New AIinPR Ethics Guide: PR needs to be part of AI build-teams as ‘middle-class white coders in Silicon Valley cannot foresee use cases in Blackburn, Baltimore or Bombay’

The World’s first AI in PR Ethics Guide was published by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)’s AinPR Panel and the Canadian Public Relation Society (CPRS).  

Public relations practitioners – as ethical guardians – need a robust understanding of the uses and applications of artificial intelligence. The new guide – ‘Ethics Guide to Artificial Intelligence in PR‘ – argues they should be part of all AI build and deployment teams, posing the tough ethical questions which technology AI specialists and senior management may not consider.  

The guide is designed to support communicators in their own work and in their senior management advisory capacity. It outlines some key principles for ethical decision-making, provides practical advice on using the CIPR’s ethical decision-making tree and the Open Data Institute’s data ethics canvas through the use of real-life examples.

The report suggests new laws or regulations are unlikely to keep pace with modern technologies and, therefore, knowledgeable PR professionals – competent enough to speak up – are needed to keep their organisations ‘safe’ and cause no deliberate harm to the people and stakeholders the AI products, tools, services and platforms are intended to serve.

Understanding ethics is hard enough, understanding the potential pitfalls and ethical challenges of AI makes it even harder. We wanted to do two things: first, take public relations professionals through a decision-making framework that will educate them on AI itself and the bigger issues it generates. Second, guide them through some challenging ethical specifics such as using the LinkedIn Insight tag and facial recognition software. 

Professor Anne Gregory Hon FCIPR, Former Chair of the Global Alliance

Writing this guide has been new territory and a huge and complex job. We are very grateful to our fellow AIinPR panel members for testing our own thinking and providing some great examples.

Jean Valin Hon FCIPR, Principal of Valin Strategic Communications

With the possibility of serious negative consequences, to businesses, organisations and society, springing directly from AI projects, there needs to be the utmost focus by PRs on ensuring ethics is at the forefront and ethical standards are upheld. AI readiness isn’t just a tech issue, it is an ethics issue.

Kerry Sheehan Chart.PR, FCIPR, CIPR Artificial Intelligence Chair
  • To download the report, and to read more of their work, visit the #AIinPR webpage online.

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