Seven years ago, we started the laborious process of touring schools to determine where to send our little one for the first nine years of her education. 

For those of you who have done that, you know it’s a lot of pressure! You don’t know who they will be a year from now, let alone a decade later. But you ask a lot of questions, and you try to assess the culture, values, and philosophies compared to the things that are important to you.

Every school we visited said that they had no idea what jobs would be available for these kids when they graduate from high school—every one of them. So their job is to ensure that they send good human beings into society to be ready for whatever the world hands them. 

The Future of PR

We ended up choosing a progressive school that cultivates incredible human beings. I’m often surprised at some of the things she learns—things I wish we all had learned at her age. And I’m often surprised when I eavesdrop on her conversations with her friends. They’re less concerned about what they will do for jobs and more concerned with how they’ll provide for the larger good. 

No one is forcing these kids to decide what they want to do with the rest of their lives by the time they’re 18. Instead, they teach them to think about the world, their communities, and other human beings. It’s fun to watch. Just telling you about it makes my heart grow in size. 

I think about those school tours a lot, especially right now as we watch AI continue to learn faster than we can keep up—and wonder what that means for the human race and whether the jobs we know today will exist when she graduates in 2031.

AI Is No Longer Hokey Dokey

As you know, I am a big advocate of AI and how it already provides many opportunities in our jobs. I’ve spent the better part of the last 18 months telling you not to fear it, to embrace it, and to figure out ways for it to make you more efficient. And I stand by that. 

At the same time, it’s wise to ponder what a world would look like if humans were no longer needed to fulfill much of what we do today for a paycheck. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. It probably is challenging for AI to fulfill some roles, such as babysitters, therapists, elderly caretakers, doulas, and religious leaders. These are jobs that humans will want humans to fulfill—at least for the foreseeable future. 

But the rest of the world’s jobs? What if, just imagine for a second, we truly are no longer needed? 

It seems far-fetched right now, but five years ago, it seemed hokey dokey that we would have robots helping us in our jobs, let alone analyzing data and producing content at a speed humans cannot replicate. Yet, here we are. I remember saying, “Yeah, but it can’t create. We’ll always do that.” However, AI can create, and in fact, some people are getting highly creative in using it to do at least 60% of their jobs.

It Can Now Do Creative Work

For instance, I saw in the Trust Insights Slack group, Analytics for Marketers, that a member is using a combination of AI tools to write a book.

They said, “My current book writing setup: Perplexity+Claude+ChatGPT+Notion+Me.

“I develop the structure and core premise of the book. I use ChatGPT to brainstorm the structure (although Claude is also getting very good at this now). I often do this walking, in audio mode, as a conversation.

“Once I have a structure I am happy with, I move it to a Notion doc. I then use Perplexity to fill in the hard data bits, find quotes, and research.

“I then use this data to create a writing prompt for Claude and get the chapter written. This then gets copied into the Notion doc, and I edit the copy to my liking.

“Once the book is ready, I use my custom Editor GPT to create a first edit, proofreading, syntax, tone of voice, story continuity, etc. Claude introduced Projects today, so I will build a custom project to see the outcome.

“Once I am happy, the result goes to a human editor to test readers. This speeds the writing process by a good 60%, with no sacrifices for quality or originality.”

And here I am, struggling through the second edition of Spin Sucks all on my own! Silly, Gini!

Sometimes Better Than Humans

In the next five years, no one will struggle to write a book, produce a podcast, record videos, write messaging maps, handle crises, pitch journalists, analyze data, or implement a PESO Model© program

I do believe we will still be needed because AI can do those things, but it doesn’t mean they’ll be unique, compelling, interesting, or engaging. Humans will still be needed to direct the work (our orchestra analogy, if you will).  But for argument’s sake, let’s say AI can produce all marketing and comms work independently, and we are no longer needed. Like the kids who will graduate in the next ten years, what will we do with our lives? 

Perhaps we should start taking up activities we’re not particularly good at but enjoy or things we want to improve at. For me, that might be crocheting or knitting, drawing and painting, cooking and baking, writing, knife skills, bike racing, entertaining, reading, and relearning the piano. I can envision a world where we do things out of joy rather than need. We will no longer need to be the best at them, but we’ll have to figure out how to fill our days.

Not unlike retirees, we can’t go from 40, 50, or 60-hour workweeks to nothing at all. We will all crumble and die. But we can find the things that bring us joy and fill our days.

Of course, this requires a significant shift culturally and societally. It might require a universal basic income if robots do all the jobs. I’m not here to pretend to know about those things or create some political firestorm discussion. Instead, I posit that you consider what your life looks like a decade from now if you truly are no longer needed.

Will It Wipe Us Out?

A recent article in Make It from CNBC quotes the OpenAI CTO as saying, “AI may help expand humans’ creativity—but the technology could wipe out some creative jobs as well.”

She went on to say, “Some creative jobs maybe will go away, but maybe they shouldn’t have been there in the first place if the content that comes out of it is not very high quality.”

Rather than our jobs going away entirely, this suggests the future of PR, where the bar for creativity is raised significantly. It also means almost anyone who wants to be creative can be. It doesn’t mean it’ll be good, but if I want to pretend I’m a painter, AI can help me get there. Can I sell my art for hundreds of thousands of dollars? Of course not. But I can create something sufficient to hang in my home that doesn’t look like a kindergartner made it.

I like the idea of this future of PR better than the one where we are all considered obsolete. As I’ve been working on this concept, I’ve gone further down the rabbit hole of universal basic income and what society would look like if we weren’t all required to work. I love the idea of doing things that bring us joy versus having to work every day, but it’s unrealistic. It may become a reality eventually, but probably not in my lifetime.

The Future of PR Is Uncertain

So, let’s assume our jobs will not disappear entirely. We can’t put the AI genie back in the bottle, but we can prepare for an uncertain future of PR like today’s schools do for our kids. 

Understanding the difference between how AI learns and how we learn might help you anticipate how your job will shift in the next five to ten years.

AI learns through machine learning, right? That means it’s fed vast amounts of data; over time, it can identify patterns and make predictions. This is how it can mimic human creativity because it can analyze countless examples and permutations. 

Humans, on the other hand, learn through experience, emotions, and cognitive processes. Our creativity is often sparked by personal experiences, emotional responses, the ability to think abstractly, and from riding our bikes (or maybe that’s just me). 

So AI can simulate creativity but can’t add the subjective experience humans use to fuel storytelling and engagement. It goes back to what we’ve discussed nearly all year—the importance of adding experience and expertise into your work to build trust and authority (E-E-A-T). 

Because Our Jobs Will Be Disrupted

Despite the lack of experience and expertise, the disruption to our jobs will be significant—and it’s not just about replacing jobs; it’s also about transforming how we work. AI can automate routine tasks, optimize workflows, and provide previously unattainable insights. This transformation requires us to rethink our roles and find ways to coexist and collaborate with our robot overlords.

Much of the content I’ve published this year is about proactively handling this disruption. Don’t be scared of it, and don’t avoid it. It’s here to stay, so embrace it. This means staying (or becoming) curious, being flexible to change, testing the different models, incorporating it into your daily work, and lots and lots of professional development. 

While you do that, also focus on AI skills that cannot easily be replicated—critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and complex problem-solving. It’s also essential to understand the ethical implications of AI and advocate for policies that ensure its responsible use. This includes addressing issues like bias in AI algorithms, privacy concerns, and the socio-economic effect of widespread automation (such as moving to a universal basic income while we all live out our lives enjoying our hobbies). 

Redefine Your Concept of Work

Lastly, as we discussed above, think about how you redefine the concept of work. In a future of PR where AI handles many tasks—and please, Thor, let it get to laundry and dishes soon—work might no longer be about necessity but purpose and passion. We might engage more in creative pursuits, community involvement, and lifelong learning. This shift is bigger than us. It requires a societal reimagining of work-life balance and the value we place on different types of contributions. But it might not be too far-fetched to imagine today.

Above all else, maintain a sense of optimism. Take on a toddler’s view of it all: be curious and ask “why?” one hundred thousand times. And explore the opportunities AI provides. 

While the road ahead may be uncertain, embracing AI with a balanced perspective—acknowledging its risks while leveraging its benefits—can lead to a future of PR where humans and machines coexist harmoniously.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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