A six-month research project will use IBM’s open source artificial intelligence technology and Ad Council campaign data
COLOMBIA (June 30, 2021). /PRNewswire/ – IBM Watson Advertising (NYSE: IBM)
today announced a research initiative that will apply IBM’s open source artificial intelligence technology to better understand the prevalence of unwanted bias in advertising, while simultaneously laying the foundation for potential mitigation. This work aligns with IBM Watson Advertising’s overall mission to make AI the catalyst to improve solutions, services, and trust in the advertising ecosystem, and builds on IBM’s leadership in business transformation across all industries with AI.
The advertising industry is undergoing a major transformation, with changes in privacy policies and an increased demand for trust and transparency, all of which are fueling the emergence of AI as the new technological backbone of the sector. As brands rebuild in the midst of this transformation, it is the ideal time to address the persistent problem of unwanted bias in advertising, as evidenced by a study by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which revealed that in male characters appear 12% more than female ads. Meanwhile, gender-balanced and female-led videos produced 30% more views than other videos, revealing a demand for more inclusive content.
Unwanted bias in advertising has the potential to negatively impact consumers who may miss out on a potential economic opportunity or be targeted due to stereotypes, while also hurting brands as they may experience poor campaign performance. . The goal of IBM Watson Advertising research is to drive a deeper understanding of the factors that contribute to advertising bias and how AI can help, encompassing audience segmentation, creative messaging, performance optimization, and campaign impact. Equipped with this information, marketers and IT vendors can develop a roadmap for the responsible use of AI to reduce bias and create and run campaigns more effectively.
“We are at a time in history where a long-overdue discourse on socioeconomic inequalities dominates the national agenda and calls for action,” said Bob Lord, Senior Vice President of Global Ecosystems and Blockchain at IBM. “Our hope is that artificial intelligence can be a catalyst to remove unwanted bias in advertising, just as it is helping transform the industry to prosper in a cookie-free era. Through this research, we are taking an important first step towards that goal, applying scientific rigor to determine the dimension of the impact that AI can have ”.
IBM Watson Advertising will work with researchers from IBM Research to conduct this study in partnership with the Ad Council and other industry and academic leaders. The exploration areas will include:
- Incidence of bias in advertising: Prevalence and frequency of biases in campaigns through performance data analysis. For example, using the AI Fairness 360 Toolkit, a set of open source AI tools developed by IBM and donated to the Linux Foundation, the study will analyze how certain audiences from past and active campaigns are being targeted with creative content to assess if bias was present.
- The role of signals in determining biases: The intensity with which the signals, which refer to the context in which an advertisement is delivered, impact the bias. For example, if a creative message is considered to be unbiased in itself but delivered on a digital media property associated with inherent bias, the ad may be perceived as biased.
- AI capabilities to potentially mitigate bias: how useful artificial intelligence can be in identifying instances of bias and what can be done to harness the full power of artificial intelligence to potentially prevent the occurrence of ad bias.
Data from the educational campaign on the COVID-19 vaccine It’s Up to You (“It’s Up to You”) from the Ad Council will be used for this initial investigation phase. IBM’s extensible open source toolset, AI Fairness 360, will also be used to examine the data and determine if there are ways that artificial intelligence can be useful to help mitigate discrimination and bias.
“Collective bias has been persistent in our industry for quite some time, and the need to study its origins and impact is critical so that we can work together effectively to create progress,” said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council. “That’s why the Ad Council is proud to be the industry’s first partner to work with IBM to help drive this critical investigative mission.”
IBM Watson Advertising plans to publish initial research results and updates as they become available and as the initiative progresses.
To learn more about how IBM Watson Advertising is helping rebuild the industry with AI, visit https://www.ibm.com/watson-advertising
For more information on IBM’s AI Fairness 360 solution, visit https://ai-fairness-360.org/
About IBM Watson:
Watson is IBM’s artificial intelligence technology for business, helping organizations better predict and define future outcomes, automate complex processes, and optimize staff time. Watson has evolved from an IBM Research project, to experimentation, and to a scaled set of products that run anywhere. With more than 30,000 client projects, Watson is being applied by leading global brands in a variety of industries to transform the way people work. For more information, visit https://www.ibm.com/watson.
About the Ad Council
The Ad Council has a long history of creating life-saving public service communications in times of national crisis, from the organization’s earliest days during World War II through September 11, as well as natural disasters like the hurricane. Katrina and Hurricane Sandy and, more recently, leading the industry response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its deep relationships with the media, creative community, subject matter experts, and government leaders give the organization a unique positioning to rapidly distribute vitally important and high-impact information to millions of Americans.
The Ad Council is where creativity and causes converge. The nonprofit organization brings together the most creative minds in advertising, media, technology and marketing to tackle many of the nation’s biggest causes. The Ad Council has created many of the most iconic campaigns in advertising history, including Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk (“Friends don’t let friends drive drunk”); Smokey Bear (“Smokey Bear”) and Love Has No Labels (Love has no labels).
Source: AndeanWire News Center