IBM Delivers Open Source Toolkit to Identify and Mitigate
Bias in Advertising Technology
CANNES, France, June 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/
-- Today, leading companies committed to improving
fairness in marketing campaigns. The initiative, announced at the
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2022, brought
together agencies, brands, and other leaders to generate awareness
and take action towards mitigating bias in advertising technology.
Committing organizations include IBM (NYSE: IBM), Delta Air Lines,
WPP, Mindshare, 4A's, IAB and the Ad Council.
The action is the most recent effort by IBM to drive education
and awareness around the impact of bias in advertising technology.
In 2021, the company 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 using AI tools and resources in
marketing processes. More industry participation and data
collection are needed to better understand the potential impact of
bias on these campaigns, but several industry leaders are
demonstrating early activism by raising awareness and taking action
via IBM's Advertising Fairness Pledge.
"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. "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."
Toward that effort, IBM also announced the release of its gratis
Advertising Toolkit for AI Fairness 360, an open-source solution
deploying 75 fairness metrics and 13 state-of-the-art algorithms to
help identify and mitigate biases in discrete data sets. A playbook
and sample code are also made available for ease of use.
Organizations utilizing 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.
"Used correctly, data can help brands personalize 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," said Mark Read, CEO of
WPP. "Through WPP's GroupM, we've developed the Data Ethics Compass
to help clients navigate the challenges of using datasets, while
IBM's new Advertising Toolkit for AI Fairness 360 will help us to
better understand the potential impact of bias. Consumers rightly
expect brands to use their information in a fair way and for the
industry to tackle data bias collectively, which can ultimately
result in increased engagement and commercial outcomes."
Bias is often unintentional, a result of human assumptions and
judgments encoded into algorithms that can result in unfair
targeting, exclusion of certain groups, and marketing campaign
failures. Organizations taking the pledge can contribute data to
ongoing studies that seek to better explain the impact of bias.
According to Salesforce's 2022 State of the Connected Customer
survey, nearly 62 percent of consumers surveyed reported they are
concerned about bias in AI, up from just 54 percent two years
prior, emphasizing the imperative for brands and agencies to better
understand its impacts.
"As technology and data prevalence accelerates, the risk for
bias in advertising compounds. It is our duty to address this
head-on," said Adam Gerhart, Global
CEO of Mindshare. "We believe the industry needs to take clear and
intentional action, which is why we are committing to leverage
the Advertising Toolkit for AI Fairness 360."
As the advertising industry continues to face issues related to
privacy and transparency, many organizations believe that tackling
bias in ad tech could be a next key area of focus for marketers.
Nearly $1 trillion was spent on
digital advertising globally in 2021, much of which flows through
programmatic engines that segment and target specific audiences,
sometimes missing large consumer groups in the process. With
increasing consumer demand for transparency in how their data is
used, marketers must look for new ways to remain effective. Tapping
into alternative privacy-forward data sources, such as weather
data, can be effective predictors of behavior that could also help
rebuild trust with consumers.
"As a global brand, we know that every decision we make, whether
it's about a supplier, an employee or an ad campaign, is a
reflection of our values and the change we want to see in the
world," said Emmakate Young, Delta's Managing Director of Brand
Marketing. "We've long been focused on inclusive representation in
our campaign creative, this effort allows us to go a step further
to bring more inclusive representation to our campaign
To download the Advertising Toolkit for AI Fairness 360 and the
associated playbook, to take the Advertising Fairness Pledge, and
to learn more about how bias in advertising can negatively impact
businesses and consumers, visit IBM's Bias in Advertising
To learn more about IBM Watson Advertising solutions and
services, visit here.
Statements regarding IBM's future direction and intent are
subject to change or withdrawal without notice and represent goals
and objectives only.
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and AI, and business services provider, helping clients in more
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on IBM's hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect
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Visit www.ibm.com for more information.
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