Ad Networks

IBM Watson Advertising Announces New Research to Explore the Role of AI in Detecting and Mitigating Bias in Advertising

IBM Watson Advertising (NYSE: IBM) today announced a research initiative that will apply open-source AI technology, developed by IBM, to better understand how prevalent unwanted bias is in advertising, while simultaneously laying the foundation for potential mitigation. This work aligns with IBM Watson Advertising's overarching mission to make AI the catalyst for improving solutions, services and trust in the advertising ecosystem, and builds upon IBM's leadership in transforming business across industries with AI.

The advertising industry is undergoing a major transformation, with changes to privacy regulations and increased demand for transparency fueling the emergence of AI as the industry's new technology backbone. As brands rebuild amidst this transformation, the timing is ideal to address the persistent problem of unwanted bias in advertising, evidenced by a study conducted by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which found male characters appeared in advertisements 12% more than females. This while women-led and gender-balanced videos yielded 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 an economic opportunity or feel targeted based on stereotypes, while also negatively impacting brands that may experience poor campaign performance. The aim of the IBM Watson Advertising research is to drive a deeper understanding of the factors leading to unwanted bias in advertising and how AI can help, spanning audience segmentation, creative messaging, performance optimization and campaign impact. Armed with this information, marketers and IT vendors may be able to develop a roadmap for the responsible use of AI to reduce unwanted bias and more effectively create and execute campaigns.

"We find ourselves at a moment in history where a long-overdue discourse on socioeconomic inequalities is dominating the national agenda and compelling action," said Bob Lord, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Ecosystems at IBM. "Our hope is that AI can be the catalyst for reducing unwanted bias in advertising, just as it is helping to transform the advertising industry as it rebuilds for an era without third party cookies. Through this research we are taking an important first step toward that goal, applying scientific rigor to determine just how big of an impact AI can have."

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