5 tips to jump into generative AI

Overwhelmed by all the AI news? Here are five ways cut through the clutter, separate fact from fiction—and to unlock the power of AI in your communications.

Get started with generative Ai

The release of GPT-4 is a clarion call for communicators. It’s becoming increasingly critical to understand how AI can enhance our work.

Yet with so much hype surrounding AI, it’s challenging to separate buzz from brass tacks. Here are five quick tips to bring you up to speed without getting caught up in the hype cycle:

  1. Understand what AI is—and AIn’t. “We’re going through a generative AI hype cycle,” says Web3 strategist Cathy Hackl, who keynoted PR Daily’s Social Media Conference at Disney World in March. “With all the buzz, it’s easy to get intimidated by the terms and technology.”

The solution is settling on a clear definition. She believes the World Economic Forum defines it best: “Generative AI refers to a category of AI algorithms that generate new outputs based on the data they have been trained on. Unlike traditional AI systems designed to recognize patterns and make predictions, generative AI creates new content in the form of images, text, audio, and more.”

She also suggests thinking of artificial intelligence as a pie, with generative AI as one of the slices.

“Robots, deep learning, machine learning and conversational artificial intelligence are all slices of the AI pie,” Hackl explains. “Look at it as form of automation that can help your company have more effective processes, freeing up resources to work in a more innovative way. While this is a much too simple way to reduce what AI is, it can help you and your teams start to wrap their heads around this.”

  1. Experiment with AI—starting now. “Generative AI will transform jobs, help us process data faster and enhance tasks,” assures Hackl. “The question is, ‘Why not start experimenting now?’ Why wait if you can use generative AI to create engaging content and personalized customer experiences faster?’”

Perhaps nobody has put the AI call-to-action better than Max Penk, creative innovation director at David+Martin, who recently said: “The good news is that AI won’t replace you. The bad news is that a person using AI probably will.”

So where to start? Hackl suggests focusing in on these top generative AI benefits for brands and their communications teams:

  • Hyper-personalization: Increased targeting can lead to more engagement with audiences and translate to more conversions.
  • Greater customer choice: Improved customization can help organizations reach their audiences in new ways.
  • Increased innovation: Predictive modeling and analytics can help teams identity patterns and find fresh ways to interact with their communities.
  • Augmented creativity: Using generative AI tools for inspiration can help improve ideation, especially when a team is stuck in the creative process.
  1. Familiarize yourself with these tools. “It can be tough to find the best AI tool for your needs, because there are so many out there,” says Hackl.  “The good news is that a lot of them have free versions.”

Here are the AI tools she believes will benefit marketers and communicators:

  • Chat GPT: A text generative AI tool that uses OpenAI to answer questions, write code, write poetry and posts, create summaries and outlines, etc. Upgraded via its GPT-4 release to include image processing and more.
  • Midjourney: An image generative AI tool. Based on a text prompt, MidJourney will create a set of images. Marketers use this tool to create graphics for blogs or prototype images for design teams.
  • DALL-E: Another generative AI tool based on OpenAI. It creates images based on a natural text description. Marketers can also use Dall-E to edit images that already exist.
  • Stable Diffusion: A latent text-to-image diffusion model capable of generating photo-realistic images given any text input.
  • D-ID: A video generative AI tool. Marketers can create video avatars with natural language.
  • Hypewrite: An AI-generated document editor and browser extension can help you write better content faster.
  • Artifact: From the founder of Instagram, this new app offers a personalized news feed powered by artificial intelligence.

“It’s hard to keep up, since new generative AI tools are introduced every day,” Hackl concedes. “My advice is to not get overwhelmed by the volume of tools and focus instead on finding those that will enhance your current role.”

  1. Know the risks—and check with legal. Hackl doesn’t believe AI poises an immediate threat to brands. She does, however, recommend having a plan in place to prevent copyright infringement and protect intellectual property rights.

“Also be aware that some of the data used train some of these models can be highly biased,” she warns. “Generative AI is a powerful tool and could bring forth success when used responsibly. It’ll be up to everyone using the tools to weigh out the cost and benefits of adding them to their marketing strategy.”

Hackl’s parting advice: “Engage with your legal teams and find out what your brand’s positioning is when it comes to content created and co-created with AI.”

Brian Pittman  is the Dean of Ragan Training a Ragan Communications event producer. For more information about Ragan Training, contact him at brianp@ragan.com.

Topics: PR


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