May 15, 2024

Anti-PR and AI: Karla Jo Helms’ Game-Changing Strategies

By Randy Ferguson

Anti-PR and AI

In an interview with CloudTweaks, Karla Jo Helms, the Chief Evangelist and Anti-PR® Strategist for JOTO PR Disruptors™, delves into the critical role of AI technologies and their acceptance in today’s fast-paced business landscape. Karla, renowned for her expertise in crisis management and public relations, has a wealth of experience in navigating the complex world of public opinion. Her career, shaped by the high stakes of business, has taught her that the control of public perception is paramount to a company’s success.

In this interview, Karla shares her insights on how AI technologies are transforming the PR industry, the challenges and opportunities they present, and how businesses can leverage these advancements to their advantage. She also discusses the concept of Anti-PR and how it can be a game-changer in shaping market perception in an era increasingly dominated by artificial intelligence.

What was your first reaction to Google’s recent policy update aimed at reducing AI-generated spam in search results, and what immediate impact do you foresee on businesses?

I thought it was smart; Google is being a good steward, as always of spammy content. Google’s postulate, or basic premise, on which it operates is being the purveyor of quality content. The algorithms and developers it takes to do that are massive. People are always going to try to game the system—which is why Google resets and updates its algorithms to overcome that. They probably have algorithms upon algorithms to determine the speed at which actors will try to game the newest revision – and with AI speeding things up, I bet it’s a challenging game.

What could be the potential implications of Google’s AI policy update on the wider adoption and acceptance of AI technologies?

People will have to get smarter. AI is not a replacement tool – it is a “level-up” tool, meant to help increase imagination, innovation and speed of ideas and work. Using it lazily has major implications and drawbacks – and with Google setting this pace, it is setting a standard for quality.

How can companies invest in ethical AI training, and what key areas must they focus on to ensure that they are well-prepared to assess AI tools effectively?

Companies can invest in ethical AI training by prioritizing three things: 1) quality assurance, 2) continuous learning, and 3) transparency. Just as Google maintains high standards by constantly updating its algorithms to combat spam and ensure content quality, companies must establish stringent standards, and cadences, for AI development. This involves regular updates to training programs to address new ethical challenges with new AI technological advancements. Ethical AI training should emphasize using AI to augment human creativity and problem-solving, rather than as a lazy replacement, fostering a culture of innovation and accountability.

Companies and leaders can proactively compile what they are learning, document and set industry standards for ethical AI usage. This helps build trust and credibility, much like Google’s standard-setting for content quality. By focusing on these key areas, companies can develop a pretty robust framework for ethical AI training, ensuring they are well-prepared to assess and deploy AI tools responsibly.

Why is it important for businesses to stay informed about advancements in AI technology, and how can they apply these technologies effectively while maintaining a balance with human supervision?

AI is not going away… it is here to stay and will irrevocably change business and our lives forever. The speed at which it is being adopted requires businesses to stay up to date and educated – and learn the advancements, and pitfalls. Human supervision is going to be paramount – always. It is important that those that hold AI supervision, moderation and other roles have high IQs, so they have the breadth of understanding and are ability to observe, decide and act.

With the high concern over bias in AI outcomes, what strategies or tools does your team use to detect and address bias in generative AI applications?

There are tools to detect and determine how much of something was written with AI. Plus, one can read AI today and be able to see when content is purely AI driven – it is sort of soulless right now, without a conceptual understanding or theme prevailing in the content. That could change one day – but human supervision will still be paramount – and it IS today. Wording, idioms, cultural vernacular, industry jargon, types of target audiences and even emotional tone need to be dictated into AI for it to work well – along with bite-sized prompts.

In what ways does JOTO PR Disruptors ensure human involvement in the verification process of AI outputs, especially to detect bias and correct errors?

JOTO PR Disruptors ensures human involvement in the verification of AI outputs through multiple strategies. Like leveraging tools that detect and analyze the extent of AI-generated content, as AI outputs often lack the depth and conceptual understanding that human-written content possesses. Despite advancements, human supervision remains crucial to ensure quality and authenticity. Human editors oversee wording, idioms, cultural vernacular, industry jargon, target audience nuances, and emotional tone, guiding AI to produce coherent and relevant content.

Additionally, JOTO PR Disruptors emphasizes the importance of operating from a solid communication strategy. Rather than relying on spontaneous, unplanned AI usage, we implement a structured approach to ensure consistency and effectiveness. This prevents the pitfalls of “bright idea-itis” and ensures AI is used in a way that aligns with overall communication goals.

How do you envision using AI to empower your team and enhance human capabilities rather than displacing them?

AI is envisioned as a “level-up” tool rather than a replacement for human capabilities. It is designed to enhance imagination, innovation, and the speed of ideas and work. To effectively empower the team, AI should be used to augment human intelligence, encouraging smarter and more efficient workflows. However, it’s crucial to avoid using AI lazily, as this can lead to significant drawbacks. By setting high standards for quality, much like Google does, the team can use AI to elevate their work and maintain excellence.

As AI technologies become more integrated into business operations, how does JOTO PR Disruptors approach its broader societal and ethical responsibilities?

With our clients who are leaders in AI developments, it is imperative to stay alert, educate the markets, inform one’s audiences on best use cases, pitfalls, and practical use of AI. Educate, educate, educate is the mantra of the day… BE a thought leader, SHOW what one is DOING. AI is no longer about what WILL BE. It is about what IS.

The future of AI will be shaped by this prolific education that companies who are leading with AI MUST engage in. Good works are not always known or seen – they must be publicized. And not for the sake of exposure itself, but always to help and achieve the PURPOSE of what these companies aim to DO with AI – which boils down to making the world a better place. Never underestimate the power of communicating one’s purpose and SHOWING what one is doing – over and over.

How has Google’s update influenced your strategies for deploying AI, and what adjustments have you had to make to ensure compliance and effectiveness?

What we have always done… being a leader in Anti-PR and knowing how the court of public opinion leads markets today, we have to predict and strategize what could occur, what the implications would be, how to handle it or to communicate around, against or for it. It’s the same in crisis management… we treat everything with the same codified body of knowledge, so if/when something happens, we can apply our strategy and get results.

Looking forward, what role do you see AI playing in shaping your industry, and how are you preparing to leverage its benefits while managing potential drawbacks?

I hope it helps my industry understand the value of strategy, being one step ahead, the evolution of changing minds and getting people to think newly. AI is rapidly changing all that. In crisis management, there is no replacement for speed, precision and effectiveness. It parallels AI. My industry operates (or should) at the speed of thought – companies that employ agencies must realize that capitalizing on an idea or creating that idea before it occurs will help brands remain competitive. More communication, better communication, IS the formula that will win.

By Randy Ferguson

Randy Ferguson

Randy boasts 30 years in the tech industry, having penned articles for multiple esteemed online tech publications. Alongside a prolific writing career, Randy has also provided valuable consultancy services, leveraging a deep knowledge of technological trends and insights.
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