Artificial Intelligence: what is it and how do we use it effectively?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has already begun to revolutionize our world, and its potential for transforming our lives is still unfolding. The transformer, a deep learning model that utilizes self-attention, was introduced in 2017 and marked a significant step forward in the development of AI.

As a metaphor, the mechanism of self-attention is like a spotlight that can be directed towards specific parts of the input to help a model better understand the relationships between different parts of the input, allowing it to process and make sense of complex data more effectively. This innovation led to the emergence of more advanced AI tools, which have the potential to streamline communication processes and make our daily lives—from sending emails to getting driving directions—easier. 

Tech giants are competing fiercely in the field of AI, pushing the boundaries of what is possible with this technology and investing billions into AI research and development. This competition has led to the development of extraordinary AI-powered tools that can generate images and videos from text alone, with the potential to revolutionize the way we create and share content.  

Despite the rewards associated with AI, there are also significant risks. One of the most pressing is the possibility of AI being exploited to propagate disinformation. By leveraging AI-based technologies, it is possible to generate extremely convincing visuals, videos, and audio that can deceive individuals. 

This presents a real threat, as these tools could make it easier for scammers and hackers to con their victims and target institutions. What’s more, these tools could potentially be used by disinformation campaigns to influence elections and undermine public trust in government. Disinformation campaigns can also harm the reputation and credibility of brands, companies, and non-profits by spreading false or misleading information, damaging the trust that customers, investors, or supporters have in these organizations. For instance, a disinformation campaign might create false rumors about a company’s products or services, leading customers to avoid purchasing from them. 

Working with experts who understand the complexities of AI and can develop strategies to counter misinformation will be an increasingly important differentiator as the technology advances. The need for vigilant monitoring, proactive communication and attention-grabbing, authentic content has never been more urgent.  

When used with human collaboration, the rise of AI signifies an extraordinary opportunity:  

  • Data-driven insights: AI can help analyze vast amounts of data and extract insights that can inform public affairs and communications strategies. With human oversight, AI can help identify new trends and emerging issues by monitoring online discussions, social media, and news coverage, providing insights into changing public sentiment and behaviors. AI can also assist in crisis management by using data to identify emerging issues, provide early warning alerts, and predict potential scenarios.  
  • Targeted messaging: AI-powered tools can help identify and target key stakeholders, influencers, and media outlets, and tailor messaging to specific audiences efficiently.  
  • Thought leadership: AI can assist with speech writing and ghostwriting by analyzing the style and tone of a target audience, and generating content that aligns with their preferences, allowing thought leaders to generate more written content for public dissemination.  

Harnessed properly, AI offers the chance to understand and communicate with audiences more meaningfully and effectively than ever before.  

Co-written by Open AI’s Chat GPT-3 (February 2023).