Ethical Dimensions of Generative AI in Communications
June 9, 2023
As in every industry, the rapid evolution of Generative AI is the talk of town among integrated marketing communications professionals. There is no doubt it will continue to generate (pun intended) intensive discussion, debate and dissection as its capabilities – and its myriad impacts on business and society as a whole – become increasingly clear.
From my perspective, we are currently engaged in both a marathon and a sprint. The leap forward represented by platforms like ChatGPT, DALL-E and Bard (not just technologically, but also in the public imagination) is pushing us FAST. This steep upward curve demands our attention now – mandating that we get smart, maintain an open “beginner’s mind,” and lean into hands-on experience and experimentation. Yet we must also recognize that we’re standing on that tip of the proverbial iceberg. Over time (months and years) a whole lot more is going to be revealed.
This moment also requires us, as professionals and people, to hold two competing thoughts in our heads simultaneously. First, generative AI will be transformational on numerous exciting and empowering levels. Second, generative AI will be destructive in ways we can clearly anticipate today and in ways we can’t yet predict. Both true. Both in need of some serious contemplation.
This next wave of AI (I know, I know…it’s not yet truly “artificial intelligence”) will require a lot of us as marketing and communications professionals. Top of the list for me is a strong and well-developed ethical framework. Now more than ever, we require an ethical lens and a shared framework for ethical decision making to help us asses in real time the emerging uses of generative AI, its range of impacts and implications, and choices we will make about how and where to engage it in business and life.
I was proud to help lead a recent effort by the PR Council to shape an initial set of Guidelines for the ethical use of generative AI in communications. These Guidelines are intended to evolve along with generative AI, acknowledging its role as a fast-moving technology platform and a far larger paradigm shift.
To dig deeper, I hosted a podcast conversation with my partners in this effort – Kim Sample (President, PR Council) and Mark McClennan (General Manager, C+C and Creator, Ethical Voices podcast and blog). The full episode is part of our G&S Building Brand Gravity podcast series and is titled “Ethics and GenAI in Communications.” Check it out in the video above or via your favorite podcast platform. I welcome your feedback!