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Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Fixing Ad Bias

 Example of AI being used to address bias.

An AI Fix to Advertising Bias? Industry Giants Commit to IBM's Tech

WPP, Delta Air Lines, the 4A's tap computing giant's anti-bias toolkit

CANNES, France — A coalition of industry giants, including WPP, Delta Airlines, the 4A’s, Kellogg and Mindshare, have joined forces with IBM to combat bias in digital marketing.

Since the programmatic revolution of more than a decade ago, brands have used algorithms to determine which demographics to target and how to segment audiences in their campaigns. But they are far from perfect.

These algorithms have created a world where women are served ads for household goods while men are targeted by automakers. The bias is often an unintentional consequence of human assumptions, but the real danger has been technology’s ability to capture and scale that bias, alienating the audiences advertisers seek to connect with in the first place.

Today at Cannes Lions, IBM onboarded some of advertising’s major players to use its open-source toolkit to identify and mitigate ad tech bias.

Delta Air Lines, WPP, Mindshare, 4A’s, IAB and the Ad Council are among those committed to using up IBM’s Advertising Toolkit for AI Fairness 360, an open-source solution powered by Watson.

“While the risk of bias in advertising is well known, by making this commitment, these organizations are among the first in the industry to take action,” said Bob Lord, IBM senior vice-president of The Weather Company and Alliances, at a press event during Cannes Lions.

Here’s how it works: during media targeting, the toolkit deploys 75 “fairness” metrics and 13 state-of-the-art algorithms to help uncover bias in discrete data sets.

IBM claimed organizations that use the toolkit may gain a better understanding of the presence and impact of bias on their ad campaigns. The company is asking other advertising giants to make use of the software and pledge to break the bias in datasets.

“Together, we are agreeing to educate ourselves and our companies and ask other industry leaders to join us in helping to mitigate bias in advertising,” Lord added.

IBM has already tested the tool internally. Elsewhere, WPP-owned media agency Mindshare and the Ad Council have taken part in the research phase too.

The business case for removing bias

“We have to eliminate this bias, because it’s no good for society,” asserted WPP boss Mark Read. “There’s also a business case, if you’re biased you’re missing out on [commercial opportunities] and we don’t want to miss out on anything.”  ... ' 

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