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PR Tactics: Brand Management – Going Back to Basics for AI

19/07/2016

We’ve all read those potentially scary articles about the latest artificial intelligence developments, perpetuating the belief that humans will be destroyed by intelligent Terminator style robots or Dalek hoardes. This sounds like a case for some good brand management, and perhaps now is the time to take it back to basics for the latest technology superstar.

From a communications perspective, AI needs good PR.  There needs to be a much greater focus on clarifying what AI is, demystifying old and unfounded fears and highlighting the extraordinary benefits it can bring to our society, from health to finance or even arts.

Recently, Randy Dean, Chief Business officer at Sentient Technologies, a leader in AI, said ‘everything invented in the past 150 years will be reinvented using AI within the next 15 years’.  This apparently positive message is really inflammatory in such a suspicious public arena. Far from it being taken as a wonderful and enlightening possibility, it leads to a sense of uncertainty and fear. Add to this, comments from renowned individuals such as Nick Boston, Oxford philosopher, who referred to AI as “potentially more dangerous than nukes” and you have a war of words about an unknown future.

There’s a need to pare back the rhetoric and go back to the benefits of AI for businesses and the public and it’s up to major players in this space such as Google DeepMind, Twitter, Tesla, or new upcoming companies such as Status Today, Rainbird, Tractable, Weave.AI, Seldon or Improbable, to dedicate some of their time educating and informing their audiences of the meaning and benefits of these technologies, rather than exaggerating the claims and defending the risks.

If companies take an educational and informational approach, it will be possible to replace fear and uncertainty with enthusiasm and interest. By clarifying and explaining the true benefits of AI, businesses and individuals will embrace AI in all its shapes and forms, including those more friendly and helpful robots such as Pepper, Buddy, Alpha or Jibo.

As one of the fastest growing industries of this decade, it’s up to leaders in this space to bring the crowd on board which means they need to get much better at brand management. 

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