Artificial Intelligence: What communicators need to know

The term artificial intelligence, or “AI” is on your radar by now. You probably have scanned an article about it or heard it in the news. But, how much do you really know about AI? And, how does it impact business communications?

As the use of AI technology grows, ethical concerns come in to play. And, there are some valid concerns. However, there are several ways that business communicators can use AI safely and deliver value to their audiences.


AI is described as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines,” according to John McCarthy who created the definition in 1955. Basically, AI is code that has the ability to analyze data, algorithms and programming. It uses that information to perform actions, adapt to multiple situations, and anticipate problems with and without supervision.

However, not all AI is created equal– there are different categories. For example, according to Techopedia, “weak artificial intelligence is a form of AI specifically designed to be focused on a narrow task and to seem very intelligent at it. It contrasts with strong AI, which is capable of all and any cognitive functions that a human may have and is in essence no different than a real human mind.”

Strong AI is still largely the stuff of science fiction. However, “weak” AI is used personally to help with tasks like scheduling or professionally for analyzing big data.

Business uses

Where does AI enter our everyday lives? And, how can it be used to enhance business communications? Here are four examples that businesses can start using immediately.

Personal Assistant

Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant are examples of personal assistants. They are available on smartphones and smart listening devices. These personal assistants use a large database of information to pass on to you when you ask them questions or tell them to perform tasks. You can use them for scheduling meetings, making calls and setting timers and reminders. Fifty per cent of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. Business communicators can harness the power of voice activated search by optimizing their digital platforms for this use.

Social Media Content

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram use AI to deliver content that they think is most relevant to individuals. This is important for brands, because the average person cannot figure out the algorithms used by these social media giants. So, to help to ensure that your posts find first place in users newsfeeds it is useful to understand the basics of how AI uses engagement data. Elements such as hashtags, how often you post, the number of comments received and your level of engagement with your audiences all impact where your content appears in follower’s feeds.


Chatbots have been used for years but are more advanced and easier than ever to use on your website or Facebook page. For example, Facebook makes chatbot use for brands easy with simple Facebook Pages settings. Chatbots provide the option to use AI automation to connect with customers right away. Allowing Chatbots to answer simple or repetitive questions, such as store hours, also reduces the costs of community management. This allows customers service teams to deal with more pressing issues.

Online Advertising

Ads that you see online are not by chance. AI uses browser history and search preferences to deliver ads that are tailored specifically for you. Business should use relevant, targeted content with audience interest data. This will drive increased engagement to qualified potential customers.

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