Demonstrating AI leadership as the hype-cycle slows  

It’s difficult to think of a recent hype-cycle like we’ve seen with generative AI. The Metaverse had its moment. Then it very quickly didn’t. Crypto and NFTs came. Then, for most of us, they retreated from view. For those not following AI in the broader sense closely over the last decade or so (or if you haven’t seen Minority Report or The Terminator) you’d be forgiven for thinking we witnessed the birth of the technology late last year. 

Since ChatGPT launched in November, it’s been almost impossible to read the news without falling over artificial intelligence. Stories have ranged from the initial potential of the tech to surprise and delight; to new use-cases at work; the winners and losers from an investment standpoint; the risk it poses to privacy, safety and misinformation; jobs and industries affected; the list really does go on. 

Those businesses with the speed, agility and guile to plug the likes of GPT-4 into their existing tech stacks soon after the release of the technology were seeing high profile media coverage for their ingenuity – with tech and industry vertical journalists consistently hungry for the next big AI story across their beat. 

Eight or so months later and that hunger is still there – but the bar has certainly been raised in terms of what’s newsworthy. It’s now not enough just to speculate about what AI could do for a business or industry. Today’s discussion is focused on what it already is doing, the impact it’s driving, as well as the scale of usage or investment in AI companies. According to Gartner, for example, AI will be utilised in 50% of drug discovery and development projects within just the next two years.

So with listed businesses clamouring for any AI mention they can squeeze into their earnings reports, significant adoption of the technology among enterprises and media just starting to feel AI fatigue, how can you still drive cut-through with media?

The old adage of ‘show, don’t tell’ has never rung truer

This is the moment to let the use-cases of AI play centre-stage – and the more unique in terms of deployment, and demonstrable in terms of impact, the better. Moving away from the theoretical into the practical is key. Lots of reporters have already discussed generative AI’s ability to write content, draw imagery and ultimately drive efficiencies. But can you demonstrate practically how it’s performing more complex, niche or surprising tasks? Whether that’s aiding genetic modelling to help treat diseases, streamlining manufacturing to reduce waste or even helping lawyers quickly summarise vast and complex documentation, the what in this instance is still as interesting as the how.  

Have a real viewpoint on AI regulation

‘AI needs the proper guardrails’ has been one of the phrases of 2023. In fact, in the last 12 months, ‘AI’ and ‘guardrails’ have been mentioned together over 8,000 times in English-speaking media and blogs, by nearly 2,000 different people (Brandwatch). So frankly, if you want to stand out from the crowd with your AI perspective, you need to come to the media with something substantial.

Media across the globe are (quite rightly) regulation-obsessed right now – so taking a forthright and direct stance on what areas require most attention, and educating the media on the areas regulators should consider, will help you cut through the surround sound. 

Demonstrate a clear understanding of where generative AI fits within the broader AI picture 

This is most important for technology leaders and businesses. AI isn’t new – and as consumers we’ve been using AI and machine learning, mostly unknowingly, for years. Whether it’s facial and voice biometrics to authenticate banking transactions; predictive analytics for shopping and journey planning; or domain-specific chat-bots to aid processes like finance and healthcare, AI has been a part of our social and working lives for more than a decade. Showcasing where generative AI fits into this broader mix, and where your organisation has already been deploying more ‘traditional’ AI over time, will help demonstrate that industry knowledge – adding weight to your point of view.  

Switch the debate from doomsday to a new dawn

Generative AI has continually been linked with job losses, data privacy issues and even been posed as a credible threat to the human race as it grows in intelligence and intuition. While these views aren’t to be dismissed, it’s worth noting there’s a largely binary story arc around the topic, and there’s a clear opportunity to present the opposing argument where you see one. 

For businesses that can quantify the positive prospect AI presents to them, and the technology industry more broadly, there is an opportunity to reframe the debate and educate media around the possibilities of the technology. A recent Google study found AI could deliver a £400 billion boost to the UK economy with the right investment, for example, with the piece touching on the areas the government should focus on and specific areas that could benefit, like education and healthcare.

There’s no doubt that generative AI has been a, if not the, key driver of business media coverage since the turn of the year. While the likes of the Metaverse has seen its hype cycle ramp up and almost disappear, generative AI looks to be here to stay. Those that move quickly as the story evolves will stand to win the war on AI prominence. Developing a comms strategy that sets you apart from the crowd will be key.   

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