The irreplaceable human touch: why AI won’t take over

A robot hand entering the screen on the left hand side with its index finger pointed out towards a star. From the right hand side, a humanised hand is pointing its index finger towards the same star.

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has sparked numerous debates about its potential impact on public relations and communications. While AI will undoubtedly bring a whole host of support and capabilities to the work we do, it is crucial to understand that it won’t completely replace humans in our line of work.

Emotional intelligence and AI

One of the fundamental reasons why AI can’t replace humans in PR is the quality of emotional intelligence. PR professionals are not just messengers but storytellers. We develop narratives, build relationships and navigate human emotions.

AI, while fantastic at data analysis and pattern recognition, cannot replicate the emotional insight humans possess. Successful PR campaigns often require empathy, an understanding of cultural intricacies, and an all-important personal touch to really make their mark.

Limits of artificial intelligence within context and understanding

Aside from human emotions, effective communications and PR rely on an understanding of wider context.

AI systems are limited to only the information they have been fed, while PR teams can analyse background information and adapt to unforeseen situations. We can read between the lines, assess a situation, understand the wider narrative and adjust our strategy accordingly – a fundamental challenge for AI.

Relationship building

One of the core aspects of our work in PR is building and maintaining relationships – exactly where humans shine.

We’ve all experienced the disingenuous and sluggish responses from chat bots or automated phone systems when contacting large organisations, while we breathe a sigh of relief when being able to comment on the weather or apologise for our dog barking in the background when speaking to a real-life customer service agent.

In PR, we work hard to create genuine, trust-based relationships with clients, the media, and the public. The ability to network, negotiate, and empathise contributes significantly to the success of our campaigns and AI cannot replicate the authenticity needed to match this.

Crisis and ethics

During crises, PR professionals play a pivotal role in damage control and reputation management. Handling crises requires quick thinking, emotional intelligence, and the ability to adapt.

We excel in these areas, as we can make instinctive ethical decisions and show compassion. Humans have moral judgment and a sense of responsibility that AI cannot replicate – in fact, it’s outlined as a core principle in the CIPR’s code of conduct.

Ethical decisions also require consideration of not just what is right or wrong but also how decisions will impact individuals and society at large. However, AI operates without a moral compass and its pre-programmed systems lack the ethical and emotional depth required to be trusted with such decisions.

AI is a powerful tool, but it’s clear it cannot replace the human touch and expertise needed in PR.

While AI will certainly assist us by automating routine tasks and offering data-led insights, it is humans who bring authenticity to relationships and create narratives. Fundamentally, it is not about AI taking over; instead, it’s about humans harnessing the potential of AI to enhance their craft.

If you’d like to have a chat with one of our talented human PR professionals about how we can help share your stories, contact me at jade.ziola@see-media.co.uk

Jade Ziola-Sammons is a Senior Account Manager at See Media