From Fax to AI

In my 25 years in communications at Angestellte Schweiz, the world of work has changed dramatically. Come with me on a journey through time!

At the beginning of November 1998, I took up my position as Head of Communications at the then Verband Schweizerischer Angestelltenvereine der Maschinen- und Elektroindustrie (VSAM). The world of work was still largely analog.

One-way Communication

My main task was to fill the monthly printed members' magazine "VSAM revue" with articles. I wrote these in Word on a PC and handed them over to a layout artist on floppy disk.

The members' magazine, later renamed Apunto, was the only communication channel with the members. It was a one-way communication - from the association to the member.

Media Releases by Fax

Another of my tasks was to write media releases. It's hard to imagine today: These releases were printed out and sent to the media by fax.

We soon switched to sending them by e-mail. It was only later that we used special mailing programs to ensure that the e-mails were not considered spam. The first tool was so complicated and cumbersome that we had to change it.

Digitization in Rapid Steps

Tasks were digitized more and more quickly. For example, media monitoring or translations.

However, what changed my work in particular were the new digital communication channels that we used:

  • An online edition of the member magazine Apunto
  • An Employees Switzerland newsletter and a training courses newsletter
  • Social media: first Facebook, then Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
  • Targeted mailings

I acquired many new skills, including writing short and snappy texts for social media, shooting and editing videos, editing photos, creating newsletters and mailings for member segments.

Dialogue and Topic-driven Communication

The new electronic communication channels made it possible to engage in more dialog with members instead of just informing them. One-way communication was a thing of the past.

The print edition of the member magazine was discontinued in 2022. Since then, Employees Switzerland has gone completely digital, with the exception of a print newsletter sent out four times a year. The dynamic, topic-oriented website is the organization's information hub.

Employees Switzerland also plans its communication activities digitally. This has the advantage that all colleagues in the communications team have an overview and are on the same page.

AI as a Job Killer?

I've always coped well with digitalization. Until I was shocked by artificial intelligence at the end of 2022. Suddenly AI was able to write coherent texts and create images that were almost indistinguishable from those created by humans. I asked myself: "Will I be unemployed shortly before I retire?"

Luckily, I had dealt intensively with digitalization early on. At the beginning of 2015, I had already focused on it in the members' magazine - when hardly anyone was talking about it.

Through conversations with digitalization experts, I knew that technological revolutions always create new jobs, more than they destroy. This made me confident that Chat GPT would not replace me.

Of course, I immediately tried out the program. The result was amazing! The images that can be produced using artificial intelligence are just as amazing. Did you notice that the photo accompanying this article is AI-generated?

Lifelong Learning

25 years in the same organization is a long time. I never got bored because I was always challenged to learn new things. I implemented the lifelong learning that I often propagated at Employees Switzerland myself. I continued my education at universities of applied sciences, in practical courses and "on the job". In this way, I always kept my finger on the pulse of the increasingly digitalized world of work. It couldn't have been more exciting!

With this article, which I wrote entirely without AI support, I say goodbye to Employees Switzerland and to you, dear reader.

How well does AI write?

Would you like to know how an article written by Chat GPT reads? We had the program write a legal article.


Hansjörg Schmid

Hansjörg Schmid