ROBOTS have entered the field of public relations (PR).
They are artificial intelligence programmes that do data mining, work processes and research.
“When processes and procedures are all automated for you, the future of the industry will be drastically changed from what we are accustomed to,” said Prof Dr Anne Gregory from the University of Huddersfield, Britain.
She was delivering her keynote address at KDU Penang University College at the recent Artistic Resources Transformative Space (ARTS) Forum on the campus in Anson Road, Penang.
Her address, titled ‘The Robots are Coming’, highlighted new challenges that students, PR professionals, media practitioners and lecturers will encounter in the PR field.
She said PR robots had begun to replace humans in many ways, from staying in touch with customers and the public to back-end work such as proofreading documents and even preparing facts for press releases.
But she said the creative processes needed for developing PR campaigns were still the sole domain of humans.
“While it is important to learn new concepts such as big data, traditional basic skills such as writing will still be highly prized,” she said.
She advised students not to worry and move forward to embrace the challenges.
The ARTS Forum was organised by a team of six second-year undergraduates as part of their course project to earn their Bachelor of Public Relations degrees.
The forum comprised workshops conducted by journalism, film, advertising and digital marketing experts including Leo Burnett Malaysia creative group head Jovian Lee, social media specialist Hisham Saleh, film director Hassan Muthalib and digital journalist Kuek Ser Kuang Keng.
KDU vice-chancellor Dr Chong Beng Keok said knowledge of social sciences, technology and IT were necessary for PR undergraduates.
“That’s why we have adjusted our syllabus and curriculum to adapt to this change.”
Dr Chong added that the university college had installed high grade infrastructure and would emphasise technology values in marketing and finance courses in their future Batu Kawan campus.
KDU Penang is building a 10-acre flagship campus in Batu Kawan, large enough for a student body of more than 5,000.
The campus is set to be ready this year.