Should Businesses Follow Ethical Guidelines for AI Use? The PR Council Says ‘Yes’


Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the communication between businesses and their customers. From chatbots to personalized recommendations, AI often creates more efficient marketing campaigns to target their audiences. However, the increasing usage of AI, bears the question, should businesses follow ethical guidelines? 


AI systems have the potential to impact our lives in profound ways, from automating routine tasks to making decisions that affect our health, finances, and overall well-being. As such, businesses must approach AI with a sense of responsibility and accountability. This means designing AI systems that are transparent, explainable, and fair and that prioritize the well-being of individuals and society as a whole. Ethical considerations also include privacy, security, and bias, all of which can have consequences if not properly addressed. By embracing ethical principles and practices in their use of AI, businesses can not only mitigate risks and build trust with their customers but also help to shape a more equitable and inclusive future for all.


The use of AI in marketing is growing at an unprecedented rate. According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the global AI in marketing market size is expected to reach $40.09 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 29.79%. With the adoption of AI on the rise, there is an urgent need for ethical guidelines ensuring responsible use of this fast evolving technology. 


The PR Council, a trade association representing public relations firms in the US, recognizes the need for ethical guidelines for AI use. In a recent article published on PR News Online, the PR Council’s leaders stated, “AI is rapidly changing the communications industry, and we believe that the PR Council must take a leadership position on ethical AI usage.”


As a result, they are advocating ethical guidelines adaptation to ensure that brands use AI in a way that is ethical, transparent, and respects the privacy of their customers. These guidelines provide a framework for brands to follow when using AI, ensuring their use of this technology aligns with their values and mission.


The PR Council’s Guidelines for AI Use

The PR Council has recommended the following guidelines for companies that use AI:

  • Ensure that AI is used ethically and responsibly

Businesses should ensure that AI is used ethically and responsibly. AI algorithms should not be biased or discriminatory, and the data used to train these algorithms should be accurate and complete.

  • Be transparent about the use of AI

Businesses should be transparent about using AI in their marketing strategies, explaining how AI is being utilized and what data is being collected. They should also explain how this data is being incorporated into their marketing strategies to improve customer experiences.

  • Protect customer data

Customer data should be protected and used only for the purposes for which it was collected. Further, companies should also ensure that customer data is not shared with third parties without the customer’s consent.

  • Develop a code of ethics for AI use

Businesses should establish a code of ethics for AI use. This code should outline the ethical principles the brand follows when using AI. It should also provide guidelines for employees on how to use AI responsibly.


The Ethical Implications of AI Use

The need for ethical guidelines for AI use is particularly important in light of controversies surrounding this technology. For example, in 2018, Amazon faced criticism for its facial recognition technology, which was found to have racial biases. Similarly, in 2019, Google faced backlash for its AI-powered voice assistant, which was found to have violated user privacy by recording conversations without their knowledge.


By adopting ethical guidelines for AI use, brands can avoid these types of issues and ensure that they are using this technology in a responsible and ethical manner. Policies provide a roadmap for businesses to follow, ensuring that their use of AI aligns with their values and mission.


The Benefits of Ethical Guidelines in AI Use

One of the key benefits of adopting ethical guidelines for AI use is increased transparency. These guidelines would require brands to be transparent about their use of AI, ensuring that customers understand how their data is used and decisions are being made. This increased transparency helps build trust with customers, who are becoming significantly concerned about data privacy and the use of AI.


In addition, ethical guidelines for AI use can help assure that this technology is used fairly and equitably. As AI becomes more prevalent in society, it is substantial to ensure that it does not perpetuate existing biases or discriminate against certain groups. Moreover, embracing these guidelines also helps attract top talent to the industry, as young professionals are increasingly interested in working for companies that prioritize ethics and social responsibility.


AI in brand marketing can be a powerful tool for improving customer experiences, increasing efficiency, and driving revenue. However, brands must ensure that they are using AI ethically and responsibly. By following ethical guidelines, businesses provide that they use AI in a way that is aligned with their brand principles and respects their customers’ privacy and rights.

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