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Communications and Marketing
in the Algorithm Age
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Guillaume Herbette
Global CEO, MSL

The Leadership Opportunity

for Communicators to
Champion AI
Those who lead the communications Many are what psychologists refer to Our guide, Powered by AI:
function inside companies -- in PR, as “right-brain” creative types. They Communications and Marketing in the
advertising and marketing -- are can be visionaries, see the big picture Algorithm Age, provides interesting
embracing Artificial Intelligence with a and imagine the many applications of insights on AI adoption drawn from
surprising level of confidence and AI to business. This makes them an the original research, as well as
optimism. According to our new global ideal partner to the IT department led qualitative learning from company
research study of more than 1800 by the Chief Information Officer that experts that have implemented AI
communication leaders at leading manages company plans around the strategies inside their firms. We are
companies and brands around the AI technology and develops the proud to have partnered with our
world, the persistent AI discussion applications. The logical and colleagues at sister agency
over the last year or so has hooked methodical left-brain IT leaders need Publicis.Sapient who are experts in
communications leaders. Many have the right-brain communicators as well. counseling companies and brands on
pro-actively built their knowledge of The result can be the ideal marriage of the AI revolution.
the technology without the benefit of imaginative ideas to technical know-
formal training provided by their how, setting up a sweet spot for By continuing to move with high
companies -- much of it is likely self- success in AI adoption. interest into the world of AI,
taught. As a result, the communicators communicators can play an important
are becoming stewards and It’s a true leadership opportunity. role in AI adoption, putting mastery of
evangelists for the new technology in Communicators can start by the Algorithm Age in their own hands.
their companies. They expect their constructing these new and rather
companies to invest in AI in order to unexpected partnerships with those in
better develop insights, strategy, IT that can return potential dividends
marketing and creativity. The majority back to the business.
also believe AI will have positive
effects on the company workforce, In this scenario, AI presents a real
driving an increase in jobs, though this opportunity for communications
Guillaume Herbette
Global CEO, MSL
varies across the world. professionals to not only manage
change, but also in some cases,
The research suggests to me the introduce it to their firms.
important role that communicators
can play in adoption of this new
technology in business.
Executive Summary of
our Insights and Research
MSL and Publicis.Sapient conducted a major study of client-side communicators
around the world to understand the mindset, opportunities and needs of
communicators around the future impact of AI on their work and their
companies. Based on this research, we believe:

• A gap will grow rapidly between leaders, communicators and businesses that
embrace AI and others that ignore the opportunity or are slow to adapt. We
expect the businesses and professional statures of those who fail to engage
will suffer the consequences.

• Communicators at all companies need to understand and prepare for the

coming AI revolution, its impact on their businesses and how the
communications function they oversee will need to change.

Key findings of the research:

Client-side communicators around the world share overall optimism on the
impact that AI will have on the future of the communications field mixed with
some apprehensions.
• 55% feel positive
• 38% have mixed feelings
• Respondents from China (78%), India (73%), Brazil (66%), the USA (65%),
Italy (51%) and France (48%), and feel largely positive about an AI-driven
future in communications, while a majority of those from Poland (57%),
Germany (52%) and UK (47%) think the implications will be both
positive and negative.
Many communications leaders are serving as evangelists inside their
companies about the opportunity to use AI. They have stepped ahead of
others in their company in terms of teaching themselves about the capability.
• An overwhelming number of respondents (83%) we surveyed said they place
a significant priority on acquainting themselves with AI, and more than 2 out
of 3 already somewhat consider themselves experts on the subject.
• This suggests an active hunger for learning and innovation among
communications leaders, and most are taking the effort to stay abreast of
the latest AI developments.
• While they have equipped themselves with AI knowledge, communicators
believe AI training for the workforce is necessary -- a staggering 84% also
think AI training and education is crucial for market leaders. However, only
29% of those we surveyed said their companies are currently investing in
training and educating the workforce in AI.


Communication leaders expect their companies to use AI capabilities to
support a variety of communications and HR functions, including marketing,
insights and strategy, creativity as well as employee training.


Armageddon-type worries about AI-enabled robots displacing humans in the
workplace have been around for a while, but not many believe their jobs are in
danger from the machines.
• Less than 20% of communication leaders cited job loss as the AI-related
issue that concerns them most.
• 34% believe AI adoption will increase jobs in the next five years.


Communication leader see data security and consumer privacy as their
biggest concern in the next five years involving AI adoption.
• 50% are concerned about data security and consumer privacy and another
19% cited criminal use of technologies.
• 20% are concerned about job losses and 12% are concerned about machine-
led errors in decision making.
Table of Contents

07 Augmented Influence: How AI Will

Enhance Communications and
Marketing Value

14 AI, Smart Machines, and the

Communications Discipline
Rashed Haq
Global Lead for AI and Group Vice President, Publicis.Sapient

18 AI: How Prepared are Communicators?

Global research data analysis from Brazil,
China, France, Germany, India, Italy,
United Kingdom and the United States

30 AI Conversations: Brands that are Doing It

AI initiatives and plans from Coty and BMW

40 AI Conversations: Experts Weigh In

Insights from AI influencers on the millennial
perspective and the ethics around AI

51 Powered by AI: Our Predictions

A look at what an AI-driven future will look like
for the communications industry
Augmented Influence:
How AI Will Enhance
Communications and
Marketing Value.
More than half of the marketeres today technology-enhanced communication
use AI and another 27 percent plan to as “Augmented Influence.”
start in 2019, according to a recent
survey. MSL's own research confirms We predict the pace of AI adoption
that communications leaders around will follow Kurzweil's Law of
the world welcome the opportunity to Accelerating Returns, increasing
use AI to make their functions smarter, exponentially until today's disruptions
more efficient and more productive. become the new normal.

We believe that AI will enable We've mapped out some of the AI

communications and marketing to communication applications we see in
move closer to the ideal of two-way play now, those coming in the near-
communication -- the only kind that is term and how they affect PR and
‘really sticky.’ marketing practitioners.

In the purest form of traditional

storytelling, a storyteller makes
adjustment in tone and plot based on
listener reaction. With the rise of mass
media, two-way communication
became more difficult because
the storyteller could not see the
audience responding to the story and 1. Public Relations
make adjustments.

Now through AI, entertainment

companies like Netflix gain new insight
PR Writing and Content
into how audiences interact with a Creation
story at a very granular level -- pauses, The Associated Press, the BBC, help with content expressing their
stops, not returning vs. returning, etc. Forbes, The New York Times and many unique points of view and telling their
This helps improve the next story and other media outlets enlist robot writers company and brand stories, which
makes it stickier. Years back, they to generate data-grounded stories like robots can't do. PR pros also can take
could only tell if a DVD was renting earnings reports and sports, saving advantage of AI tools to easily scale
out frequently. valuable resources and time. production of standard press releases,
Automated writing technologies like news announcements and website
Of course, public relations practitioners Quill, Articoolo, Wordsmith and The content. This all results in the release
have always understood their work as Washington Post's Heliograf are of a critical industry resource: time. PR
managing a two-way dialogue, and AI among the intelligent tools powering practitions can take advantage of all
will help them significantly achieve robots. Data visualization tools such as their freed up time to think more
that goal. In MSL's recent publication, Flourish create infographics and strategically about their work and
PR 2020, we referred to the trend of interactive visuals to make complex become stronger counselors. In this
information more interesting and sense, AI presents the opportunity
easier to understand. to upgrade the quality of the
profession by shifting time to more
strategic functions.
While robot writers and data
visualization have grown significantly,
PR practitioners need to keep their
laptops plugged in. Clients need their

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‘While robot writers and
data visualization have
grown significantly, PR
practitioners shouldn't
close their laptops just
yet. Clients need
content expressing their
unique points of view
and telling their
company and brand
stories, which robots
can't do.’

Monitoring and Analytics

Monitoring is a PR fundamental once
limited to reading daily papers and
watching news videos. Now, real-time
dashboards and alerts from services
like Google Alerts, Talkwalker and
TrendKite do much of the work. These
services are quickly becoming more
sophisticated and using AI to
understand communicators' and
clients' specific needs. There will soon
be no excuse for not staying on top of
relevant conversations and trends.

Being aware of trends, of course, isn't

enough. PR practitioners must step in
at the right moment and determine
the best way to respond. As Mark
McClennan, Senior Vice President,
MSL, explains, “To be most effective,
we need to go beyond surface ‘Being aware of
analysis, to delve deeper and identify
the passion and core triggers that can trends isn't enough.
create meaningful change. We need to
break down silos and integrate the
PR practitioners
voice of the customer, social, location- must step in at the
based insights, earned
media/influence, call center feedback right moment and
and third-party market insights. The
best AI solutions rely on us pointing determine the best
them in the right direction and
avoiding false flag traps.”
way to respond.’

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Communications Message Targeting and
Decision-Making Audience Optimization
Companies across industries are Message targeting is certainly not new,
adopting AI-powered business but AI elevates it to an entirely new
decision management (BDM) to give level. Communicators can create
leaders the information needed to materials and messaging directed to
consider potential risks and make the narrowest audience slivers, quickly
decisions more quickly. BDM is also and cost effectively.
being used to manage
communications with key stakeholders
AI helps PR planners organize vast
including customers, suppliers
amounts of data, enabling them
and employees.
effectively to target the right message
and content to the right individuals.
In the near future, PR pros may be Advanced tools, especially those that
able to use similar systems to check identify high-potential influencers will
decision-making in certain high-stakes continue to evolve, offering tighter
situations based on historical alignment with the target audience.
outcomes. With human oversight,
these tools may become useful aid
during crises or issues.

‘Advanced tools,
especially those that
identify high-
potential influencers
will continue to
evolve, offering
tighter alignment
with the target

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2. Advertising and Marketing
Digital and Programmatic Email Marketing ‘Almost 84 percent of
Advertising With AI, marketers can personalize
AI has become the core of digital emails based on target audience U.S. digital display ad
behaviors and preferences to improve
advertising. Platforms such as Google
campaign performance. Through
spending will be
Ads and Facebook use AI to capture
and analyze user interests and machine learning, they can tell when
it's best to contact each consumer,
automated by 2019.’
demographics for advertisers and help
them improve targeting over time. This how often and which subject
drives higher conversion rates at the lines to use.
lowest possible cost.
Marketers can access this intelligence
AI also drives programmatic through tools like Phrasee, which can
advertising, which uses software for generate human-sounding, brand-
buying and selling ad inventory compliant subject lines in minutes.
through exchanges connecting Zeta Global helps marketers
advertisers to publishers. AI algorithms understand individual consumers and
constantly analyze consumer behavior act on that knowledge automatically
patterns, enabling improved targeting and in real time. Persado generates
and real-time campaign optimization. personalized emotional language to
drive sales and relationships.

Marketers are on board, with

projections showing almost 84 percent
of U.S. digital display ad spending will
be automated by 2019. There are
concerns, including lack of consistent
measurement and agency
transparency, but positive results and
reduced costs are fueling momentum.

As valuable as it is to marketers, this

kind of ad buying, also has raised
concerns about consumer privacy and
brand safety. In a recent survey
‘advertisers said they were adjusting
their buying strategies to account for
better brand safety. Half of the
survey's respondents said they were
applying pressure on their partners to
ensure that brand safety concerns
would be met, and 45 percent said
they were moving their ad spend
to premium publishers with
good reputations.’

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‘Marketers must
translate content into
how people talk.’

Voice Search Chatbots

AI reinvented online search and search Chatbots are becoming common
engine optimization (SEO) by substitutes for live representatives to
enabling voice search on platforms answer consumers' questions and fulfill
such as Apple's Siri, Amazon Echo, requests. Whether voice or text, most
Google Home and Microsoft's Cortana. chatbots rely on machine learning to
Google quickly learned, however, that understand consumer inquiries and
people use different language when come up with appropriate answers
talking to a device than when typing with no wait times. Brands and
on a keyboard. Their RankBrain companies use chatbots on their Recommendation Engines
algorithm uses AI to interpret websites and in messenger apps like Amazon, Spotify, Netflix and web
conversational searches and deliver Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. search engines use machine learning
more relevant results. to offer customized recommendations
The good news for marketers is that based on what people read, buy, listen
chatbots are always available, always to and watch. They've expanded from
Marketers, too, must translate content on-brand and on-message and keep
into how people talk. Simple, human-curated lists and ratings by
their cool when customers are upset. fellow customers to smart systems
conversational keywords are in; long, The downsides are consumer
sophisticated words and phrases that draw conclusions from consumers'
frustration with imperfect responses, behaviors. For example, Netflix
found only in writing are out. language misunderstandings and lack changes the image you see for a
of contact with a human being. Still, movie in your feed based on what
solutions are improving rapidly, earning you've watched in the past to make it
chatbots a key role in many marketing more appealing.
and communication programs.

Companies with vast inventories are

‘Chatbots are always the heaviest users of recommendation
engines, helping consumers quickly
available, always on- sort through the options and choose.
Integrating these systems into
brand and keep their marketing programs or developing
them for clients are opportunities for
cool when customers marketers and communicators.
are upset.’

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3. Overall Support
Knowledge Management ‘Eventually,
Internal platforms to curate company
knowledge emerged in the mid-1990s knowledge
as intranets. Today, many are highly
sophisticated, collaborative resources
accessible on computers, smart
phones and mobile devices.
platforms will be able
to tease out insights
AI can enhance knowledge
management platforms in many ways.
and learnings from
As examples, users can search with multiple pieces of
simple voice commands; get search
suggestions based on their location, i”nformation.’
title or role; and receive content
ranked and sorted by relevance.
Advanced systems will deliver
background information, provide
additional content created in other Creativity
global network offices or external
AI could spark a resurgence of
resources, and notify users when new
communications creativity. First, AI-
related content is added. Eventually,
driven knowledge management and
these platforms will be able to tease
monitoring systems can produce
out insights and learnings from
examples of inspiring creative instantly,
multiple pieces of information.
putting ideation materials at ‘Using AI
communications leaders' fingertips.
Knowledge management platforms Second, systems can draw inspiration applications for
help users make smart decisions more from around the world, ensuring
quickly than ever before. Marketers multiple perspectives and fresher routine work gives
should take advantage of their
powerful capabilities to make
ideas. Third, using AI applications for
routine work gives communicators
communicators more
communications decisions, develop
strategies, plan campaigns and craft
more time to do what they do best,
which is plan campaigns and develop
time to do what they
creative content. brilliant creative. do best.’

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Talent Fit Content Management/User Predictive Analysis
Advanced AI systems can help Experience Predicting what is to come, such as
agencies and communications A significant aspect of the user the results of a campaign or the
departments find the right talent in experience (UX) is personalization. impact on sales, is the next
several ways. Programmatic A 2018 Evergage survey showed more communications frontier. AI-driven
advertising allows recruiters to place than 90 percent of marketers use analytics based on historical
highly targeted ads where desirable personalization in some way, with performance and other data can
candidates will see them, profile more than three-quarters employing sharpen all forms of communication
augmentation will eventually infer it in emails and more than half on before they're put into play.
candidates' interests and skills, and websites. AI algorithms make it
automated resume screening provides possible to analyze one person's The data are there. It's up to
benchmarking to help find candidates demographics, devices, location and communicators to find it, analyze it,
best suited for the job. other data and show content tailored draw conclusions and make
to him or her. decisions that transform them from
‘Advanced AI reactive situation managers to
proactive futurists ready to capitalize
To keep website visitors engaged and
systems can help more likely to convert, PR and on opportunities.
marketing practitioners should
agencies and continually manage and customize
communications content. One simple example is to
show blog posts based on blogs and
departments find the topics the visitor previously viewed.

right talent in several

‘More than 90
percent of marketers
use personalization
in some way.’

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AI, Smart Machines and
the Communications
Deploying AI technology alongside
communications professionals can help you
amplify, rather than replace, the empathy that
makes successful communications work.

Rashed Haq

Over the last 20 years, Rashed has When external industry or geopolitical
helped companies transform and events impact the organization in
create sustained competitive dramatic ways, communications
advantage, through innovative executives are expected to respond
applications of AI, dynamic with lightning speed. But fast
optimization, advanced analytics and turnaround, with stories that are clear,
data engineering. informative and trusted, grows
increasingly challenging as the public
Prior to joining Sapient, Rashed did becomes more demanding. And no
research in theoretical physics at the executive wants to be the center of an
Los Alamos National Lab and the embarrassing Tweet-storm from a
Institute for Theoretical Science. His story that leaves a seemingly
seminal paper on electromagnetically innocuous, but critical stone, unturned.
induced transparency led to the
emerging cloaking technologies. It’s a daunting task and one where ‘By mining mountains
technology can help. By mining
mountains of raw data (in near to of raw data, smart
real time), smart machines are
pinpointing that single piece of insight machines are
needed to create an informed story
(whether it’s a mundane earnings
pinpointing that
release or important response to a
game-changing event). While AI in
single piece of
communications is relatively new, insight needed to
early-adopters are proving its ability
to help resource-constrained create an informed
organizations appear as if they have an
army of researchers at their disposal. story.’

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If you feel bombarded by information, content, and endless
decision-making challenges, AI is something to consider.
But new skills will need to be acquired (see below).

How do you think AI will impact the communications and marketing

workforce in the next 5 years?

Communications professionals
34% 13%
AI will increase jobs for AI will decrease jobs
will need to equip themselves communications for communications
with more skills professionals professionals

AI won’t have too much
Don’t know
impact on communications

Reference: Toluna Analytics and MSL global survey of marketing and communications professionals

How Can You Cut Through

the AI Hype?
Garnering new skills around an
emerging technology that is
‘While marketing and generating a lot of noise makes it
difficult to know where to begin. But,

communications teams as AI and smart machine technologies

mature and ‘lessons learned’ are
applied to early missteps and failures,
still have lessons to its capabilities will soon become
mainstream. While marketing and

learn, many AI proofs- communications teams still have

lessons to learn, many AI proofs-of-

of-concepts are moving concepts are moving into deployment.

Bloomberg, for example, uses smart
machines to automatically generate
into deployment.’ data-driven stories about where a
sector is headed (by deriving insights
from an industry's collective earnings
releases and product announcements).
Many PR departments are using
Google's Radar to automate press
release writing. Marketing's use of
listening devices (to monitor trends
and social sentiment) have been in
place for years.

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How Should You Launch
Your AI Journey?
Perhaps the best way to begin is to
differentiate what Forrester calls
“pure AI” (where machines mimic
human thinking and reasoning) from
“pragmatic AI” which helps you
achieve specific tasks, much the way
Siri and Alexa help consumers.

Pure AI examples include smart

advisors, which promise to help
executives see information beyond
their natural limitations and their
inherent blind spots. Smart advisors
will help executives mine data to
consider alternative decision paths --
and to provide greater insight into the
implications of those decisions. Today,
these types of capabilities are not
available off-the-shelf, rather they need
to be built by data scientists and
technologists that keenly understand
your industry and situation.

Pragmatic AI examples are more task-

oriented (and more available from
commercial vendors). For example in
regulatory compliance, AI-enabled
virtual assistants ingest manuals,
textbooks, or case law in a particular
domain -- to quickly educate
executives about a sector's regulatory
state. This same tool might audit a
sales proposal against your client's
purchasing policies and external
constraints to help avoid any
surprises later on that could delay
an important sale.

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What to do Next?
When it comes to AI, the biggest challenge marketing teams face will be calming
fears about job replacement from more automation. When constructing your
internal communications plan, it's important to show how the deployment of
smart machines alongside your marketing team will help you amplify, not replace,
the human touch that make great communications work. For example:

1 Make Your CIO an Ally

Your organization's most senior

technology executive has crafted a
vision (or even detailed plans) about
AI's current and future enterprise role.
Develop some use cases around pure
and pragmatic AI that align with your
own communications strategy and
priorities. Share them with your CIO to
get some definition around your own
proofs-of-concept, then develop a
communications plan about how
emerging technologies build business
advantage, not just for marketing and
communications, but for the whole
organization. AI is not another just
another emerging trend, rather a
general purpose technology that will
transform every business, including
your fiercest competitors.

2 Research the vendors

Study the emerging vendors in your

3 Maintain Perspective

American artist and philosopher Elbert

space to get ideas. For example, AI- Hubbard once said, “While one
enabled solutions from Remesh help machine can do the work of fifty
executives conduct large-scale ordinary men, no machine can do the
qualitative research faster, cheaper and work of one extraordinary man.” As
with greater statistical accuracy than extraordinary as smart machines are,
traditional approaches. Conversational like any technology, they offer
language providers such as Narrative business leaders an extra set of
Science use data science and analytics capabilities and tools to make more
to draft fact-based stories about a informed decisions. But, machines
company or industry. didn't come up with Choice Hotel's
combines AI, analytics and natural- successful ''Bada Book. Bada Boom.
language processing to quickly reveal campaign, nor did they come up with
which sales techniques are proving to the Ice Bucket Challenge, one of the
be the most effective. Use your IT most successful viral moments in
organization to help you sort out and marketing history.
evaluate the many AI vendors that are
emerging in the marketing, sales and
communications disciplines.

Data science, AI, and smart machines can play a leading roles in developing
strategy and bringing precision to execution, but they are still limited when it
comes to crafting the creative risks many marketers are willing to take, that later
create business history.

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AI: How Prepared
are Communicators?
In an effort to understand how
communications leaders view AI, the
potential it brings and the impact it may
have on their roles, we conducted an
online survey of primary marketing,
advertising and communication decision-
makers across nine global markets.

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Research Methodology
MSL partnered with research firm Toluna to survey
1,846 marketing and communications leaders from
Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Poland,
United Kingdom and the United States.

Our primary goal with this 5-minute global survey

has been to gauge:

how AI-ready brands and companies are

how prepared communicators are
attitudes and expectations about AI
communicators' needs and concerns about AI
what companies' plans are for adapting to and introducing new AI
technologies in their workplace and businesses

Research Notes
In order to get the most relevant insights for our report, we have surveyed those
leaders who have a direct and/or significant influence on the advertising,
marketing and PR/communications decisions made in their companies. For IT
products, 54% of our respondents say they are the primary and final decision-
makers in their companies, and when it comes to advertising/marketing/PR
decisions, 48% say there are the ones who make the final call.

Among others, our respondents are primarily from

the following sectors:

- Financial & Professional Services

- Technology
- Manufacturing, Industrial & Defence
- Consumer Goods
- Health
- Food, Beverage & Agriculture
- Energy
- Automotive
- Communications Agency

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Our AI survey of marketing and communications leaders
across 9 countries unearthed some interesting insights -- some
expected and others new -- that are indicators of where the

global communications industry is, and where it is heading to,
when it comes to integrating AI in the communications mix.

Outlined below are some of our key takeaways

from this research:

There is optimism
about a future
with AI, mixed 55%
with some
apprehensions. 38%
A majority of communicators feel the
impact AI will have on the future of
brand communications will be positive;
some are also concerned there could
be negative aspects to consider along
with the positive.
Both positive
While there is general optimism about Positive and negative Negative
what AI can do, 20% of those we
surveyed feel their companies worry
about AI and are not particularly keen What our respondents think the impact of AI on the future of brand
to experiment with it. communications will be.

China India Brazil USA Poland Germany

Respondents who feel largely

positive about an AI-driven future 78% 73% 66% 65% 57% 52%
in communications

Italy France UK

Respondents who think the

implications will be both positive 51% 48% 47%
and negative

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For communications leaders, AI is
more than a passing interest: many 2
have stepped ahead of others in their
company in terms of teaching
themselves about the capability.
An overwhelming number of respondents (83%) we surveyed said they place a
significant priority on acquainting themselves with AI, and more than 2 out of 3
already somewhat consider themselves experts on the subject.

Not a
priority Strongly
at all Disagree
5% 12% Strongly 10%
28% Somewhat
Very high
Fairly high
44% Agree

How much of a priority do you place "With respect to understanding AI,

on learning about AI to prepare especially how it can be applied to
yourself for the future of the business,
workplace? I would consider myself an expert."

This suggests an active hunger for learning and innovation among communications leaders, and most are taking the effort
to stay abreast of the latest AI developments.

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AI training for the
workforce is a must... 3
Many of our respondents have
equipped themselves with AI
knowledge, and a staggering 84% also
think AI training and education is
crucial for market leaders.

of those surveyed think AI
training & education is
crucial for market leaders.
...but most companies have
yet to implement training
While communications leaders globally
agree on the importance of AI training,
only 29% of those we surveyed said
their companies are currently investing
in training and educating the
workforce in AI.

This is an important insight for

companies -- communications
employees already consider AI
familiarization an important aspect of
their personal growth and
development, and are more than eager
to learn. They are waiting for the
company's direction in order to tap
into exponential creativity and deliver
unmatched results.

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Companies will use AI to
support Marketing, Employee 4
Training, and Insights &
Strategy functions in the future
Communication leaders expect their companies to use AI capabilities to support
numerous communications and HR functions, including marketing, insights and
strategy, creativity as well as employee training.

Marketing 47%
Creativity 42%
Employee training 42%
Insights & strategy 41%
Crisis management 26%
Measurements 25%
Agency relations 25%
In which of these communications functions do you think
your company plans to include more AI-driven efforts?

Additionally, 63% think their organizations are trying to redefine their branding and positioning
to account for the changes AI is brings to the workplace.

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Companies are including
AI in their strategies to 5
compete and stay relevant.

think that AI-driven customer
experiences are changing how
their organization goes to
market or interacts with
potential buyers.
feel their organization is
concerned that AI-driven
e-commerce is giving an
advantage to competitors.

AI is changing the communications landscape, and communicators worry that other companies that leverage AI at the
right time, in the right manner, will have an undeniable advantage over those who don't. Leaders are cognizant of this,
and recognize the need to fine-tune their AI capabilities if they are to stay in the game.

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Communications leaders at
companies think agencies 6
are doing a good job
leveraging AI...

70% 30%
YESNODo you think communications agencies (advertising, PR,
digital and media) leverage AI as much as they could for
their client work?
...but there is also the
opportunity for agencies to
do more.

While the majority of our global

respondents think that
communications agencies --
advertising, marketing, PR, digital -- do
a good job of making the most of AI
for their clients, some feel:

some agencies understand AI's

implications on business, but don't
offer strategic thinking about it.

other agencies are capable of

offering strategic thinking about
how AI can be utilized, but can
strengthen how they implement

Clearly, marketing and communications leaders on the brand and company side expect agencies to be early adapters and
change-makers when it comes to AI, especially since they themselves have built such a high interest. For agencies, it
underscores the opportunity to bring AI-change to clients, especially with client advertising, marketing and PR contacts in
the company being such an eager audience, looking for the innovative applications and ways of making communications
more efficient and more productive.

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Consumers are ready to
embrace AI – almost. 7

think consumers are ready to engage with their
brands via AI.
Most of our respondents felt that consumers were
ready for AI-driven engagements, and the actions
taken by their companies reflect this response.

20% 23% My firm uses AI to deliver
new, personalized and
value-added services to
AI is already being customers.
Incorporating AI has used in my firm's
created better customer
customer experiences communications.
at my firm.

However, 22% of respondents think it could be a few more years before consumers are ready, and 21% feel that
consumers are somewhat ready, just not completely there yet. What is most telling is that only 20% think
incorporating AI has made customer experiences better. Improving the AI customer experience is a key challenge for
client and agency collaboration.

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AI won't take away
communications jobs, but only 8
as long as communicators
keep upskilling.
Armageddon-type worries about AI-enabled robots displacing humans in the
workplace have been around for a while, but not many believe their jobs are in
danger from the machines.

Only 13% of communications leaders said they fear AI technologies will result in
a decrease in jobs. In fact, nearly three times as many communications
professionals - 34% - believe that AI will increase jobs rather than reduce them.

While communications leaders are confident in their jobs despite the doomsday
warnings that come with AI, they also believe it is necessary for those in the
industry to upgrade their skill sets to complement AI.

Communications professionals will need

to equip themselves with more skills. 41%
How our respondents think AI will
AI will increase jobs for
communications professionals. 34% impact jobs in the next five years

AI will decrease jobs for
communications professionals. 13% 34 % 1 3
Job increase Job decrease

Don’t know. 7%
AI won’t have too much impact on
communications professionals. 6%

Brazil USA China Poland India Italy

Respondents who feel strongly

that communications professionals
will need to equip themselves with
55% 51% 47% 46% 45% 45%
more skills

France UK Germany
Respondents who are more positive
that AI will increase jobs for
communications professionals 35% 33% 32%

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Communicators see the
risks associated with AI. 9
Looking ahead to the next five years,
nearly 70% of communicators surveyed
are most concerned about data security
and consumer privacy issues or criminal
use of AI technologies.

led error
in decision

use of AI Data security
technologies & consumer
19% privacy

Job losses

Looking at the next five years, which AI-related

issues most concern you?

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Key Learning
Our global research showed us that In many ways, AI presents a unique
communication leaders at companies challenge not only to
and brands share an optimism about communicators, but to the firms they
AI. Because of their strong skills in work at. While it has many uses in
analytical communication, creativity manufacturing and production, AI
and imagination, it is likely they are also can play a critical role in how
better at envisioning an AI future companies communicate with
than others in their company, customers and other stakeholders,
explaining why many have taken the instantly customizing messages
initiative to teach themselves about based on machine learning, all the
AI and have become early adapters while predicting outcomes.
and evangelists inside their firms. Communicators are right to show
While we didn't ask communicators early interest. AI has the potential to
about their relationships with IT and transform their roles completely.
the CIO who often set AI strategy at
the company level, the overall
relationship between IT and
communicators inside organizations
is known to be weak.

Certainly, in the Algorithm Age, there

is new reason to change that.
Communicators can have greater
input into the AI future of their firms
if they take the initiative to engage
with IT and the CIO. Likewise, it
certainly makes sense for companies
to engage their communications
leads in their AI projects as well.
Communicators, no matter if they
work in advertising, marketing or PR,
are more empathetic than others
around how customers and other key
stakeholders are experiencing the AI-
driven communication and weighing
the risks and concerns.
Communicators are the first line of
defense in preventing companies
from letting wayward bots own

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AI Conversations:
Brands that are Doing It
We spoke with two of our large clients
to understand their take on how AI
impacts their businesses today and
how they envision AI-led growth for
their businesses in the near future.

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Coty: AI is Opening the
Door to Personalization
at Scale.

Fred Gerantabee

Fred Gerantabee is global vice When we talk about AI's impact and
president of Digital Innovation for Coty, role at Coty, the place to start is the
one of the world's largest beauty end result for the consumer and, in
companies. Coty's iconic portfolio of turn, for the organization. There's a
brands includes COVERGIRL and lot of emphasis now on brands
Rimmel in the consumer beauty becoming more like service providers
category, Calvin Klein and Hugo Boss and not just product companies. This
in prestige fragrances and skincare, is true for us as a beauty company
and Wella Professionals and OPI for and for the consumer packaged
salon owners and professionals. goods (CPG) category as a whole.
We can no longer just put items on
With experience developing both the shelf; today's consumers want
technology applications and products value and services heavily rooted in
for agencies and corporations, Fred one-to-one personalization.
has unique perspectives on AI's current
and future roles at Coty and in
business in general.
‘We can no longer
just put items on the
shelf; today's
consumers want
value and services
heavily rooted in

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While bringing one-to-one personalization in communication aimed at
consumers has historically been difficult to do at scale, we believe AI can help us
achieve it in two meaningful ways:

1 2
Going beyond segmentation
Using data to drive product to create better consumer
development cycle experiences

Like many organizations, we've It's not enough anymore to assume

collected a ton of data over the last that because Julia is 25 and lives in
decade-plus, but we don't always use Chicago, Illinois, she likes the same
it, at least not as fast as we should. AI things as 1000 other people with
gives us more sophisticated ways to similar demographics. With AI, we can
extract, classify and interpret not just go further and aggregate first-,
hard test data, but visual data as well. second- and third-party data to create
As an example, we use computer highly dimensionalized profiles unique
vision, an AI field aimed at giving to each consumer. We can then have
computers a visual understanding of what feel like personalized
the world, to analyze trends from the conversations with each of them and
social media space. For a beauty use human-in-the-loop (HITL) machine
company, extracting what's happening learning to optimize and evolve those
visually in fashion and culture is far conversations over time to be even
more important and powerful than just more relevant to each person.
pulling metadata or reading captions,
where much of the context is lost.

Using AI for insights and trend mining

not only helps us be a more dynamic
marketing organization, it guides our
product research and development
(R&D). As we try to shorten the
product development cycle, we see AI
as critical to determining what we
should take to market.

The increased demand for value and service impacts everything we

do at Coty, including

1) the creative and media we serve,

2) the conversations we have with consumers and
3) the data security we implement to protect our consumers and business.

In turn, we see AI affecting the way we approach each of these areas.

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‘Data scientists
derive insights for
our creatives to build
upon. We integrate
these capabilities to
get the most value
from them.’

Rethinking creative is actually much more effective for big From a technology standpoint
ideas. Some of the best campaigns especially, everything must roll up to
approaches and brand I've seen were based on insights from the brand. When my group thinks
management real data -- sometimes data sitting in about a new piece of technology or a
The “big idea” has always been core to plain sight. platform, we really have to root it to
the creative process for companies that identity. If a platform plays in a
and agencies. While still important, This level of insights and intelligence space that isn't true to the brand, or if
what matters today is where the big leads us back to AI and the people we partner with a company that
idea comes from. It can't be rooted involved in the chain. It used to be the doesn’t support diversity the way we
solely in one person's opinion or creatives sat in one part of the do as a company, it is not authentic to
someone saying, “Hey, I've got a good building and data scientists sat in the who we are and for our consumer.
idea;” it needs to solve a real problem other. That's a fail. They should sit in People know when brands don't
or need. At Coty, for example, we're the same space and talk to each other deliver what they promise, whether it's
not just convincing consumers we every day. Data scientists derive a product attribute, personal service or
have the right lipstick; we're answering insights for our creatives to build upon. a higher order mission.
a higher order mandate to make We need to integrate these capabilities
people feel good, confident and able to get the most value from them.
to express themselves.
We must also think differently about
With AI giving us a more
doing things in line with the brand. We ‘What matters today
dimensionalized view of the
once saw brand identity as very
superficial. We made sure our
is where the big idea
consumers we talk to, we think very
photography, fonts and creative were comes from.’
differently about our creative
right and our message was consistent
approach. Instead of testing two or
across media. It's much more visceral
three concepts where we're either this
now. Our services, alliances,
or that, we marry the big idea with
partnerships, consumer tools and
data to ensure it's meaningful to
platforms must all take into account
consumers. Functioning this way
what the brand stands for.

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Evolving smarter Putting data security in
conversations with proper balance
consumers Data security is second nature at Coty. Years ago, people were apprehensive
Meaningful conversations with We think constantly about where data about allowing devices or software in
consumers are incredible sources of is stored, how data is transported and their lives. Today, despite all the
knowledge and insights. AI gives us breach contingencies. But keeping security concerns, we are consciously
the ability to optimize these up with evolving vulnerabilities, or unconsciously willing to trade
conversations. At Coty, we've used a including those made possible by AI, privacy for personalization,
few straightforward, decision tree- is a challenge. convenience and utility. Devices such
based messaging tools, but now we're as Amazon's Alexa and Google's
using natural language processing The types of data we capture, for virtual assistant can potentially listen
(NLP) for speech-to-text translation example, are changing. The definition to everything we say and know exactly
and context. It's a great data mining of personally identifiable information when we order batteries and diapers.
tool because it helps us understand (PII) used to be straightforward, as in The question is how we balance the
how people talk about our services name, email address and Social tradeoffs and mitigate as much risk as
and products and evolve the way we Security number. Now, social identities much as possible. AI can certainly
talk about them ourselves for a more and universally unique identifiers help by accelerating threat detection
personalized consumer experience. (UUID) are in the mix too. New devices and response.
and non-owned platforms also create
ambiguity. Voice-powered devices
Additionally, the launch of our Digital introduce variables that test the limits
Accelerator has been another step of privacy. Many new data points,
towards transforming our digital especially in chat platforms like
capabilities across the organization. Messenger, are being scanned. Who's
In 2018, we took this initiative a step the responsible party or owner of
further by bringing in external start- that data: the brand, the agency,
ups to the mix, and making AI the whoever built the tool or a platform
priority area. We now look forward to like Facebook?
working closely with the winners of
the program -- Nudest, Skingenie
and Glamtech, as well as other
participant companies that joined us
to build AI tools that will help
drive more seamless consumer
shopper experiences.

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The Future of AI at Coty
While AI's enormous potential is impossible to quantify, it will no doubt play an
increasingly significant role at Coty. We've identified three areas of our business
where we believe the technology's impact will be most profound:

1 Personalized and assisted

commerce tools and services

We use AI to better understand what

individual consumers care about and
then tailor our services and
experiences accordingly. We want to
have conversations with consumers,
wherever they take place that resonate
and evolve over time based on their
interests and needs.

Insights mining for
communication and product

Historically, R&D has driven many

organizations but lacked access to
critical data insights. We think the
insights derived from AI are as
pertinent to R&D as they are to the
people creating advertising and
marketing. We make it a priority to
share this knowledge with our teams
across the board.

3 Understanding and
qualifying consumers

With AI, we can do a better job engaging

the right consumers with products that
fit their aesthetics, lifestyles, ethical
viewpoints, color choices and more. This
is the first step to creating truly
personalized experiences.

With all the upside AI offers, organizations must be cognizant of the challenges
it can create internally and externally. If we create great consumer-facing tools
but fail to optimize supply and demand, delivery or availability, our efforts will
fall flat. From an enterprise standpoint, AI can help streamline these
increasingly intertwined functions to ensure we meet each consumer's
expectations and our organizational goals.

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BMW: AI is more than
Autonomous Driving

Craig Westbrook

During his 22 years with the company, When I think about AI, I immediately
he has worked on three continents, go to autonomous driving and other
held positions in total vehicle quality automotive applications. After all,
and research and development, and I'm a car guy. But I also realize the
was Vice President of Aftersales. implications are much broader and
touch every part of our business, from
Prior to his current role as Regional manufacturing to communications to
Vice President, Craig was Vice brand positioning.
President of Customer Experience and
Chief Customer Officer, where he was AI illustrates perfectly why we must
responsible for BMW's dealer network change our thought processes and
development and training, the in- acceptance levels at lightning speed.
dealership customer experience and Here's a parallel: Not that long ago, I
the customer experience with BMW warned my daughters about this thing
service departments. He sees called the Internet. I said don't go on
intriguing opportunities to use AI to it, but if you do, don't tell anybody
better understand, educate and who you are. If you do that, don't ever
engage his three ‘audiences’, car ask them to meet you somewhere.
buyers, dealers and employees. And if you do that, do not -- under
any circumstances -- get in their car.
Guess what? Now we all do these ‘AI illustrates
things every day and call it Uber. perfectly why we
This just shows how quickly the must change our
consumer journey is evolving, both in
terms of the experience and how
thought processes
people perceive brands. At BMW, we and acceptance
know AI can open exciting new
avenues in the way we approach our levels at lightning
end user customers, our dealers, our
employees and our products. We also
know to expect everything from
excitement to unfamiliarity to fear
as we incorporate AI into our
everyday work.

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‘We know to expect
everything from
excitement to
unfamiliarity to fear as
we incorporate AI into
our everyday work.’

Building the consumer Adding new value to the ‘We see AI enabling
purchase experience broad consumer journey
Convenience and trust are key to A few years ago, I would never have
us to leverage
consumers. As an example, in the UK, imagined I would have an app to show existing data to add
we sell cars online and provide me where my electric car is, where I
support via chat lines. It's very can charge it and where I can park it. more value to the
successful, in part because we have Now it's an integral part of what we
real people conversing with offer, which dovetails with automotive consumer journey.’
consumers. Potential buyers feel engineering design: what cars look
they're talking to someone who cares like, what they do by themselves, how
about their wants and needs and they fast they do it, etc.
can end the conversation whenever
they want. They don't feel stuck on the
There's no question we've thought
line with someone who just wants to
about how the product will fare, but
sell them a car.
what about the consumer using that
product? Who are they? What do they
There are pros and cautions to moving expect from their cars and from us?
a process like this to AI. It can certainly That's where I see AI making a big
give us more intelligence and allow us impact, enabling us to leverage
to quasi-interact online with existing data to add more value to the
consumers who want to be consumer journey.
anonymous and don't want a super-
personal experience. Our functionality,
for instance, can prequalify buyers and
recommend cars based on their
answers to lifestyle questions. AI can
make these interactions more
interesting and go further even than
the telephone in some cases. But
authentic, interpersonal
communication via AI is still a future
move for BMW. Until the technology
reaches a very high level of
sophistication, we are placing more
value on functional applications.

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‘AI could help us
identify trends so we
know what to
leverage to get
employees to stay.’

Handling privacy issues How AI affects dealers and

properly employees
BMW, like all companies, is amassing a I mentioned fear as one of the
tremendous amount of data on reactions companies might expect
consumers. The challenge lies in how from their constituents when they
to leverage data with AI tools to introduce AI into their processes.
create better consumer experiences People across industries, not just
without compromising privacy. automotive, have embedded attitudes
and resist change, especially if it
threatens the way they've always
We believe there will be a gradual
done things. As leaders, we can
reach into the consumer zone for
‘When consumers intelligence and insights. Each time,
diffuse these fears by educating our
teams about AI, what it does and why
we'll go a bit deeper until we find the
“surrender” data, do point where data collection should
it's good. I don't need our dealers to
know how AI technology is built, they
they really know stop and consumer privacy start. We
must also ask, when consumers
just need to understand how we apply
it to benefit our customers. I see this
what they willingly “surrender” their data, do they really
know what they willingly give up?
as a missing piece that good
communication can help solve.
give up?’ Educating consumers on what
happens to their data makes it easier
for us to collect what we need without I also think AI can help us close a
crossing the line, an important aspect workforce gap. In the automotive
of brand credibility and trust. industry, we have a one-size-fits-all
approach to training. That needs to
change. I'd like to see AI help us
At BMW, we believe there are certain
understand, based on events and
places where people and machines
data, what employees' strengths and
don't go together -- when it comes to
weaknesses are. That way, if one guy
making an actual sale, for example, we
wants to be a master technician and
find that in-person interactions with
another wants to change tires, we're
consumers are what work best. But
not judging them on the same criteria,
once we tailor the AI experience to
but on each person's specific goals
willing consumers, we can build
and contributions.
mutually beneficial relationships that
consumers genuinely value.
These applications, of course, could
help us retain good people, which is
where many employers need to focus.
Industry -- wide, turnover among
automotive sales people in the U.S. is
around 50%! And we know it's also
high for technicians, who represent
our greatest training investment. AI
could help us identify trends so we
know what to leverage to get
employees to stay.

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What's next for AI at BMW
Obviously, we're full speed ahead with AI in product innovation. In other parts of
our business, we're at varying points along the spectrum, exploring possibilities
that make sense for us and our consumers. From a communications standpoint,
I see our biggest near-term opportunities in these areas:

1 2 3
Consumer Connecting
experience products to Privacy
improvements consumer expectations protection

AI is broadly democratic in its It's mind-boggling to think how At BMW, we think privacy is
first application, but by the many ways we can use AI to more than securing data. It's
time it gets down to the make our products and also ensuring consumers know
individual consumer level, services better for customers. what data they're giving us,
things get interesting. We think The trick is to do it not just for why and what the possible
AI can help us dig deeper into technology's sake, but in implications are. Clear
existing data on existing response to what consumers communication and education
platforms to tailor our tell us they need and want. ensure we never cross the line
engagement with consumers in and jeopardize consumer trust.
creative, compelling ways.

4 Dealer
education 5 Employee

The automotive industry is My training director has

more than 100 years old and reminded me that investment
some traditions die hard. Our in our workforce must yield
dealers must adapt to new AI- higher retention. We think AI
driven marketing, advertising, applications can help us get in
sales channels, offer front of this issue to optimize
customization and other our training dollars and reduce
processes. Everyone's at a employee turnover.
different place in understanding
AI, so it's up to us to educate
them and show them real-
world successes.

Consumers today expect more from brands and don't necessarily care how you
develop or deliver it. At BMW, we don't want to be known as a car maker or as
AI experts. We want consumers to trust us as a premium provider of mobility
services. AI is part of the recipe that can help us get there and delight every
single consumer throughout the BMW journey.

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AI Conversations:
Experts Weigh In.
We also asked other AI experts from across the
spectrum about their thoughts on AI and how it
will impact business and society. They shared
their insights on where AI stands now, the
challenges and opportunities it brings and what
the future looks like.

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The Tech Natives and AI:
Christopher Isak looks
through a Millennial lens.

Christopher Isak

Christopher Isak is the founder and MSL: First of all, how well
managing editor of TechAcute, an
online magazine focused on do you think Millennials
technology-related topics and news for understand AI and how
consumers and businesses. He is also receptive are they to AI-
an information technology (IT) and
business analyst for Global Media driven technologies and
Services (GMS), where he supports services?
global enterprises and helps enable
collaboration on an international scale. Christopher: I think all of us, not just
Christopher provides his perspectives Millennials, often misinterpret what AI
on how Millennials perceive and will is and is not. AI has become a bit of a
interact with AI and how it will shape buzzword slapped on products. Does
the future world. it refer to an artificial entity that can
think, grow and is self-aware, or is it a
machine that can actually mimic
natural cognitive functions such as
learning and solving problems?
‘Essential user
Because AI is still largely undefined
and lacks scope, it's tricky to truly
experiences, which
understand. I believe personal AI millennials are highly
assistants like Cortana from Microsoft,
Siri from Apple, Alexa from Amazon, receptive to, will
the Google Assistant and other such
services will do the pioneering work shape future
for AI-driven technologies. These
essential user experiences, which
interactions with all
Millennials are highly receptive to, will
shape future interactions with all types
types of AI for the
of AI for the better. better.’

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MSL: How do you think
Millennials will engage with
AI products and
technologies differently
from other demographic
groups as consumers and in
the workplace?
Christopher: Collectively, Millennials
‘Millennials will be differ from other demographic groups
the most active users in many ways, but I hesitate to put
of AI technologies them into a drawer with respect to AI.
As individuals, they have a wide range
and the most critical of feelings and opinions about
in questioning the products and technologies. I will say,
however, that Millennials are more
systems.’ likely to interact with AI if they grew
up in a household that embraced
digital devices and the internet quite
early in comparison to others.

If Millennials like and trust AI as

consumers, they will very likely
demand the same ease of solving
problems in their work environments.
From my point of view, Millennials will
be the most active users of AI
technologies and the most critical in
questioning the systems.

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MSL: If Millennials are more These functions are really what an AI
assistant is about. It assists you, helps ‘Companies leverage
comfortable with AI than
other generations, will it
you, makes your day simpler. These AI with contextual
features and functions are just the
create a generational divide beginning and I am very interested to user data to improve
and where will that divide
see more soon. It's only now, after a
decade, that smartphones are truly
the experience in
be drawn? smart, even though they might not yet ways we couldn't
be truly intelligent.
Christopher: There is already a divide imagine a couple of
between those who support AI and
those who don't, but it is not a matter
years ago.’
MSL: What are your biggest
of demographics. As an example, the
line will be drawn between people concerns about AI and how
who use self-driving vehicles and it will be used?
those who will not, under any
circumstances, let AI control them, Christopher: While leveraging AI to
their location or anything about them. advance the human race and protect
our world is desirable, we must make
Let's play out a possible scenario. sure the technology is equipped with
Once governments start using self- rules. Humankind is controversial, to
driving vehicles, the divide will say the least. A newly "born" entity
become more apparent. Insurance that knows nothing but logic could
companies could make it so expensive consider humans not only irrelevant,
to drive vehicles yourself that it's but even see us as threats to the
economically unviable for everyday existence of the planet and therefore a
citizens to stay on the steering wheel. threat to the existence of AI.
A governmental ban on human driving
could follow. This is likely the nearest Before we research and develop things
possible moment where people will too fast, now is the time to define laws
either support or oppose AI. that are priorities to all AI in use and
do it so they cannot be bypassed.
Technological advancement must not
MSL: As a Millennial become our downfall.
yourself, what do you like
most about how AI is
influencing society?
Christopher: While there is a lot of
discussion about privacy protection
and data usage, I find it interesting
how some companies leverage AI with
contextual user data to improve the
experience in ways we couldn't
imagine a couple of years ago. My
smartphone can suggest apps I'm
likely to need based on my usage
pattern, time of day, geographical
location and other metadata the
phone manufacturer or owner of the
AI assistant knows about me.

When I wake up, I get the news I want.

When I leave the house, I get an app
to buy a commute ticket. When I have
a meeting coming up, my phone tells
me about it, the participants and the
route I have to take to get there.

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MSL: What are your top MSL: Any last thoughts ‘AI must always
predictions of AI's impact on AI?
on business and industry?
recognize humans
Christopher: I believe this field of
science, research and development has
and the living
Christopher: To name one example,
Amazon played a crucial role in massive potential, but as with every environment as
generating demand for product technological milestone, we need to
make sure it cannot be turned to harm
priorities and
quality, customer service and delivery
speed. All of that combined to create humans. AI can be used not only for necessities for its
consumer entertainment and
a high comfort level users were not
familiar with. Beyond tackling retail, commercial uses, but also to discover own existence.’
Amazon put a lot of effort into raising cures for terrible illnesses.
the bar even further with things like
Amazon Dash buttons or asking your We cannot rush into this space blindly.
Alexa AI assistant to order more We should rapidly think about how to
cookies for you. These developments regulate and govern progress not to
changed the way we consume. slow our options down, but to
preserve our environment and life as
AI has even more potential for we know it. AI must always recognize
disruption in business and industry. If a humans and the living environment as
company uses AI to make decisions, priorities and necessities for its own
why would they keep analysts and existence. For Millennials and every
other knowledge workers around? generation before and after us, this is
If AI can optimize team performance most important.
to a record high, why do they need
managers? If robots already do a great
job on all fronts, why keep workers?
And most intriguingly, if AI always
makes the right decisions and never
sleeps, why do we need CEOs? We
could take this further and further until
we're talking about a dystopian future,
but I really don't feel that negative
about it or think we should be too ‘When leveraging AI,
critical. When leveraging AI, one of the
most important aspects is to not stop one of the most
thinking on our own, but to stay
relevant and keep improving.
important aspects is
to not stop thinking
on our own, but to
stay relevant and
keep improving.’

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The Humanity of AI:
John Havens and Jeff Catlin
Spotlight the Ethical Questions.

John C. Havens Jeff Catlin


John C. Havens is executive director of Jeff Catlin is co-founder and CEO of MSL engaged two ethical
the IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Lexalytics, the leader in ‘worlds-first’
Autonomous and Intelligent Systems machine learning and AI that translates
experts around the
and The Council on Extended text into profitable decisions for social humanity of AI, a rich topic.
Intelligence. He is the former executive media monitoring, reputation
vice president of Social Media at management and voice of the
Porter Novelli, where he worked with customer programs. With more than MSL: What is the human
clients including P&G, Gillette, HP and 20 years of experience in the fields of
Merck. John is a contributor to search, classification and text analytics
role in AI interactions?
Mashable and The Guardian on products and services, he offers a Jeff: It is similar to the human role in
technology and wellbeing issues and unique perspective on how ethics play computer-human interactions. When
the author of the books, “Heartificial into AI interactions. Jeff is a frequent using AI, we must ask the right
Intelligence: Embracing Our Humanity contributor to Forbes and VentureBeat questions, provide data and act on
To Maximize Machines,” and “Hacking where he shares his unique perspective recommendations and predictions. If
Happiness: Why Your Personal Data on technology-related issues. we point AI the wrong way, we're
Counts and How Tracking It Can going to make bad decisions.
Change the World.” He shares his
interesting insights on how to preserve A human should have their finger on
humanity as AI technologies advance. the trigger for any decision that could
impact someone's life. AI should
make recommendations that
humans can act on.

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MSL: As AI starts leading so
many customer interactions,
what is the danger of losing
the humanity in customer/
brand relationships?
John: The primary loss of humanity
comes from people's inability to ‘The primary loss of
access and control their data. While humanity comes from
government protections like the
European Union's General Data
people's inability to
Protection Regulation (GDPR) are access and control
essential, corporations and brands
must support sovereign identity
their data.’
structures allowing individuals to have
their own digital/algorithmic 'terms
and conditions.' Organizations like and MyData are paving the
way for blockchain-like, peer-to-peer
(P2P) methodologies where individuals
can provide incredibly specific and
useful information to brands, but only
when companies commit to using that
data the way customers stipulate.

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‘Organizations that MSL: How do you think AI
can contribute to better
don't allow users to ethical decision-making?
have their own terms Jeff: The most powerful enemy of
and conditions for ethical decision-making is bias.
Biases can be implicit or explicit,
exchanging personal known and unknown. All AI has
data will seem not biases; it is not the pointy-eared
Vulcan myth of Spock, which is all
only behind the logic. AI bias depends on the data
we feed it and how we structure
times but of the ‘learning’.
questionable ethical
AI’s major advantage is that its
standing.’ biases are potentially quantifiable
and always consistent, so we can
account for them. This reduces
MSL: How do brands and biases’ impact and leads to
companies deal with this inherently more ethical decisions.
challenge and maintain
humanity in customer ‘The most powerful
relationships? enemy of ethical
John: In terms of data, companies decision-making
should create P2P, blockchain-enabled
channels for their customers right away. is bias.’
The first brands to do this will
experience a massive burst of trust
from customers and a clear market
edge. Soon, organizations that don't
allow users to have their own terms
and conditions for exchanging
personal data will seem not only
behind the times but of questionable
ethical standing.

Disclosure is essential to using AI to

interact with customers. People don't
like to feel tricked, even when an AI
chatbot or algorithm is technologically
exciting. Disclosure doesn't have to be
dry and overly legal; it's communication
about your AI system that will teach
customers how and why you're
reaching out to them. This has to do
with agency. When people feel they're
part of a magic show, for instance,
they're open to being surprised and
amazed. In the theatre world, this is
called, "the willful suspension of
disbelief." But when a device is in your
home and you don't know why it did
something, you will not trust the
manufacturer no matter what their
intentions are. Disclosure is the key.

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MSL: Can we remove biases MSL: John, you've written it
from the data we feed into is time for the AI industry to
AI? What do humans need create ethical standards and
to understand about this leverage innovation
and how do we stemming from transparent
compensate? stakeholder dialogue. Can
Jeff: Biases can be minimized in AI, you explain?
but not removed entirely. Society is John: This is what we've tried to do
biased, therefore the data we generate with IEEE, which now has fourteen
is as well. Keep in mind, bias is simply approved standardization projects (the
a slant. It doesn't have to be good or IEEE P7000™ series) focused on
bad, but it should be quantified. ethical Autonomous and Intelligent
Systems (A/IS). Standards form a type
There's a lot of interesting research of soft governance and work because
going on right now on detecting they're created by consensus over two
problematic bias; for example, the sort to three years with a lot of people
that would lead a deserving person (in from multiple industries asking
the U.S.) to be disqualified for a loan questions like, "How do we eradicate
based on their ethnicity. There are no negative algorithmic bias?" It is in
great answers, but best practices are these in-depth, global conversations
to have very broad data gathering that innovation happens. People truly
processes and aggressive test cases. empathize with colleagues in various
A broad testing set allows institutions disciplines and fully understand
to understand biases and account cultural specifics that affect AI design.
for them with training data or in
direct tuning.

‘Bias is simply a
slant. It doesn't have
to be good or bad,
but it should be

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MSL: With AI, some MSL: What are the ethical ‘If we take humans
companies may choose to risks of AI? What kinds of
reduce reliance on the corporate crises could AI
completely out of
human workforce. What is ethical lapses spark? the loop on life-
your take on the ethics of Jeff: There is an unfortunate tendency changing decisions
an automation-led society? to believe AI is some sort of panacea
for all human problems. Humans are
and leave everything
John: I don't see motivation for seen as being slow and expensive. to AI, there is the
businesses to avoid automation to
ensure humans will have jobs in the
That may be true in some cases, but
we're also really good at certain
potential to make
current status quo. Unless society
changes the focus on gross domestic
decisions. If we take humans lots of really bad
completely out of the loop on life-
product (GDP)-driven exponential changing decisions and leave decisions really
growth, which automation serves, the
bottom line will always win. This isn't
everything to AI, there is the potential
to make lots of really bad decisions
any company's fault -- where really quickly.
shareholder value is in place as the
ultimate goal it's a legal mandate. Some major AI ethical issues will look
Unless we go triple bottom line in our familiar, such as the pathological thirst
priorities as a society, where new legal for data that leads to risky and
models like the B-Corporation provide unethical decision-making. Some
ways for organizations to get from issues will be new, for instance,
point A to point B, there will be no blaming a medical device company's
labor equality. Everything that can be machine or AI for products shipped
automated will be. It's not a question out with bad parts. A discussion of
of if, but when. You will never read a autonomous car liability is a good
headline saying, "The X industry has overview of the possibilities.
decided to stop creating AI because
they're worried about human workers."

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MSL: How will AI make
business leaders smarter?
Jeff: When we talk about getting
‘smarter’ with AI, semantics are
important. AI alone will not make
anyone smarter. More knowledgeable,
yes; able to process more data, yes.
But not smarter, and therein lies the
rub, just like when using a computer.
People can drive AI to make poor
recommendations, then use it to justify
unethical behavior. Now more than
ever, influencers and decision-makers
must understand AI's positive and
negative implications and leverage it
to maximize the positive impact on
business and society.

MSL: How should companies

develop and design AI
products and services to
ensure they maintain
John: If companies truly want to
ensure humanity in customer
interactions, they must keep humans
involved in all AI processes. Beyond
‘human in the loop’ protections to
make AI transparent and
accountable, this means actually
prioritizing areas where AI will never
be allowed to take over a human's
role, at least not completely.

The other thing to do is train humans The final thing is to prioritize applied
in emotional intelligence, empathy ethical methodologies in design. This is ‘Now more than ever,
and compassion. While AI can
replicate aspects of human emotions,
often called value sensitive design,
based on Batya Friedman's work, and
influencers and
it is not human or emotive, but a
mirror of our innate abilities. This
functions as a sort of ‘agile for ethics.’ decision-makers must
These methodologies don't use
doesn't mean AI-oriented emotion is utilitarianism or virtue ethics to make understand AI's
not fantastic and hugely useful. There final decisions, but they help design
are times when humans prefer AI teams ask questions based on these positive and negative
emotion over human scrutiny; a great
example is soldiers with post-
traditions that they may not have
asked in the past. AI directly affects
implications and
traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
talking to AI therapists.
human agency, emotion and identity,
so methodologies providing new levels
leverage it to
of due diligence are extremely maximize the positive
important to employ.
impact on business
and society.’

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Powered by AI:
Our Predictions
Communicators and marketers have
come a long way in a short time from
struggling with the ambiguity of AI to
experimenting and applying it to
business initiatives. While it may seem
like AI will be taking over every aspect
of business, MSL and Publicis.Sapient Here's how we believe AI will impact
experts believe we are still in the the role of communicators over the
experimentation phase, just beginning course of the next few years:
to scratch the surface of what it can
do for communications.
AI will be a key priority for
AI's role in human interactions is
expanding. This will create a societal
shift in how people consume
information, which communications
must reflect. Communications
professionals already see the need for
AI expertise and will prioritize it even
more in the near future.

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AI will transform AI will shift
relationships between communicators' tasks from
communicators and the mundane to the more
technology experts. interesting.
Communications and IT, two groups AI will change the way
that historically functioned communications professionals
separately, will come together to function day-to-day and lessen the
imagine, develop and navigate AI time spent on rudimentary tasks like
applications. Communicators will monitoring, reporting, news scanning
take the lead in establishing these and sentiment analysis. With these
relationships and the two groups will out of the way, communicators will
become unlikely collaborators in focus on actionable insights, creative
technology-based communications breakthroughs and sharper
solutions. communications strategies.

AI will help communicators AI will force brands to be

do better work. more accurate and
With AI helping communicators transparent.
delve deeper and more precisely into As technology makes brand and
consumer and market insights, they consumer interactions more
will be equipped to develop more apparent, brands will pay careful
meaningful messages for brands and attention to how they position
stakeholders. In an era of fragmented themselves. They will build their
attention, leveraging AI will help identities to match a tech-savvy
astute communicators stay ahead of market, stakeholders and
the competition. competitors who can easily point out
discrepancies. It will be harder to
AI will make measurement stray from stories borne out by data.
more actionable.
AI-driven capabilities will enable AI will alter brand-
marketers to glean accurate insights consumer engagement.
into campaign effectiveness. This will Sophisticated machine learning will
happen in two ways -- ‘listening’ will compel more brands to use AI
engage a broader set of data sources applications like chatbots and digital
and more data, and AI will be able to assistants to engage with consumers.
look for not just the general By facilitating reliable, quick, around-
sentiment but also the outliers that the-clock support, AI will take
would otherwise go unnoticed. As customer service to a new level. It
listening tools allow for a more will be incumbent on brands to find
precise understanding of what is ways to quickly take complicated
happening in the marketplace, and nuanced issues out of
marketers will be better able to the AI loop.
quickly and appropriately adjust
messages. They'll identify well-
performing platforms and content
assets and redirect investments to
leverage those that deliver.

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AI will continue to enable
Tailoring communication by sub-
population (potentially a sub-
population of a single individual) will
start to become possible across the
platforms where their consumers
spend time. Features like
individualized push notifications
will make the consumer journey AI will transform the
more appealing, seamless and
relevant. Marketers will eventually
agency and corporate
have the ability to manage an communications structure.
individualized Q&A with consumers AI will replace some jobs, enhance
or other stakeholders. others and revolutionize how agency
teams work and interact. Work
AI will change how we processes and team relationships will
adjust as innovation becomes a key
view ethics.
ingredient of success.
Our growing dependence on AI
technology will force ethical
concerns like data privacy, consumer AI will not replace humans;
security and yet-to-emerge issues it will augment human
into the spotlight. We expect
communicators to quickly shape
roles and make them
new ethics codes with guidelines smarter and more agile. AI is here to stay and its role in the
for the algorithm era. communications field is growing
There are more positives than quickly. Openness to AI innovation
negatives to having AI in the will separate practitioners and
workplace. AI-driven insights will companies from their less curious
help communicators understand counterparts. The gap between
more about their stakeholders, those who build on AI advances and
markets and work, saving them those who ignore them will grow
time and increasing efficiency quickly and their businesses and
and productivity. professional statures will suffer the
consequences. As AI opens more
doors, it is up to communicators to
leverage it for profitable results for
their companies and the industry.

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Our last two reports:

PR 2020
The Dawn of the
Augmented Influence

PR2020: The Dawn of the The Future of Food Communications:

Augmented Influence Winning Share of Mouth in the
Conversation Age

Michael Echter
Director of Corporate Communications and
Marketing, MSL

Melanie Joe
Senior Manager and Consultant,
Research & Insights, MSL