PR Blotter: January 2015

January 1, 2015

[illustration works/corbis]
[illustration works/corbis]

Artificial intelligence will transform the workplace and could eliminate half of “knowledge worker” jobs in the coming years, according to a new report from commercial real estate company CBRE that predicted workplace trends.

Computers are learning to gather information and base decisions on it, providing the advantage of avoiding problems caused by human biases. People tend to be overly optimistic about a risky course of action if they’ve already invested a lot in it, and artificial intelligence “eliminates those biases,” said Peter Andrew, CBRE’s workplace strategy director for Asia.

A possible upside is that artificial intelligence could free up human talent for more interesting, creative work.

The report also predicted that companies will add the new executive position “chief of work” to coordinate separate and sometimes adversarial departments, such as human resources, IT and real estate. The chief of work would also be tasked with finding the most efficient balance between full-time employees and the growing armies of independent contractors.

The Internet and smartphones help Americans learn new things and stay better informed, according to 87 percent of adult online users in a new survey from the Pew Research Center.

Respondents that were either younger than 50 years old, live in higher income households or have obtained more education were the most likely to state that the Internet and smartphones help them “a lot” when it comes to learning new things. Just 26 percent said they feel “overloaded” by the vast amount of information available to Internet users.

When it comes to the topics respondents learn most about through digital technology, 81 percent reported products and services. Seventy-five percent said the Internet has made them better informed about national news, followed by international news at 74 percent and pop culture at 72 percent.

The past year was riddled with highly publicized data security breaches, affecting notable brands such as Target, Neiman Marcus and Home Depot.

In the digital age, it is essential to have a cyber-attack plan in place as part of an organization’s crisis communications strategy, which should include “readiness, response, reassurance and recovery,” stages, according to Sandra Fathi, president of Affect.

“In order to properly respond to a crisis, each stage must be ready to go at a moment’s notice — develop materials such as messages and prepared statements, prepare delivery channels like hotlines and social media platforms, and train employees regarding awareness and organizational procedures,” Fathi said.

On Dec. 3, PRSA Silicon Valley held its eighth-annual “Media Predicts” event. A panel of journalists from top tech and business publications, including CNET, Bloomberg News and Buzzfeed, discussed topics such as Facebook’s rise into a media conglomerate, Microsoft’s comeback and the need for increased diversity in today’s tech and business worlds.

One panelist predicted that 2015 may be the year of a “tech bubble burst,” and the group also wondered if the television industry will become obsolete as people spend more time on the Internet.

But regardless of the platform, good journalism will always find its way to consumers, and the panel emphasized the need to balance covering news that increases readership and documenting topics that should be written about and are of interest to them.

30 percent of people have “unliked” a brand page on Facebook, while only 13 percent have “unfollowed” a brand, according to GlobalWebIndex.


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