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IBM’s pledge to mitigate bias in ad technology gets more support

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The initiative aims to bring together agencies, brands, and other leaders to generate awareness and improve fairness in marketing campaigns

The initiative aims to bring together agencies, brands, and other leaders to generate awareness and improve fairness in marketing campaigns

Kellogg, Delta Air Lines, WPP and other leading companies have committed to IBM’s pledge to take action towards mitigating bias in online advertising technology.

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The initiative aims to bring together agencies, brands, and other leaders to generate awareness and improve fairness in marketing campaigns by bringing more inclusive representation.

Last year, IBM launched a research initiative to explore the hypothesis that bias can exist in ad technology, which initial findings confirmed. The research also showed that mitigating bias in ad technology was possible by using artificial intelligence (AI) tools and resources in marketing processes.

The tech giant has released its Advertising Toolkit for AI Fairness 360, an open-source solution with fairness metrics and algorithms to help identify and mitigate biases in discrete data sets.

According to IBM, organisations utilising the toolkit may gain a better understanding of the presence and impact of bias on their ad campaigns, as well as the makeup of their audiences.

Bias can be a result of human assumptions and judgments encoded into algorithms that can result in unfair targeting, exclusion of certain groups, and marketing campaign failures.

“Used correctly, data can help brands personalise consumer engagement and identify the most relevant touchpoints. However, we know that bias can exist in algorithms or technology, and that’s why we’re helping our clients to evaluate how and when to use data in a meaningful way that will benefit the customer experience,” WPP CEO Mark Read, said in a statement.

According to a Salesforce survey, nearly 62% of 13,000 consumers surveyed reported they are concerned about bias in AI.

“As technology and data prevalence accelerates, the risk for bias in advertising compounds. It is our duty to address this head-on,” Mindshare Global CEO Adam Gerhart, said in a statement.

Nearly $1 trillion was spent on digital advertising globally in 2021, according to database company Statista. A big part of this flows through programmatic engines that segment and target specific audiences, sometimes missing large consumer groups in the process, IBM noted.

Mindshare, 4A’s, IAB and the Ad Council have also joined the initiative, announced at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2022.

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