Back at work after my first summer holiday – a hedonistic week in the south of France.

Spin class

I’m pretending to spend the morning going through my emails but I already went through them all when I was away. In fact, my mind is now full of two words – not World Cup, but artificial intelligence (AI).

I’ve read the latest Dan Brown book, Origin, and there’s a character, named Winston, who is an AI assistant, whose intelligence is uncannily real. It made me think about the future of PR, particularly coming after the annual PR and advertising shindig in Cannes (it’s not reserved just for the property industry), where automation was the big topic of discussion.

“No way a robot could do your job, Henrietta,” says my colleague Alex sarcastically when I mention AI.

“Good morning, I wondered if you got my press release and if you intend to use it,” he adds in a moronic, robotic voice, pretending to speak to a journalist. “I’m afraid it’s a ‘no comment’ from us. Can I waste 10 of your valuable minutes asking you about a company I’m about to pitch for?”

What an arse.

Those in our industry who suggest robots will never replace PR managers haven’t met some of my colleagues, whose intelligence is not even close to artificial – it’s superficial.

Dan Brown’s Winston was named after Winston Churchill. What was it the latter once said, which seems so much more apt for PRs than AI?

Oh yes: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”