Navigating the World of Synthetic Media in Communications: Insights from Shel Holtz, SCMP

Navigating Synthetic Media with Shel Holtz

The Team Flow Institute recently hosted an insightful webinar featuring communications expert and one of our very own research fellows, Shel Holtz. In the webinar, Shel provided a much-needed introduction to the proper use of synthetic media in organizations. Throughout the webinar, he explored various use cases, showcased examples, and provided guidance on how to effectively navigate this emerging technology as a professional communicator.

He defined synthetic media as content created by artificial intelligence, which includes deepfakes, AI-generated art, text-to-speech, voice cloning, and natural language generation, among other forms. He emphasized that while the media often focuses on the risks associated with synthetic media, there is tremendous potential for its ethical and effective use in internal communications.

Shel shared a case study from Publicis, a global advertising agency, which utilized synthetic media to craft personalized New Year’s videos from their CEO to all 100,000 employees. By leveraging AI, they generated unique videos that included the employee’s name, interests, and even inside jokes. The high degree of personalization was incredibly effective, leading some employees to perceive the videos as custom-made, showcasing the impact of well-executed synthetic media in captivating viewers.

The various use cases of synthetic media Shel discussed in the Webinar included:

  1. Improved storytelling and audience engagement
  2. Cost savings and efficiency gains
  3. Innovative training and development
  4. Personalization and customization
  5. Multilingual communications
  6. Data analysis and insights

In the webinar, he addressed the risks and challenges of synthetic media head-on, including ethical considerations, potential misuse, legal and regulatory issues, and the threat to reputation. He emphasized the critical importance of developing clear guidelines and policies, promoting transparency in its use, and fostering collaborations with trusted service providers to mitigate risks.

To navigate the challenges of synthetic media, Shel advised staying informed about current trends, regulations, and laws in the field. He also encouraged attendees to experiment with synthetic media tools and to follow thought leaders in the space, such as Ethan Mollick from the Wharton School and the Hard Fork podcast with Casey Newton and Kevin Roose.

Shel advocated for getting hands-on experience with synthetic media, stating, “My advice is to use it. I spend 80% of my time on internal communications on my job, and I’m using it every single day for all kinds of different things.” He added, “You’re not going to lose your job to AI. You’re going to lose your job to a communicator who knows how to use AI because it makes you so much more productive.”

The Team Flow Institute is grateful to Shel Holtz for debuting his presentation on Synthetic Media here with us and his other research fellows.  It is a terrific introduction to the potential, challenges, and best practices for using synthetic media in internal communications.

Follow Shel on LinkedIn for ongoing updates to this presentation.For more insights on AI and team performance, check out the Team Flow Institute’s blog and some of our past webinars on YouTube.

Note: This paper was written with the help of generative AI technology for editing and some content creation. Any AI-generated content has been reviewed, adjusted and enhanced with experience and insights by a human editor to ensure accuracy, relevance and authenticity. #Augmented

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