IBM Corporation is reportedly working on artificial intelligence (AI) tools to ensure online advertising algorithms do not treat minorities and women unfairly, addressing discrimination concerns that have attracted industry-wide scrutiny.
The company claimed that a team of 14 employees will investigate fairness in internet marketing for the coming six months. They will explore methods to detect and mitigate inadvertent bias in digital advertising, whether in the targeted audiences or the ads themselves.
Civil rights groups and academic researchers have discovered that specific audiences, such as people of color and women, can be denied access to employment, housing, and other advertisements due to possibly unlawful choices made by marketers or automated systems they use, sources cited.
In this context, Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Facebook Inc., the topmost digital ad sellers, made some changes following complaints from anti-discrimination officials and activists in the United States.
Bob Lord, Senior Vice President at IBM, mentioned that advertising's foundation is crumbling and there is a need to rebuild it. Fairness should be a part of the plan as they rebuild it, he added.
It is worth noting that the Watson Advertising unit of IBM distributes ads on The Weather Company's properties and sells ad software to other companies, and clients may eventually be marketed anti-bias services.
Robert Redmond, Head of AI ad product design at IBM, reportedly said that IBM's initial advertising investigation reveals that online ads can be delivered to all groups equally without influencing factors like the percentage of people that click an ad.
Lisa Sherman, President and Chief Executive of the council, expressed systemic bias is unfortunately embedded into practically every part of the advertising industry.
The company also intends to assess data from the nonprofit Ad Council's public service ads on COVID-19 vaccines.
The goal of the IBM Watson Advertising research is to gain insights into elements that contribute to unintentional bias in advertising and how AI may help in audience segmentation, performance optimization, creative message, and campaign impact.