OpenAI drama doesn’t matter

I got an urgent text Friday: “What the Sam Altman fired?! I feel weirdly invested in OpenAI now.”

Other PR pros leaning into AI may also feel unsettled by the circus unfolding between OpenAI’s executives and its nonprofit board members.

But that drama doesn’t matter.

Saying that OpenAI faltering now will slow AI’s impact on PR is like saying that Hotmail faltering would slow down email’s impact on PR.

We know how that turned out.

Sure, ChatGPT gets most of the attention, even in this newsletter, because it’s the first and best-known generative AI tool (as Hotmail was the first web-based email tool). But there are many, many alternatives.

  • Claude 2 has been nipping at ChatGPT-4’s heels since the summer. The user experience is almost identical.
  • Google is working to improve the AI integration with the Workspace productivity suite.
  • Marketing-specific software such as Jasper and provide niche alternatives to the all-things-to-all-people chatbots.
  • Even Grammarly has generative AI built in.
  • Adobe and Canva already launched alternatives to OpenAI’s image generation tools.

Not to mention Microsoft’s Bing Chat and 365 Copilot, which I left out of those bullets above because they rely on OpenAI’s large language model. But however this drama resolves, it’s highly unlikely that Microsoft’s AI capabilities take a hit. As I write this, the company’s stock has surged to an all-time high.

Generative AI will never be worse than it is now. And we are still years away from integrating current tools into our work.

Generative AI is not about one tool. It’s about you as a PR pro learning a new way to communicate with machines to replace tedious and low-value work with more time and energy for strategy and creative storytelling.

Or, as an insistent Miles Teller keeps telling Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick: “It’s not the plane, it’s the pilot.”

This article was originally published on November 21, 2023

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