse on a variety of topics, and generate creative writing pieces. There have been many recent news stories on this software as more users have interacted with it and are discovering its potential for plagiarism, privacy issues, and confusing or deceiving audiences.
As we saw with the “Pope wears Balenciaga” image and the fake Great Cascadia earthquake images on Reddit, AI has the capacity to create believable images and content, potentially leading to a situation where it can be used for misinformation or disinformation.
Future PR practitioners understand that the industry’s professionals face challenges with the stereotype of being “spin masters,” and this type of technology could potentially further this stereotype if current and future communicators utilize it without understanding the possible ramifications. We should engage in a deliberate review of the technology and how it can help — and hurt — the students learning about the industry as well as the industry itself (not to mention the clients, organizations, and businesses that benefit from public relations).
We are fortunate that we follow a comprehensive and uplifting code of ethics; these guidelines will serve us well as AI and the technologies that follow it evolve. As future communicators engage with their professors, mentors, and industry leaders, being up-to-date on what is happening with AI and other technologies will give them an advantage to learn and grow within this dynamic and fast-paced profession.
Aileen Izquierdo is director of the School of Communication at Florida International University (FIU). An associate teaching professor, Izquierdo also serves as faculty program director for FIU’s top-ranked Global Strategic Communications (GSC) graduate program. Izquierdo is a communications professional with more than 20 years of strategic communications, branding, and crisis communications experience, having held executive management positions as vice president for communications at Broward College and Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Izquierdo was the first vice president for communications and marketing at both of these institutions. She also was the first Hispanic vice president in FAU’s history.