Anthony Shop, the Chief Strategy Officer of Social Driver, joined an esteemed panel on August 25, 2023 to discuss the profound implications of AI in the field of strategic communications. The panel, hosted by the Master’s in Science in Strategic Communication program at Columbia University School of Professional Studies, included Columbia University Lecturer and EVP of Communication Science & Insights at Rubenstein Alexandra Merceron, PRWeek Executive Editor Frank Washkuch and Columbia University’s Frank J. Oswald. The students of Columbia University's Strategic Communication program exhibited a keen understanding of the complexities surrounding AI as well.
It was an honor for Anthony to be recognized as a leader within communications, and an expert on the timely subject matter, and he was subsequently also asked by PRWeek to be interviewed for an article on AI after participating in the panel.
The fruitful discussion shed light on the transformative potential of AI within strategic communications, embracing AI as a dynamic tool for building trust and navigating change will be the key to success in the ever-evolving world of strategic communications.
Key takeaways from the panel included.
AI: A Transformative Force for Strategic Communicators
AI is poised to reshape the very foundations of our relationship with knowledge, politics, and society. Anthony referenced the book “The Age of AI,” by Henry Kissinger, Eric Schmidt and Daniel Huttenloche, and how it articulates AI will change our relationships with society at large.
AI as a Valuable Focus Group
One of the most enlightening takeaways from the panel was the realization that AI transcends its role as a mere virtual assistant. It has emerged as a potent focus group that aids leaders in becoming more effective communicators, both internally and externally. Beyond its ability to expedite content creation, AI excels at posing thought-provoking questions and critiques that demand human consideration and response. The message here is clear: failing to harness the power of AI as a focus group is a missed opportunity.
Michael Porter’s Five Forces: A Strategic Tool
Strategic communicators can employ the time-tested framework of Michael Porter’s Five Forces to assess the implications of AI and machine learning on their specific industry or organization.
Acknowledging Challenges and Real Concerns
While AI offers vast potential, it comes with its own set of concerns, including election interference, misinformation, and job displacement. In this context, strategic communicators play a pivotal role in collaborating with other leaders to identify and address these pressing concerns. They should establish adaptable guidelines within their organizations and actively engage in public policy discussions to ensure responsible AI usage.
Trust: The Cornerstone of Success
In a world where trust is the linchpin of success in commerce and community-building, leaders, innovators, and influencers should not shy away from new technologies. Instead, they should embrace AI, experimenting with its capabilities and ultimately leveraging it as a powerful tool to cultivate and sustain trust in unprecedented ways.