By Edward M. Bury, APR, MA (aka The PRDude)
The title of this post contains three acronyms, perhaps a first for The PRDude. Most — if not all readers — surely will ascertain the meaning of the acronyms that open and close the line above.
But let’s delve into the abbreviation right before the colon, which actually describes a digital resource that has the capability to dramatically alter the world as we know it. On second thought, it already has. A bold statement, yes. But read on.
If you haven’t learned already, ChatGPT stands for Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer, a relatively new computer program that can write an essay, article, poem and other written works just by sharing a few words on a particular subject. As I draft this final post of January 2023, a growing number of news reports online and from print and broadcast sources have crossed my desk on this new tool available for free.
That’s right: ChatGPT can “write” an assignment from an English teacher, or as depicted in this Doonesbury comic from January 15, 2023, can draft a news story — at least in the cartoon world. At no cost to the user.
An obvious concern is the potential cost to society: Students taking courses in English and other subjects that require putting original cogent thoughts together on paper, okay, on a screen, could employ the tool rather than actually research and write a class assignment.
But my immediate concern centers, as you can guess, on the impact ChatGPT and similar programs — one can predict there will be others — will have on the future practice of modern, strategic public relations. As noted in this Burrelles post from last year, artificial intelligence programs already have been employed across many aspects of strategic communications and can be valuable resources for PR practitioners. Furthermore, a PR Daily story from January of 2020 cites seven ways AI will impact public relations.
This technological development raises questions regarding its role in the future of public relations. Here are a few:
- Can ChatGPT be used to prepare a strategic communications plan? How about a crisis communications plan?
- Will this digital tool eliminate jobs?
- What are ways ChatGPT can be misused?
Our world has been flooded with things and services that are “artificial” for quite some time. Think of “artificially flavored” beverages and “artificial insemination,” to cite two drastically different examples. In the examples just referenced, one can argue that neither is superior over the real thing.
I’ll conclude that compositions of any kind prepared by ChatGPT will not rank with those prepared by a human being because the soul and passion that goes into a profound written work can’t be replicated by a computer code. At least I hope it can’t.
Before I conclude, one final question: Can ChatGPT be employed to write The PRDude? Perhaps, but not while I control the publish button. .
NOTE: Like the image that accompanies this post? Contact photographer Markus Winkler at email@example.com.