Mar 14, 2024 - News

SXSW dispatch: Communications in the age of AI

A photo of two people speaking on a stage.

A conversation at Axios House. Photo: Cori Baker on behalf of Axios.

After a solid year of artificial intelligence dominating the conversation, folks attending SXSW are starting to focus on the human elements of an AI world, Axios Communicators' Eleanor Hawkins writes.

Driving the news: Close to 300 SXSW attendees dropped by the Axios House on Monday to hear from GoFundMe chief corporate affairs officer Margaret Richardson, Weber Shandwick North America CEO Jim O'Leary, and LinkedIn vice president and workforce expert Aneesh Raman about the evolution of corporate communications.

The big picture: More than 90% of online content could be generated by AI by this time next year, according to some estimates.

  • And eventually this could lead to generative AI models being trained using data produced by other AIs rather than human beings.

What they're saying: This will make skills like communication, empathy and critical thinking even more in demand, Raman said.

  • "We're entering what we're calling the relationship economy, where social abilities, human unique skills are going to come to the center. And what's at the center of that is communication, connection and how you collaborate with others. Those are now core skills for comms professionals."

Zoom in: GoFundMe is also prioritizing personal stories to promote its corporate brand and help users fundraise across the donation platform, Richardson told Axios.

  • "Our platform is powered by human stories, and that will never change. I think we can see ways in which AI can help people to tell their stories, but it will never replace the dignity and the authenticity with which people are sharing and connecting with stories," she added.

The bottom line: As AI enters the mainstream, the role of thoughtful, strategic and human-driven communications will become even more important.

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