Interview with Jan Lukas Kleinschmidt: Prompting is king – How GenAI influences corporate communications

Interview with Jan Lukas Kleinschmidt: Prompting is king – How GenAI influences corporate communications

Jan Lukas Kleinschmidt heard about “GPT” for the first time in 2020 – without suspecting the significance this technology would have three years later. As a business information scientist and communicator, he connects tools, content and channels. He is currently responsible for global online communications at BASF Agricultural Solutions.

Since January 2023, he has been actively involved in the Technology theme cluster of the Commtech AG. Christof Schmid spoke with him about his experiences to date with the use of GenAI in corporate communications.

AG CommTech: What role does GenAI play at BASF and how do you deal with the integration of AI tools into corporate IT?

Jan Lukas Kleinschmidt: BASF has been developing and using machine learning for more than ten years in many areas such as production, technology, research and development. Currently, the first Generative AI pilots are being rolled out in the company – one example is chatBASF. The GPT-based chatbot is made available to all employees in a secure cloud environment. In addition, BASF offers training via the “Data and AI Academy”. With these offerings, employees can understand the benefits and limitations of AI solutions as well as learn how to interpret results.

AG CommTech: What is your experience so far in the application as a communicator?

Jan Lukas Kleinschmidt: I have been using a GenAI tool almost daily for half a year. The first few months were more exploratory and came with a steep learning curve. In principle, GenAI can cover the entire content value chain from research to channel-specific creation. Currently, there are hundreds of tools that can support every single step of the process. From my point of view, there is now a shift away from hype towards sober pragmatism: where can technology really lead to better results? For me, these are mainly time-consuming tasks without high creative demands, e.g. summaries, preparation of briefings or standardized answers.

AG CommTech: In your view, what are the decisive factors for the use of GenAI to become a success in corporate communications?

Jan Lukas Kleinschmidt: For me, three factors are crucial: First, as a beginner:in, open up to technology without fear of contact. This quickly demystifies exaggerated expectations and gives you a good sense of possibilities and limitations. There is a jungle of tools and providers, but “big names” like ChatGPT, Google Bard or Midjourney are certainly good starting points. The second factor is an understanding about the application. GenAI mostly gets by without coding, but often the right input (prompting) is crucial to whether a tool delivers the desired result. Prompting is king! Third, close networking within the company is crucial. With GenAI, many new questions and uncertainties arise that need to be clarified together with IT, HR, Legal/Data Protection and other functions.

AG CommTech: The Technology Cluster of the AG Commtech held its first webinar in mid-October with current AI application examples from practice. You were also there as a speaker – what were your most important insights?

Jan Lukas Kleinschmidt: Interest in GenAI remains very high. Since the release of ChatGPT 11 months ago, the technology and tool landscape has evolved and specialized significantly. Stephan Zipperlen’s (covestro) deep dive in video was a good example. Many communicators have already gained practical GenAI experience. A key evolutionary stage will be the merging of general GenAI tools with specific content, such as tailored tonality and brand messaging. But there are still many open question marks: Which tools may be used at all with a view to data protection and IT security? Do the results meet the quality standard? And what is the impact on organization and operations?

AG CommTech: Your motto is: Prompting is king! What do you recommend to build the right knowledge in this area as quickly and effectively as possible?

Jan Lukas Kleinschmidt: Depending on the tool, a different approach is required. Image creation in Midjourney, for example, is like a photo studio where I can set many parameters such as lighting, perspective and image style in great detail. Here you should consult the documentation of the tool for all the possibilities. For text output, an interaction with the tool can be very helpful: “Imagine you are writing a SEO text for an online blog about XYZ. What prompts do you need to help me?”. There are many good tutorials about prompting on YouTube or LinkedIn Learning. For more complex topics, there are even marketplaces like where you can buy promising prompts.

Are you interested in joining the technology cluster of the Commtech AG?
Then contact Christof Schmid by mail:

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