Hey there, communication enthusiasts! Have you ever wished you had a robot assistant to help you tackle your never-ending inbox? Well, you might not have to wait much longer! With AI on the rise, the future of internal comms is looking pretty darn exciting. From chatbots to personalised content delivery, AI has the potential to revolutionise the way we communicate with our colleagues and organisations. But before we start fantasising about robot bosses, let's dive into some of the ways AI is already changing the game for internal comms. Get ready to explore how technology is making our work lives easier (and maybe a little bit weirder) than ever before!
Now, if any of you have read a couple of my blogs before (and if you have, I thank you!), then you may have guessed that I didn’t write that opening paragraph. You probably also guessed that AI did. It was written by a sassy robot at ChatGPT when I asked for “an informal, light-hearted introduction for a blog about how AI might shape the future of Internal Comms”. To be fair, it’s not at all bad. But it didn’t quite get my tone of voice or language right. The “pretty darn exciting” was the real giveaway for me because it’s just not a phrase I would ever use. It’s a bit too transatlantic for me. But that’s not ChatGPT’s fault. I didn’t specify that I’m British or ask it not to use any American slang. And I’m sure it will learn my communication style quickly enough if I keep the chat going.
(As a quick aside, it amused me that I was asked no fewer than three times to tick a box to prove that I wasn’t a robot when I signed up to the service. One has to wonder, why doesn’t ChatGPT want to talk to its own kind…)
But, back to the main topic, what might AI mean for the world of internal comms? I think it’s fair to say there are some of us who are wary of AI. If we’re not scared of it getting too darn smart (Ooops! Now who’s influencing whom?) and sending Terminators across time to wipe us out for getting in their way of planetary domination, we’re worried that they’re going to take our jobs from us. My personal opinion is that the latter is considerably more likely than the scenario that made James Cameron an awful lot of money in the 80s and 90s. However, there’s no point denying that AI could save us all time and effort for routine comms tasks because it already is.
AI already selects content for us on our social media channels and in other leisure pursuits. It makes recommendations on what we should read, who we should listen to, and what we should buy. We’ve probably conversed with an AI bot when “chatting with a customer service assistant” online, maybe without realising. Starbucks use a chatbot within their app. In fact, an ever-growing list of companies, including Lyft, Spotify, Mastercard, Pizza Hut, Staples, Shopify, Meta and Canva all employ chatbots and AI.
So, the future is already here. But what of its use within internal comms.
Let’s ask ChatGPT again. Here is, unedited, its response to “I am curious about how AI may shape internal communications for business”:
“AI has the potential to transform the way businesses approach internal communication. Here are a few ways AI may shape internal communications for business:
Chatbots for Employee Assistance: Chatbots are AI-powered tools that can converse with employees and answer frequently asked questions, saving the time and effort of HR or other staff members. Chatbots can help employees find answers to common questions related to benefits, policies, and other HR-related topics. They can also provide support and assistance in areas such as IT, finance, and customer service.
Personalised Content Delivery: AI algorithms can analyse employees' past behaviour and preferences to deliver personalized content. This can help employees stay engaged and informed with relevant updates, training materials, and company news.
Sentiment Analysis: AI can analyse employee communications to determine their overall sentiment towards the company, management, and other employees. This can help identify issues before they become bigger problems and enable management to take corrective action.
Voice and Language Recognition: AI can enable voice and language recognition, allowing employees to communicate with each other more efficiently. For example, speech-to-text tools can convert spoken messages into written text, enabling quick and easy communication for those who are hard of hearing or deaf.
Collaborative Tools: AI-powered collaborative tools can help employees work together more efficiently. For example, intelligent assistants can help schedule meetings, assign tasks, and track progress on projects, freeing up employees' time to focus on other important tasks.
Overall, AI has the potential to significantly improve internal communications for businesses. By automating routine tasks, delivering personalized content, and improving collaboration, AI can help employees stay engaged and informed, leading to increased productivity and better business outcomes.”
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To be clear, the only changes I made to the response was to change American spellings to British ones. And I think it makes some reasonable points.
I’m not sure that AI is ready to single-handedly tackle things like your all-important internal comms strategy or creating engaging video content for your workforce, but it seems pretty confident that it can help with some of the lighter lifting!
But, is AI really (artificially) intelligent enough to take the place of people, with their empathy, kindness, humour and other “human” emotions? There must be some concerns, some disadvantages or potential risks associated with using AI in IC.
Let’s ask our bot friend...
“Yes, there are potential disadvantages and risks associated with using AI in internal communications for business. Here are a few examples:
Lack of Human Connection: AI-powered communications can be efficient, but they can also lack the personal touch of human interactions. This may result in employees feeling disconnected and disengaged from their colleagues and the company culture.
Data Privacy Concerns: AI requires access to employee data to function effectively. This can raise concerns about data privacy, particularly when sensitive personal information is involved.
Bias in Algorithms: AI algorithms are only as objective as the data used to train them. If the data used to train the AI is biased, the algorithm may perpetuate and amplify that bias, leading to unfair or discriminatory outcomes.
Technical Limitations: AI is not infallible, and technical limitations can sometimes lead to errors in communication or decision-making. This can result in confusion and frustration for employees.
Overreliance on Technology: Over-reliance on AI-powered communication tools can lead to a lack of critical thinking and decision-making skills among employees. This can create a culture of dependence on technology that may not be sustainable in the long run.
To mitigate these risks, it's essential to implement AI-powered communication tools thoughtfully and with care. Companies must also ensure that they have robust data protection and privacy policies in place to safeguard sensitive employee information. Additionally, regular reviews of AI algorithms and data sets can help identify and address bias and other technical issues. Finally, it's important to strike a balance between AI-powered communication tools and human interactions to ensure that employees feel connected and engaged in the workplace.”
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Wow! That’s pretty compelling. There are some counterarguments in there which are, I believe, quite frightening. So, our bot friend’s closing paragraph sums it up very nicely. Dare I say it: I couldn’t have said it better myself.
And don’t be fooled that AI can’t tackle what are traditionally more creative tasks. AI has already been used to write poetry, “paint” pictures, write songs and produce music videos without human intervention. Here at Guru HQ, we currently use AI to touch-up poor quality photos and master music, tasks that previously relied on our creative skills and very human decisions (and that took up plenty of time).
(In a bot vs bot showdown, I just put this blog through an AI grammar checker. It seems different artificial intelligences have different opinions on writing styles and language use; there was more “red ink” on this homework than I used to get on my least successful school essays!)
But, make no mistake, AI is here now, it’s here to stay, and its scope and reach will only grow. Let’s just hope it doesn’t bring its Terminator friends with it!
I’m joking, of course! Which got me to thinking: does my chatbot friend know any good jokes?
No. It doesn't.