Maxim Behar Provides Guidance On How To Embrace AI In PR Ethically.

Maxim Behar Provides Guidance On How To Embrace AI In PR Ethically.

Host: Now, other than getting inspired by our young leaders, we're going to talk about a core issue we brought up earlier a few times, ethics, how to practice and how to really leverage AI with ethics. And for that, I'm going to bring three steam members here to talk about ICCO's principles on AI and guidance. So let's welcome to stage Christina Fosgard, the founder of NetProfile. Mary Bass West, the senior strateger of Fletcher Marketing PR, and Maxim Behar, the CEO and chairman of M3 Communications All right, guys, so tell us. We've been listening to a lot about AI and a lot about ethics. What is ICCO?

Maxim Behar: It’s the only panel without moderators because we are moderators.

Christina Forsgard: We are all moderating ourselves. Let's see how we can do it. So, Maxim, you have so much institutional knowledge with ICCO, with your long leadership track record with this organization, and just from your having seen so many of the sessions today and hearing what everyone has to say about a lot of these topics, what are your thoughts in light of that, of the fact that ICO is now trying to take a lead role in providing some guidance to the industry?

Maxim Behar: ICCO throughout the years has been a leader in the ethical issues in the industry. But I think that today we should emphasize much more on natural intelligence than the artificial intelligence. Because if we don't have natural intelligence, if we don't have this deeply inside, we cannot cope with artificial intelligence as well. About 25 years ago, I wrote the first business ethical standard in my country, Bulgaria. And I went throughout the country and many other countries promoting business ethics 25 years ago. A lot of people were asking me, what is business ethics? And then I was saying it's very easy, ladies and gentlemen, it's doing profits transparently. Because we are in business, we should make profits, we pay salaries, we develop our business. If we do this transparently, then it's absolutely easy. And this is the same with artificial intelligence today, 2023. I think that the ethical issues have three big groups within our business. First of all, it's corporate. I mean, how do we behave to our team's education? How are the relations within the teams? How we motivate the young people? How do we cope with generation Z? You know, because a lot of people are complaining, oh, young people are lazy, young people are this and that, whatever. And then I very often I tell my company, you know, you should know that they will not change. We should change. So, it's also an ethical issue. It's an ethical professional issue that we should change in a way that we have different behavior to the young generation. Then, we have professional ethical issues, attitude to our clients, the way we deal with our clients, the orders we take from our clients, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, sometimes, and in Africa and Asia as well, it could be shaky because sometimes clients might not be the best one, we work with. And then, sorry to say this, but recently we also have political ethical issues. I mean, Ukraine, Russia and all those events happening in the world, we cannot be completely out of that. From that point of view, we decided with Kristina to write a book. The book is called “The Power of Trust”. And of course, Mary Beth also is participating in the book. We started discussing with Mary Beth initially and then we decided with Christina to develop it. I left you some brochures all over the chairs. If you guys want to participate in this book, your opinion is mostly welcome because we would like to present a global picture of ethical issues. Ethics is also a matter of culture and different histories in different countries. So, I hope that until the end of the year the book will be on the market and your opinion really matters in this book because we should have a clear picture of what ethics means in different parts of the world also in different businesses.

Christina Fosgard: Max had so many points there, and the study that Mary Beth has been working on has very, very good insight. And one of the, I think, most serious situations that we have in our industry is very often there is a reticence about even talking about ethics. And it touches every single thing that we do in our industry. Every issue that has been brought to this stage today has had a very big ethics underpinning to it. And all these elements of ethics codes really do have to be brought to bear on that.

Maxim Behar: You know Christina my huge experience shows that whatever codes we have, we have principles, strategies, everything written on paper, whatever we do, if we don’t have this internally and if we are not transparent then it will not work. Together with the late Francis Ingham, we created the Helsinki principles, you remember 6 7 years ago, and they were very good at the time, ten points, like Christina this year, and we will continue doing this, but the most important and key issue is the transparency, because social media brought to us transparency and ability to be ethical and to be honest and to do our business in a proper way. You know many people were asking me what is corruption. Because in those countries corruption is always questionable. I was saying: “It’s so simple. Corruption is that if you receive whatever present like an expensive pen or watch or whatever and you dare to share this with me, that means it’s not corruption. But if you hide this, of course, it's something illegal or something suspicious, so things should be very simple and they depend deeply on our souls and our professional attitude to clients and also to our teams, which are very important.

Mary Beth: Maxim, one thing that I wanted to ask you, that you made earlier this really good comment about the younger generation coming up and very often it’s the students ultimately who teach the teacher. A little bit later on. I think that professional development and all of us regardless of how many years we’ve been in the industry, staying current not only these trends but also becoming co-students in other disciplines to an extend and learning more about the essentials of some of the technology and of course a formal like this allow us all to do that. I was wondering if you could speak about this professional development and the importance of those of us in the industry to staying current with a lot of these trends. I know that you run a fairly large company with, you know I’m sure professional development training, all of that is very big part of it.

Maxim Behar: You know Mary Beth I just can say that I am a strong believer in the new generation. Again, a lot of people complain they don’t understand them, but this is a completely different generation that grew up with social media, with transparency, with the fast communications. So, I think that we have all the circumstances to have this generation with us and to develop a completely different communication business. And just one sentence to conclude, I just want to say. It is not a finish. It is not an end of our conversation about ethics, it is just a start. You can write us, three of us we are most probably the easiest to access through social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever, write us and please make your donations to the book, send your articles, send your opinions, and all of them will be published. Thank you very much for your attention and Bon Appetit.


You can see the entire interview here.

You can watch the full interview on youtube.com.