As a veteran strategic communicator, I’ve been honored to speak at pet, veterinary, and public relations conferences over the last few decades on a wide range of public relations topics. Recently, I presented to the Cat Writers Association about a wide range of issues around the use of ChatGPT and other Gen AI tools. Taking a look at #responsibleAI has been the focus of both my master’s and now doctoral research — and I expect it to be for some time to come.
So what does this have to do with Goodnewsforpets? Gen AI is here for every aspect of society and that includes the pet and vet sectors. My “calling card” in veterinary medicine since 2000 has been this website, Goodnewsforpets.com. The site was started with the intent to bring “good news” about pets and vet care. That has not changed. Before launching this website, I aggregated news feeds into a custom news service for clients. In 1995, a website my team and I for the “Pets Need Dental, Care Too” campaign became one of the early animal health websites and a news hook that we had a website. And, by and large, it’s all been about promulgating good news vs. the bad.
With Germinder + Associates, the parent company of this site, I’ve launched traditional communications but participated with my teams in the early stages of the Internet as a communications channel. I’ve also helped legacy clients trial and adapt to the digital world. No, I’m not a techie, but as an early adopter and director of many digital initiatives, I take personal pride in helping others make sense of it all.
Despite all this experience, nothing has prepared us for both the technological development and rate of adoption of generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI). It’s a juggernaut. To be sure, artificial intelligence has been with us in the background for quite some time. But it is the ease of use of ChatGPT and like Gen AI tools that has transfixed us and stands to transform the way we all work. And, as with the Internet, there are those who are “all in,” those who have a healthy dose of skepticism, and those who are somewhere in the middle.
I was privileged to topline my academic research this summer to an international trade public relations association and participate in a working group developing guidelines. I am continuing my research and will speak to the Greater Kansas City Public Relations Society of America (GKC-PRSA) Student Summit on November 3. I’ve also been asked to speak at a national veterinary conference next year (to be announced shortly). I’m looking forward to contributing to the discourse in other ways as well.
The biggest message I want to send is to encourage everyone to be “all in” by educating yourself. Sure, it’s scary, just like it was when we jumped on board with the Internet. Yet, we need our human touch and expertise to know what’s real vs fake, to fight back against the bad – the disinformation, mistruths, bias, and falsehoods.
By all in, I mean determine your comfort level by reading up on the subject. Start learning the guidelines for your industry and deciding what works best for you personally and professionally. Refrain from entering any confidential or proprietary data on open systems like ChatGPT, but go ahead and test it with information that is already public. Be curious about closed systems and learn about them. Check the results to make sure it’s accurate. If you use Gen AI in a professional setting, disclose its use. Attend free and low-cost seminars and compare notes with your friends and colleagues.
By participating in this early stage, you will help all of us achieve responsible AI. And, Me-owz is all in with that — and more to come.