Some of the tech industry’s biggest names are deeply divided on the future of artificial intelligence. The optimists align with Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, whose sweeping “Techno-Optimist Manifesto” declares AI as a “universal problem solver” and denounces tech regulation as “the enemy.” The other side includes those calling for regulation, like OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Altman recently told The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference that AI will have an uneven effect on the workforce, hitting some people in the economy more seriously than others.

With emotions running high on both sides and the AI industry booming, how can AI-centric companies work with PR agencies to get their message across to customers and investors? Not everyone has the clout of Andreessen or Altman, but there are thousands of companies looking to share their stories and visions. One of the most powerful methods is through nuanced and strategic communication rooted in storytelling.

The Power of Storytelling in AI Communication

Why storytelling? People have communicated through stories for thousands of years. When we hear the beginning of a story, we want to know: What’s going to happen next? There’s actually a scientific reason for that, called the Zeigarnik effect, which explains that we pay closer attention to things that are unfinished. A story opens a loop in our brain, and we’re hardwired to close it.

So how can an AI company partner with a PR agency and use strategic storytelling to get attention from the media, customers and investors? By staying away from hype and delivering real value by demystifying complex technologies and highlighting unique value propositions. 

Elements that give AI a compelling narrative

Focus on Real-World Benefits:

You’ll be tempted to lead with technical details, but unless they’re truly game-changing, you’re better off explaining how your AI technology can improve people’s lives and work. Think about the problem you’re solving and why it hasn’t been solved yet.

Make the Complex Simple:

How would you explain AI to people not in the tech industry? Use understandable terms along with metaphors, analogies and examples to show how it works. For example, how is machine learning like human learning?

Address Concerns Head-On:

No technology is flawless, so there’s no need to minimize AI’s potential risks and limitations like bias, job displacement and privacy. Acknowledging those with empathy and then pivoting to the concrete benefits you offer is an effective approach.

Inspire with Possibilities:

After you’ve grounded your story with practical benefits, explained how it works and answered criticisms, it’s time to share an inspiring vision for the future. Talk about how AI can expand our potential while still being thoughtfully guided by the people building it. Speak to people’s aspirations as you imagine what’s possible.

The Role of Strategic Storytelling in AI Public Relations

Strategic storytelling, particularly about technology as disruptive as AI, is one of the most potent strategies in PR. It elevates your message above complex technical details and jargon and wraps it in a narrative that resonates with stakeholders and conveys your company’s unique positive impacts.