These days, in many media circles, you can’t throw a rock without hitting someone talking about data analytics. Buzzwords like “measurable metrics” and “big data” are everywhere. No doubt, AI technology is making some incredible leaps and allowing PR companies to do a lot of things sooner and better than we have in the past. We can know things that were practically “unknowable” before, and we can track and measure data in a way our predecessors would not believe possible.

That said, no matter how incredible technology becomes, it will never fully replace the human context needed to create a winning PR strategy. There are several reasons for this, including:

Imprecise Understanding

AI is not yet good enough at parsing very important qualitative factors in data analysis. Things like tone and market pressure and intangible emotions are beyond the ability of the best thinking computers to fully comprehend, much less catalog and extrapolate.

Communication can be mysterious. Some words can have multiple definitions, and the meaning is established by the context. So, if one story uses a term one way, and another story uses the same term but means something different, data machines can confuse or conflate the two, leading to imprecise conclusions and bad data. Put a human into that mix and the confusion evaporates. People “get” the layers of context in communication, even if it’s not obvious in the actual text.

Machines Can Miss Much

The flurry of data is a constant problem for data-driven campaigns, because not all of it is actionable or relevant, but it’s still there. At the end of the day, though, machines can only put out what goes in. They cannot find answers that step outside what they “know” or what they can “learn,” making technology intrinsically limited in ways that humans need not be. People can go out and get missing pieces in their information because we know how to connect and cooperate, how to ask for the questions we do not know to ask to get the answers we could not find ourselves.

Creativity Wins the Day

One of the most important ways AI cannot compete with humans is in creative thinking. Humans make correlations that, on the surface, make no sense, but turn into very successful communication campaigns. We find solutions that may not be obvious or even logical, but they still work.

In the end, while AI and data technology have helped us in tremendous ways, they cannot replace human intuition, ingenuity, and cooperation. They cannot be inspired and do not have epiphanies. Because of this, human-driven communication is still superior to anything a machine can do.