A new survey published by PR software platform Prowly discovered that most PR professionals recognize the advantages provided by AI tools and have now gained the confidence to adopt this technology for tasks such as idea generation and content creation as well as for boosting general workplace efficiency.

As AI becomes more prevalent in the industry, however, the survey also discovered that many PR practitioners are concerned about how these tools may affect the quality of their woks as well as what potential threats this technology may have on their jobs and how it may shape the future of the industry.

The survey, which quizzed hundreds of PR pros about AI software as well as other recent advancements in data analytics and automation technology and how they think adopting this technology may change the industry in the future, found that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of PR pros surveyed have already used AI in their work in some capacity.

Prowly State of Technology Study: What are the biggest perks of introducing AI to the PR industry?

Among the PR pros surveyed who said they currently use ChatGPT for their work, most said they use it primarily for idea generation (78 percent) and content creation (72 percent). Others said they’ve adopted it for research purposes (53 percent), reporting (10 percent) and monitoring (eight percent).

As it turns out, most PR pros surveyed in Prowly’s report appear to agree that AI’s arrival to the communications sector will usher in a number of perks. Chief among them is the automation of repetitive tasks, which many believe would free up time for more strategic work (77 percent), followed by increased efficiency and productivity (61 percent), faster and easier research (59 percent), reduced costs and resources required for PR activities (44 percent), improved and automated content creation (42 percent), enhanced media monitoring and analysis (28 percent) and better measurement and reporting for PR activities (28 percent).

But with this mass adoption comes a litany of concerns regarding how this technology may affect communications professionals’ jobs—and what it might do to the industry as a whole. Among the top potential threats PR practitioners think AI poses to the profession, a proliferation of fake news comes in first place (64 percent). Other worries include the potential loss of a human touch (56 percent), a lack of creativity (51 percent), content overload (42 percent), cybersecurity and privacy concerns (38 percent), bias and discrimination (33 percent), displacement of human workers (32 percent) and a lack of transparency (26 percent).

When it comes to the employee skills that PR professionals think might gain in demand as AI becomes more widely adopted across the industry, a knack for critical thinking topped the list (76 percent), followed by an ability to adapt and learn new technology quickly (66 percent). Other potential skillsets that may grow in importance include editing and storytelling skills (63 percent), creative thinking and ideation (59 percent), emotional intelligence and empathy for building relationships (56 percent), data analysis and interpretation (52 percent) and an ability to identify and address AI’s ethical implications (48 percent).

Overall, PR pros hold a generally positive view of AI, according to the report, with nearly two-thirds (63 percent) expressing positive emotions about it. When asked which emotion best summarizes how they feel about PR’s adoption of AI technology, most polled said they were “happy” (40 percent), followed by “neutral” (30 percent) and “extremely happy” (23 percent), Only six percent said they were “unsatisfied” about PR’s adoption of AI and only two percent described themselves as “extremely unsatisfied.”

The report also discovered that professionals working at smaller companies (those employing 10 employees or fewer) seemed to notice a more positive impact of AI tools on the quality of their work (33 percent) than practitioners working at companies employing between 50 and more than 50 employees (19 percent).

Prowly’s second-annual “State of PR Technology” report surveyed more than 300 communications professionals stationed at companies of various sizes (from one to more than 500 employees) which included PR agencies, non-profits and in-house teams.