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Published Veröffentlicht 01/05/2024

Uniquely Human, Reinforced by AI.

By Rafe Needleman

Generative AI may change how we do our jobs as communicators, but it’s not about to replace us humans. Good communicators will learn how to layer AI’s strengths into their human skills. 

Because no matter how much automation we adopt, people are wired to relate to other people. When we seek specific strategic or life advice, we want to hear it from an expert we trust – informed by data, yes, but filtered through experience and understanding.  

We need to leverage this new technology deliberately, and never for its own sake. AI can be a great assistant, or even much more. For some, it can improve productivity, serve as a creative partner or accelerate ideation. 

But in the job of communicating, there are elements of the human experience that machines cannot replace. People who are good at these skills, even if they rely on technology for others, are the most effective: 

Empathy 

AI can write serviceably, but it does not empathize. It cannot have a hunch or know a client on a personal level. It will never have a question pop into its head while taking a shower. It won’t follow up on that question with action, like inviting an expert who knows the topic in question out for coffee. It won’t benefit from the coffee leading to an additional business relationship or some other mutually beneficial outcome. These are human outcomes, based on the human experience.  

Thought 

While AI can help generate written content you can put in front of potential and current customers, partners and investors, AI cannot replace the human thought process that usually precedes writing. In many cases, that thinking is more important than the writing itself. For many people, writing is the exercise that crystalizes their thoughts. Or, as the Richard Guindon cartoon says, “Writing is nature’s way of letting you know how sloppy your thinking is.” 

This process of thinking, writing, then thinking some more and re-writing, is an important exercise that cannot be wholly outsourced to a machine. It’s where original ideas often come from.  

Creativity 

Today’s generative AI tools can create original content – to the extent that the works are new and unique. True creative breakthrough, however, requires conceptual leaps that blend life experience, emotion, self-awareness, love, doubt and other so-far uniquely human capabilities. We can use many tools and technologies to help us create truly human messages. AI is one of them. To use it to amplify our creative potential, we must, at some fundamental level, understand what it can do, what it cannot and what it simply imitates.   

Connection 

AI is a useful tool for helping us communicate. But human connection reaches people more deeply than even the best-calculated content. Today’s humans do not like being on the receiving end of machine-made emotions. A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied showed  listeners like music less when they think it was created by AI, even if it wasn’t.  

This is why, when you have a story to tell, an idea to promote, a product to launch or a PR crisis, you will not be as effective in making a human connection with your audience if you rely on AI to tell the story for you.  

Passion 

We often counsel those we work with to let their enthusiasm for a message shine through. Humans pick up on non-verbal emotional cues, which reinforce the message. Studies disagree on the precise amount of face-to-face communication that is non-verbal (body language, tone of voice and so on), but the proportion is significant. Most people are extremely adept at receiving non-verbal (or phatic) communication and internalize it without realizing it. Genuine enthusiasm for a message carries a lot of weight. 

AI is an improving partner 

The quality and utility of AI products continues to improve at a rapid clip. We continue to develop AI capabilities and products for our clients, and we are constantly exploring how to apply the tools ourselves. But we don’t ask AI to create relationships with our audiences. We don’t expect it to wonder for us, or dream for us. 

We try to use the best tools on our clients’ projects. Often that can include AI. But always it includes human expertise and experience.  

Rafe Needleman is Senior Vice President of Technology Editorial for Allison. He joined the firm after more than 20 years as a technology journalist, serving as editor-in-chief of publications such as Red Herring Online, Byte, Yahoo Tech, and CNET Reviews. He has also worked as a new product consultant, and as a leadership content creator for a Fortune 500 enterprise technology business.  

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