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SIG-Marcomms at TNC24: The Power of AI in Marketing and Communications

Picture taken during the SIG-Marcomms side meeting at TNC24

“If you’re not paying for it, then you’re the product”

is the cautionary remark by Karl Meyer from GÉANT that closed the panel session on AI for Marketing and Communications at the Special Interest Group on Marketing and Communications meeting that took place alongside TNC24 in Rennes on 10 June.

The impact of AI tools was indeed the main topic of discussion at the meeting that brought together communication professionals from the international NREN community at the stunning venue of the Couvent des Jacobins in the capital of Brittany, kicking off the conference’s side meetings programme.

Ela Yazdani from CANARIE introduced the topic highlighting a number of benefits offered by AI to marketing and communications teams, comparable to a genie that can enhance teams’ creativity by suggesting fresh ideas and approaches. Ela commented: “On the efficiency and effectiveness front, AI tools act like calculators for scientists as they streamline processes, analyse data and provide actionable insights.” In addition AI can tailor content to individual preferences, making communications more relevant and engaging.

From Jasper to, Grammarly, and ChatGPT, these AI tools assist with writing, editing and generating content. But AI isn’t just about text. Image creation and editing tools help craft dazzling visuals and videos. AI also crunches data fast, it can reveal patterns, trend and opportunities.

Customer support bots can be compared to tireless virtual assistants that can handle queries, freeing up humans for more complex tasks. If only AI could do the washing up… but this is another story. In social media management AI enables to schedule posts, monitor engagement and optimise campaigns. In addition, AI’s sentiment analysis enables brands to gauge public emotional reactions, especially in the consumer goods industry, but there are …

Panel discussion on AI for Marketing and Communications

Ethical Considerations

With great power comes great responsibility and users must tread carefully. Why? AI algorithms can inherit conscious or unconscious biases from their creators, hence transforming  media consumption. Balancing personalisation with privacy is crucial and AI decisions should focus on transparency, user control and data security.



Panel Insights

Discussions on the use of AI continued with a panel of communication experts from Jisc, CANARIE, GÉANT, Switch, and AARNet. Starting with the differentiation between generative and analytical AI the discussion moved on to privacy concerns and the importance to protect user data reflecting on the scary and worrying consequences of  privacy breaches and agreeing that AI should be the starting point, a tool, not a silver bullet, because human judgment is vital and matters. Cornelia Puhze from Switch commented: “We risk ending up with a reality that doesn’t reflect reality, as AI keeps digesting its own content manipulated by algorithms that we do not control”.

Lightning Talks: From Code to Podcasts

From AI-Generated Code for Web Design (Nisreen AlKouz, ASREN) to the successful White Hat Hackers (Hackers do Bem) Programme in Brazil (Stela Tsirakis Toti, RNP), to  SURF’s podcast journey in the Netherlands and the creation of the Security Awareness Resources Hub for the international R&E community (Davina Luyten, Belnet), the lightning talks successfully livened up the meeting, offering fresh perspectives and new experiences.

In The Field

Jane Gifford from AARNet reminded the group about the “In The Field” site  which showcases real-world impact of NRENs. This site continues to be very relevant, valuable and extensively used by the global community to demonstrate the value of NRENs globally. Apart from a design refresh to improve user experience, this fantastic resource is not only here to stay, but it will definitely feature more broadly across global NREN communications going forward.

Next Meeting
The next SIG-Marcomms meeting will take place online, so please watch this space for further information. To find out more about SIG-Marcomms activities and past meetings, get in touch with the steering committee, visit the group’s wiki page. To join the mailing list sig-marcomms@lists.geant.orgsubscribe here!

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